It’s warm outside, let’s go running!
In clinical practice, patients frequently tell me that they are worried about the long-term impact on their knees from running. In particular, patients are worried about the potential link between running and the development of knee osteoarthritis (OA). Those patients that already have knee OA are concerned about worsening the condition of their knees if they continue to run.
Fortunately, good research has shown that running has no negative impacts on knee cartilage in people without knee OA and may actually be protective against the development of osteoarthritis. In fact, the rates of knee OA were higher in sedentary people when compared to recreational runners. Unfortunately, rates of knee OA have been shown to be slightly higher in former elite and professional International runners.
Although there is little evidence right now, the research that does exist appears to show that running with knee OA does not increase the progression of arthritis. Furthermore, running can be extremely beneficial for many other things, including your heart, lungs, muscles, bones, brain, weight loss, depression, the immune system, mood, etc.
My practical advice is to patients is usually this:
- Start slow – run within your own tolerances. Follow a program
- Progress distances and pace slowly
- Focus on long-term, achievable goals!
Do your back, hips, knees, or feet hurt while running? Booking an assessment with a physiotherapist can help to identify and address areas of concern. At Kamloops Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Centre, we can assess how your body moves and identify areas that require attention. We also have a physiotherapist who is certified in running assessments. Read more here: https://kamloopsphysiotherapy.ca/services/running-assessment/
This blog was written by Tim Schmidt, MPT, with references, but does not replace true medical advice:
Information adapted from:
Alexander et al “Infographic. Running Myth: recreational running causes knee osteoarthritis” BJSM, 2021 http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2021-104342
Aletorn-Geli et al, “Running and Osteoarthritis: Does Recreational or Competitive Running Increase the Risk?” J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2017;47(6):391. doi:10.2519/jospt.2017.0505
If you would like to book an appointment with Tim, call the clinic at (250) 314-0788 or click this link to see Tim’s availability on our online booking page: