Contrary to previous research, a new study suggests that engaging in running on a regular basis does not raise the risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee. In fact, it may even help protect against the condition.
The research team, co-led by Dr. Grace Hsiao-Wei Lo of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, recently presented their findings at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in Boston, MA.
Osteoarthritis is a joint disease characterized by the breakdown of the cartilage, joint lining, ligaments and bone. It most commonly affects the knees, hips, hands and spine. Around 26.9 million adults in the US are estimated to have some form of osteoarthritis, with middle-aged and elderly individuals being most affected.
Although it is unclear exactly what causes osteoarthritis, some studies have suggested that regular running may contribute to the disease. But the team notes that such studies have been conducted in professional male runners, so they may not apply to the general public.