Running may protect against knee arthritis
Running may actually help protect against developing osteoarthritis of the knee, according to a new study.
Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas recruited 2,683 volunteers with an average age of 64.5. About 56 percent of the volunteers were female, and the average body mass index (BMI) of all volunteers was 28.6.
At the start of the study, the researchers took X-rays of the volunteers’ knees and asked them to fill out questionnaires about their physical activity.
After two years, the researchers again took X-rays of the volunteers’ knees to look for radiographic knee osteoarthritis (ROA), which doesn’t always result in pain but can be seen on an X-ray. The researchers also assessed the participants for knee pain and for symptomatic osteoarthritis (SOA), meaning feeling pain in at least one knee as well as having ROA.
The researchers found that the participants who ran on a regular basis had a reduced risk of experiencing knee pain, ROA and SOA, when compared with those who did not run regularly or who did not run at all.
The study’s findings, presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in Boston suggest that running on a regular basis does not increase the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis and may actually protect against it. The study did not determine the effect of regular running for individuals who already have knee osteoarthritis or underlying risk factors for osteoarthritis.