Running and osteoarthritis

The most common pain amateur athletes experience is in the knees. For some, especially for older runners, the pain may be a symptom of osteoarthritis. Let’s take a look at the connection between running and osteoarthritis.

A Canadian study shows that many people, including health professionals, believe that running can be harmful to the knee joints. Especially when it comes to people with osteoarthritis of the knee.

Some believe that the repetitive load associated with running, especially long distance and fast speed variations, accelerate the worsening of knee osteoarthritis. Thus requiring a sooner surgical artificial knee joint replacement.

Running and osteoarthritis

Are these fears supported by science?

Recreational exercise doesn’t appear to be harmful to the knee cartilage. In fact, exercise is important for cartilage health. The stimulus brings nutrients to the joints. People who exercise moderately are also less likely to have osteoarthritis of the knee. More specifically, recreational runners have much lower rates of knee osteoarthritis than non-runners. So you could say that avoiding running is bad for your knees.

However, high-intensity running is associated with higher rates of osteoarthritis of the knee compared to jogging, suggesting that there is probably a point beyond which the risk increases.

What if you already have knee pain or osteoarthritis?

It isn’t clear if continuing to run with knee pain hurts your knees more and many researchers around the world are investigating this question.

However, if you keep running, you can reap many health benefits of regular physical activity. Including prevention of at least 35 chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and depression.

In general, runners live three years longer than non-runners. And the benefits of running are independent of other things, such as age, gender, weight, alcohol and smoking. In other words, if two people smoke cigarettes regularly or drink too much alcohol and one of them is a runner, he will live longer than the other.

Run safely

You can run more safely by following some simple rules.

Reducing volume or intensity of exercise, such as slowing down and avoiding going uphill, will reduce knee strain and may help reduce pain.

Seeking help and guidance for therapeutic exercise, such as strengthening the knee and hip muscles, from a physiotherapist or other qualified professional, can reduce knee pain related to running and other activities.

Carefully consider changing your technique with the guidance of a professional. Changing the way of leaning on the front of the legs instead of the heel can reduce the strain on the knees and the pain associated with running. However, it will increase the load on the ankle, creating a risk of injury to other joints and tissues. Changing the position of your torso can also reduce loads on the knee and help reduce pain.


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