Does Running Decrease Running Knee Arthritis and Hip Arthritis Risk?
Running knee arthritis is something I’ve blogged in the past on studies that go both ways on the issue. Some research shows that running is associated with less knee arthritis while other research shows running is associated with more knee arthritis. The truth is that this is likely a very complex question. Now yet another installment in the running and knee arthritis debate has just been published. A research group looked at more than 74,000 runners and 14,000 walkers for 7 years and 5 years respectively. They monitored the number of knee and hip replacements in these groups and found fewer hip and knee replacements in the running group and as would be suspected, a strong association between being overweight and a hip or knee replacement. They concluded that running helped hip and knee arthritis, but the study seems to have some serious flaws. While it includes massive numbers of people, using a hip or knee replacement in this group as the arbiter of whether they have arthritis is pretty misleading. We’re seeing that many runners simply won’t get a knee or hip replacement due to it’s impact on running and lifestyle (most surgeons state that running with a joint replacement will just ensure that you need another joint replacement sooner). In addition, this study has no way to tell if the amount of arthritis in one group was more or less than the other or if the running group had slightly more or less arthritis than the walking group. The upshot? The running and arthritis debate, regrettably, wasn’t decided by this study! What should you do? If running makes your joints feel better and your bio mechanical issues are being addressed, then run to your heart’s content until this debate gets decided with some better research. However, you may want to take the self-tests in our practice’s e-book, Orthopedics 2.0 to see where you need to have work done to “keep on trucking!” (younger readers may not know that reference, Google it…)