A new study published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine have negated the idea that recreational running damages the knee joint cartilage, and causes osteoarthritis. For years, claims have been made that recreational running accelerates osteoarthritis of the knee and should be avoided due to the high impact nature of the activity.
However, new research reveals that only 3.5% of recreational runners have either knee or hip osteoarthritis compared to 10.5% of non-runners. Results also support the notion that recreational running may actually be beneficial for long-term joint health. Professional runners do not fare so well, and statistics reveal that 13.3% of elite or ex-elite runners had symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, and can cause joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduce quality of life. The research also recommends that runners suffering with osteoarthritis should continue to run rather than stopping altogether, and should moderate their running to allow sufficient recover between training sessions.
Alexander, J.L.N. et al. (2022). Infographic. Running Myth: recreational running causes knee osteoarthritis. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 56(6): 357-358.