According to a new scientific review from the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy, researchers discovered that moderate levels of recreational running may support healthy knee and hip joints, reports an article from Time Magazine.
The researchers conducted a meta-analysis that combined data from 17 previous studies about recreational running and its effects on hip or knee arthritis, otherwise known as osteoarthritis (a.k.a., degenerative joint disease, or “wear-and-tear” arthritis). With a total of 114,829 people studied, the researchers found that only 3.5 percent of recreational runners developed osteoarthritis during their period of study. In addition, the researchers found that those who were not recreational runners had a 10.2 percent chance of developing osteoarthritis. This means that people who ran moderately had a lower chance of developing osteoarthritis than people who did not run at all.
In addition, a 2016 study conducted by Matt Seeley, Ph.D, associate professor of exercise science at Brigham Young University, found that running for 30 minutes reduced inflammatory proteins around the knee joint. He states that “running at a recreational level can be safely recommended as a general health exercise, with the evidence suggesting that it has benefits for hip and knee joint health.”
So, what does this mean for people with, or are susceptible to, osteoarthritis?
Since it affects an astonishing 27 million Americans mostly in the knees and hips, people with osteoarthritis, or people who are susceptible to developing osteoarthritis, should consider a moderate amount of exercise to assist with prevention and pain relief. However, since the knees and hips support much of your weight, it’s important to remember to exercise moderately and with caution. See below for a few ideas about how to stay safe while you’re running.
Be Selective of Your Surfaces
To be a cautious runner, think about the surfaces you will be running on. You will need a surface that’s shock absorbent, such as grass in a local park, or the asphalt that lines your neighborhood roads. You never want to run on concrete, because it’s a very harsh and unforgiving surface that may cause more pain in your knees.
Wear Proper Footwear
According to the Arthritis Foundation, research shows that the best footwear for minimizing osteoarthritis knee pain is a flat-soled shoe. Read this article from Healthline that will provide you with good suggestions for walking and running shoes.