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Running Doesn’t Hurt Knees and Might Help Them

If you haven’t run because you’re afraid it might damage your knees and cause osteoarthritis, it might be time to lace up and take a jog! A new study suggests that not only does running not hurt knees but regular running at any age could actually help protect knees from developing knee osteoarthritis.

Researchers presenting their findings at the November 2014 American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in Boston studied nearly 2,700 men and women, whose average age was 64.6 and average body mass index was 28.6. Twenty-nine percent of the adults in the study reported running at some time in their lives.

People in the study had knee x-rays, we asked about their symptoms and completed a questionnaire about their physical activity at different age ranges throughout their lives. Age ranges included 12-18, 19-34, 35-49, and 50 years or older.

The researchers found that runners, regardless of how old they were when they ran, were less likely to have knee pain or knee osteoarthritis (either on x-ray or by symptoms) than non-runners. The 22.8 percent of people who reported running at any time in their lives had symptomatic knee osteoarthritis compared to 29.8 percent of non-runners.

The authors conclude that regular running does not increase the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis and may protect against it. And fear of knee damage is not a reason to restrict or avoid running, they say.

The finding, however, does not address the question of whether or not running might hurt the knees of people who have preexisting knee osteoarthritis, according to the study.

Physical therapists are the exercise experts. For more information about how a physical therapist can help design running programs for people of all skill and fitness levels, contact A Physical Therapist, Inc.

A Physical Therapist, Inc., is a one-on-one physical therapy clinic in Delray Beach, Fla., and Harrisburg, Penn. For patients in Palm Beach County, A Physical Therapist, Inc., is easily accessible from Boca Raton or Boynton Beach. For patients in Dauphin County, A Physical Therapist, Inc., is easily accessible from Hershey and Marysville.

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