Long Distance Running and Knee OA

Long Distance Running and Knee OA.jpg

What is the definition of knee OA?

Knee OA has been characterised as a clinical syndrome of joint pain accompanied by varying degrees of functional limitation and reduced quality of life. 

Non Modifiable risk factors of development of knee OA are: Being women, previous joint injury such as a fracture and genetics. Modifiable risk factors are Obesity and Quadriceps weakness.

Running is not bad for the knees and this is a myth. 

Studies have investigated the relationship between long distance running and the development of knee OA. The objective of the study was to determine the relationship of physical activity to osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. This study attempted to determine if differences were present in the progression of knee OA in middle- to older-aged runners when compared with healthy non-runners over nearly 2 decades of serial radiographic observation.

This study found that there was little difference in initial radiological findings of runners and non-runners at the start of the study and at the end of the study the long distance runners did not have more prevalence in the rate of OA changes.

Therefore, the conclusion of the study was that Long-distance running among healthy older individuals was not associated with accelerated radiographic OA. These data raise the possibility that severe OA may not be more common among runners.

Weight bearing exercise seems to have a protective response against the development of Knee OA (Chakravarty, et al, 2008) 

Long Distance Running and Knee Osteoarthritis A Prospective Study

Exercise is the mainstay for treatment of OA

Evidence to support improved Quality of life, decreased pain & increased function immediately and pain & function at 2-6 months post treatment (Fransen et al, 2015)

“Exercise programmes that combine strengthening exercise with exercise aimed at increasing flexibility and aerobic capacity seem to be the “best” exercise option that clinicians can offer to patients.” (Uthman et al, 2013).

Are Joint replacements helpful?

Joint replacements: 9 /10 patients report reduction in pain & improved function. 

However, physical activity does not necessarily change….. No change at 6 months, small-moderate improvements at 12 months (Hammett et al, 2017). 

If you have knee pain or OA and want some advice about what you can do please don’t hesitate to contact us. We offer a sports massage in our London clinics to help with runners knee injuries.

RunningEmma Condon