There have been lots of reports over the past few weeks about this study on whether running is one of the causes of knee osteoarthritis.
They studied 2,683 people in it so was a reasonable size. The results showed of those who had run at some point during their lives 22.8% had OA compared with 29.8% of non runners.
They therefore concluded that rather than running being a cause of knee osteoarthritis it may in fact prevent it.
(Click on this link for more details on this study into whether running is one of the causes of knee osteoarthritis.)
So Is Running a Cause of Knee Osteoarthritis ?
I actually think that is a HUGE over simplification of the cause of knee osteoarthritis. I believe the biggest cause of knee osteoarthritis is poor bio-mechanics.
It is generally accepted that if we look after out teeth they are less likely to rot. So we have regular checks at the dentist to sort minor problems before they become major problems. The same goes for your muscloskeletal system. If you look after it and maintain it then it is less likely to break down.
For some reason the majority of us simply expect our bodies to look after themselves and we only believe we have a problem when we get pain. We don’t wait for a knocking sound from our engine we service our cars. But we don’t service ourselves!
If a knee functions well throughout it’s life and has good therapy when it is injured there is less chance that poor mechanics will cause undue stress on it and so cause knee osteoarthritis in the long term.
Runners and people who are active are more likely to take care of their bodies, sort out niggling injuries and also carry less weight. Therefore the knee is better maintained and it doesn’t get worn out.
If you have knee osteoarthritis should you carry on running?
If your knee OA is mild there is no reason at all why you shouldn’t carry on running AS LONG AS YOU HAVE SORTED YOUR KNEE MECHANICS AND KEEP ON MAINTAINING THEM!
When the OA is mild then the joint has not been misshapen and so it is relatively easy to correct the mechanics and so the stress through the knee. It is important you get maintain your knee well with exercises specifically for that knee. This will enable you to run.
You can get such an exercise programme in my book How to Treat Knee Osteoarthritis Naturally. It will teach you how to self massage your knee as well as give you a comprehensive programme of stretching and strengthening exercises which should allow you to keep running for many years.
If you have moderate or severe OA I suggest you slow from a run to a walk as the knee mechanics cannot be made good enough. Keep moving though or you will set and use the massage and exercises in How to Treat Knee Osteoarthritis Naturally.
I have never believed that running is one of the causes of knee osteoarthritis. It is a great sport if you enjoy it and it has many health benefits. Just make sure that if you, your children or grandchildren are runners then make sure they wear good, properly fitted shoes and get any niggles (no matter how small) attended to by a qualified therapist.
Personally I would rather my horse did the work!