Running with Arthritic Knees: It’s Actually Good for You
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.
Studies that Support Running
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.
What You Can Do to Help Ease Post-Run Aches and Pains
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.
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can intensify muscle pain.
- Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that is a powerful anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. It can be added to your food or even a latte.
- Ginger is used in Chinese medicine to help with nausea, boost anti-inflammatory properties and helps relieve muscle pain.
- Apple cider vinegar may not be your first choice of drink after a workout, but it is great for sore muscles and leg cramps.
- Cold packs should be the first thing you reach for after each run. Ice constricts blood vessels, which reduces the flow of blood to the area, therefore reducing inflammation. Reflex keeps these in stock for your convenience.
Let us Help You
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!