04 Apr Does running accelerate the development of osteoarthritis?
Does running accelerate the development of osteoarthritis?
There are so many misconceptions about running and how bad it can be for your joints.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a musculoskeletal condition that involves degeneration of the joints and impact during weightbearing exercise such as running and may contribute to joint loads. There is very little evidence however, that running causes OA in the knees or hips.
Is it better to walk than to run?
It is a common belief that it must be better to walk than to run to protect your joints. However some recent research would suggest they are pretty much the same – running may arguable increase more muscle mass therefore may even protect the joint more.
Along with the fact that often running actually helped keep middle-age weight gain down. As excess weight may correlate with increased risk of developing OA, running may reduce the risks of OA. The relationship between bodyweight and knee OA has been well-established in scientific studies, so running for fitness and keeping your weight under control is much less likely to wear out your knees than being inactive and carrying excess weight.
Is there a limit?
Recent studies have shown that we should be doing 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily to prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes. But with running, researchers still have not established the exact dosage of runners that has optimal health effects.
We still do not know how much is “too much” for our joints. However, we do know that with age, we expect degenerative changes to occur in the joints whether we run or not. Osteoarthritis is just as common as getting grey hair. The important thing is that we keep the joints as happy and healthy as possible.
Therfore, running in general is not bad for the joints. It does not seem to increase our risk of developing OA in the hips and knees. But the way you run, the way you train and how fast you change your running frequency and distance may play a role in future injuries of the joints.
If however you want to get a screening for your running let us know, we can biomechanically check your technique and give you tips to keep you going.
Enjoy your run!