Does Running Increase the Risk of Knee Osteoarthritis?

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ACR: Running Won't Raise Risk of Knee Osteoarthritis
ACR: Running Won't Raise Risk of Knee Osteoarthritis

(HealthDay News) — Regular running doesn't seem to increase the chances of developing knee osteoarthritis, and it may even help prevent the disease, researchers report. The new findings are being presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, held from Nov. 14 to 19 in Boston.

The researchers analyzed data from 2,683 people who provided information about the three most common types of physical activity they did at different times in their lives. The average age of the study volunteers was 64. The time periods asked about were 12-18, 19-34, 35-49, and 50 and older. Among the participants, 29 percent said they were runners at some point in their lives.

Runners, no matter what the age when they were active runners, had knee pain less often than people who didn't run, according to the researchers. They also had fewer symptoms and evidence of knee arthritis than non-runners did. The findings indicate that regular running does not increase the risk of knee arthritis, and may even protect against it.

"This does not address the question of whether or not running is harmful to people who have pre-existing knee osteoarthritis," lead author Grace Hsiao-Wei Lo, M.D., of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said in an American College of Rheumatology news release. "However, in people who do not have knee osteoarthritis, 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."

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