A sedentary lifestyle is a known risk factor for osteoarthritis (OA). However casual running is, possibly to your surprise, a way to keep your knees healthy. Osteoarthritis is a painful disease that can keep people from staying active, despite the known benefits of keeping your knees moving. The pain of OA leads many people to give up running as part of their regular exercise.
A recent scientific review in the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy compared people who ran competitively or not at all, and surprisingly moderate athletes had lower rates of osteoarthritis over time. Researchers found that only 3.5% of recreational runners developed knee or hip OA. This compared with the 10.2% chance of those who did not run at all. The meta-analysis concluded that running at a casual level is safe for healthy individuals. This review aligns with a recent report from Brigham Young University that found running for 30 minutes reduced inflammatory markers around the knee joint.
Although some researchers still caution against long-distance running, new long-term studies seem to now suggest there is no clear causal relationship between long-distance running and knee OA.
As with any activity, it is possible to get hurt while exercising, especially if you begin too quickly. So, if it has been a while since you laced-up, take it slow.
If you are in pain after your run, you might be suffering from painful joints, inflammation or delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). DOMS is a mild muscle soreness that occurs 6-8 hours after your workout and is usually most painful around 24-48 hours later. Keep in mind that rest is essential for your body to repair muscle damage.
Before you end up battling pain and inflammation after a casual run, come and see us. We want to help keep you doing the activities you love. Our physicians will evaluate what we can do to keep you active!