Does running increase your chances of knee arthritis?

I have a client who is 52-years old and an avid, life-long runner who was having knee pain while running. He saw his doctor who recommended he stop running due to “his age”. The question is, “does running really increase your chances of developing knee and hip osteoarthritis?”

When you look at the research, the answer has much to do with the intensity and frequency of running. In addition to the psychological benefits, running also can improve cardiovascular fitness, increase bone density, improve lung capacity, help with weight loss, and improve brain health.  

The results of a study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy concluded the following good news:

“Recreational runners (2-3 times per week) actually had a much lower incidence of hip and knee arthritis as compared to sedentary folk who didn’t run (3% vs 10%). Although the study did find a higher correlation of hip and knee arthritis with those high-intensity runners who ran more than 57 miles per week (more than 8 miles per day)”  

Bottom line: Most things done in moderation are good for us. Keep running, just cut down the mileage, go see your PT to help with your pain and address any biomechanical factors that may need to be addressed. Make sure you have good footwear, consider running on a softer surface, and most importantly, listen to your body!

Questions? Just ask

Ed Deboo, PT

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