Running and hip and knee osteoarthritis
Running is a popular activity worldwide, but there are concerns regarding its association with knee and hip osteoarthritis (OA). This systematic review evaluated the association of recreational and competitive running with hip and knee osteoarthritis. The principal finding in this study was that, in general, running was not associated with OA. Recreational runners had less chance of developing knee and hip arthritis compared to non-runners/ sedentary individuals and competitive runners.
A meta-analysis of 17 studies comparing OA rates between runners and controls (sedentary, non-running individuals) was conducted. The results found that only 3.5% of male and female recreational runners had hip or knee OA. Individuals who were sedentary and did not run had a higher rate (10.2%) of hip or knee OA. The highest rate of knee or hip OA at 13.3%, were elite, ex-elite and professional athletes. This study did not assess for potential confounding factors including the impact of obesity, occupational workload, or prior injury on the future risk of hip and knee OA in runners.
Running at a recreational level up to 15 years may be safely recommended as a general health exercise with the evidence suggesting that it has benefits for hip and knee joint health.
> From: Alentorn-Geli et al., J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 47 (2017) 373-390. All rights reserved to Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. Click here for the online summary.