Healthline: Knee Osteoarthritis—Running May Not Increase Risk After All
Healthline recently interviewed Kenton Fibel, MD, a primary care sports medicine specialist at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute, about the relationship between running and osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease.
Osteoarthritis develops when the cartilage between bones gradually wears away over time. It commonly occurs in the hips and knees, joints that absorb significant stress from running.
Runners are considered at higher risk for this condition and are often advised to limit the frequency of their runs. But some experts disagree, citing other causes of osteoarthritis.
“Some of the risk factors have to do with genetics or family history, sometimes it has to do with weight gain—obesity certainly puts more stress on the joints,” Fibel told Healthline. “These are all the risk factors we look at. Some are ones that we can change and improve, some just can’t.”
Fibel said that running is healthy and like any physical activity, a responsible plan and preparation are key.
“Different activities require different muscles and put different loads into different joints,” he explained. “So, for someone who’s going from, for example, cycling into running, I think it’s really important to make sure that they’re focusing on hip adductor strengthening, quad strengthening, things that will equip them to tolerate a higher load.”
He added that it is possible for people with osteoarthritis to run, so long as they listen to their body and take it slowly. Fibel recommends patients focus on exercises to build their strength and then ease into a progressed mileage.
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