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Running May Actually Be Good for Your Knees

two men running outside

March 27, 2019 | Categories:

You’ve probably heard that running will wreck your knees, but new research discovered that running at any age won’t increase your risk of developing knee osteoarthritis and may even help protect you from developing the disease. Researchers performed a study within Osteoarthritis Initiative, a group of patients either at high risk for developing knee osteoarthritis (caused by a cartilage breakdown in the knee joint) or who already had the condition.

Will Running Hurt Your Knees?

“We evaluated the relationship between running over a lifetime and found that runners were less likely to have frequent knee pain, radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis (ROA), and the combination of knee pain and ROA in the same knee,” says study author Grace Hsiao-Wei Lo, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Once the researchers adjusted for differences in BMI, the prevalence of ROA was similar in runners versus non-runners. The difference in weight may explain why runners generally have less osteoarthritis than non-runners. It is important to note that this is a real world study so no one was forced to run, in other words, people decided for themselves if they wanted to run. There is always the possibility that people might have stopped running because they had knee pain.   With that in mind, “if you already run, there’s no reason you need to give it up from the perspective of knee health,” says Lo.  Read about three foot pains you should never ignore.

When should you call the doctor with pain?

This article originally appeared in a 2014 issue of Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine.

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