Have you ever had someone telling you, “HEY! You should stop running, you are going to destroy your knees in the long run.” If that is the case, this article is made just for you! Numerous studies have shown that runners have lower rates of knee osteoarthritis compared to sedentary people. As a matter of fact, a study was conducted observing runners and non-runners for almost 20 years, X-rays showed signs of arthritis in the knees of 20% of the runners, but 32% of the non-runners.


Why does runners have lower rates of knee osteoarthritis?

Arthritis is an inflammatory condition of the joint where your bones come together. Osteoarthritis is characterized by the thinning and break down of the cartilage which acts as a protective layer at the end of the bones. Osteoarthritis used to be considered as “wear and tear” disease ad that concept is no longer widely believed by medical professional. Instead, it is considered as a disease of the joint with multiple potential factors.


How does running develop a potential protection to osteoarthritis?

Runners tend to have a lower body mas index (BMI) than average person and extra weight increase the strain on the joints. Being overweight is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation throughout the body. By staying at a good weight, running allows your joints to be less susceptible to damaging inflammation. Furthermore, studies have shown that cartilage is subject to the “lose-it or use-it” principle, Rather than breaking down your joints, running helps to keep your joint lubricated and stimulates your body to build new cartilage. It was shown that the cartilage became more resilient as it adapts to the demand of running. Therefore, sedentary people are advised to exercise regularly for the same reasons.


What happens if I am suffering from a bad knee?

Fear not, research was conducted and found out that a people who were in their fifties who suffered from knee osteoarthritis were reported less knee pain with imaging showing their arthritis did not progress after 8 years if running training program. Another study was conducted consisting of middle-aged people with evidence of damage in their knees not necessarily arthritis performing a four-month marathon running program. The results showed an astonishing improvement on the knee cartilage health.


The best advice for all runner is “LISTEN TO YOUR BODY”. For runners with pre-existing knee pain, let the symptoms be the guide on how much running and what type is tolerable. It is a trial-and-error process and it will not worsen your condition over time if it is done properly.



Runners are immune to knee injuries?

In the sports world, especially the medical industries, knee injuries were three of the five most common types. The most common are runner’s knee, ITB syndrome, plantar fasciitis, meniscus tears, and shin splints. Do not get the wrong idea, most injuries are generally caused by overuse which is indicative of cumulative stress given to a body part more than your body can currently handle. Knee injuries are unlikely to become permanent damage unless you decide to ignore them and do not try to solve the underlying issues that cause the injuries. Work along with a medical professional such as a physiotherapist to get you running again!

Prepared by:

Teo Jene

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