There has been ongoing debate about whether running long distances is good for you or does it cause repetitive damage to our joints leading to osteo-arthritis. Some recent research has shed some light on the subject.
A review in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (1) highlights the lack of evidence to suggest that running is bad for your joints. Indeed, they suggest that, “the preponderance of data seems to indicate that moderate levels of running do not increase the risk of osteoarthritis of the knees and hips for healthy people and that this activity might even have a protective effect.” While this might sound somewhat contrary, it should be no surprise that connective tissues undergo a reactive hypertrophy (they get stronger) when they are exposed to long-term repetitive loading, a bit like getting bigger biceps.
Another study (2) looked at a group of runners over two decades, stated that, “Data suggest that long-distance running may not be associated with increased progression of knee OA in the absence of knee injury, obesity, proprioceptive deficit, or poor muscle tone.” So provided you are not running injured, you’re not overweight and you have good balance and control of your body running may be good for your joints.
If you are injury free and feel good when running then it is probable that you are doing yourself a great service. If you are injured, not running or not running smoothly talk to us about getting yourself back on track. In our next topic we will look at another article on runnings effects on your lower back.
1. Cymet TC, Sinkov V. Does Long-Distance Running Cause Osteoarthritis? J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2006;106:342–345
2. Chakravarty EF, Hubert HB, Lingala VB, Zatarain E, Fries JF. Long Distance Running and Knee Osteoarthritis – A Prospective Study. Am J Prev Med 2008;35(2):133–138