Running, knees, pain

Is long distance running bad for your knees?

Does long distance running have a negative impact on your knees or knee cartilage?

Outcome from a study originally designed in 1984 stretching over an 18 year period, based on concern that running was likely to accelerate OA due to repetitive trauma to the joints (Chakravarty et al, 2008).

Over the period of 18 years, a group of middle aged people took part in an ongoing study evaluating the hypothesis that long distance running causes greater knee degeneration. Over the years from 1984 - 2002, the group of 98 was split 45 regular long distance runners and the control group 53. All were systematically scanned with MRI every couple of years. The scan procedures and evaluators were blinded as to who the test belonged to.
The average age of both groups was >50yrs, over the period a total of 4 participants passed away, 1 in the Runner group and 3 in the control group. While 1 of the control group had total knee replacement and another in the control group had bi-lateral total knee replacement . None of the Runner group had had knee replacement treatment. The findings between variances in scans between both groups at the end of the period in 2002 were deemed to be insignificant.
Overall Conclusion—Long-distance running among healthy older individuals was not associated with accelerated radiographic OA. These data raise the possibility that severe OA may not be more common among runners
Keep on Running!


Stephen McDonald

PhTh IAPT Bsc 

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