Dr. Rajani Patil

Myth Busting

December, 2017
The Master Responds

If you are an avid runner and love your sunrise and sunset runs, this is a myth which you are quite familiar with: running can give you arthritis of the knees. This myth has of late been creating a considerable amount of anxiety in runners, both young and old. But, what you have to understand here is that with a few precautions in place you need not worry about hurting your knees while you run.

Assessing the Facts

Arthritis is the degeneration of the knee cartilage associated with the wear and tear, age, and other factors. It is believed that running creates an impact on the knee joint, but a number of studies have been conducted which do not support this fact. One such study conducted in the year 2006 by the title ‘Does long-distance running cause osteoarthritis’ found that long-distance running does not increase the risk of osteoarthritis of the knees. It, in fact, reports that long distance running might even have a protective effect against joint degeneration. Another such study published in the year 2008 studied 45 long distance runners and 53 control individuals (non-runners) and looked at radiographical changes in the knees. It showed that long-distance running among healthy individuals was not associated with osteoarthritis.

This clearly proves that you can continue to enjoy running without worrying about knee pain leading to arthritis. However, do keep in mind that knee pain may occur with running but this is usually related to muscular imbalances from weakness of quadriceps or glutes, or excessive hamstring tightness. Running is a repetitive sport, meaning that the same muscles get worked each time you run. This can lead to overuse injuries, even knee pain.

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