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Running Proven Helpful For Knee OA

November 21, 2014

running

A new study proves that people who run regularly do not have an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis in their knees.  In fact the authors of the study claim that regular running can prevent knee osteoarthritis.

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston found that runners of all ages had less knee pain, OA symptoms, and joint space narrowing on an X Ray than non-runners.  The medical community has historically steered runners with Knee OA away from high impact exercise like running.  This science reveals that regular running can actually help protect arthritic knees.

Dr Grace Hsiao-Wei Lo is lead author of the study.  She said, “Recent CDC (Centers of Disease Control) guidelines recommend that all adults participate in regular physical activity, as there is definitive evidence that increased physical activity is associated with reduced cardiovascular events and mortality.  However, the influence of these physical activities on knee OA is unclear.  Since running is a common leisure physical activity that involves repetitive loading, which could be harmful to the joint, I was particularly interested in studying how habitual running relates to the development of knee OA.”

2,683 people were involved with this study.  The participants had an average age of 64.5 years old, 56% were women, and the average body mass index was 28.6 (that’s overweight).  Patients had their knees x-rayed, were assessed for OA symptoms, and completed a questionnaire.  Patients were followed up with a two-year check up.

The study found that people who ran at any time in their lives had less knee OA symptoms than non-runners involved in the study. In fact people who run regularly do not have an increased risk of Knee OA, they may actually be protecting their knees from OA by running.

Dr. Lo remarked, ‘This does not address the question of whether or not running is harmful to people who have pre-existing knee OA.  However, in people who do not have knee OA, there is no reason to restrict participation in habitual running at any time in life from the perspective that it does not appear to be harmful to the knee joint.”

The study was recently presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in Boston.



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