Knee OA Risk Lower in Joggers
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 01:10 PM

People who run at any time of life have lower rates of knee pain and osteoarthritis (OA) compared with nonrunners, according to cross-sectional analysis of data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) the lead investigator from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston reports.

"Based on our findings, clinicians can say to those who don't already have osteoarthritis, that running does not appear harmful to the knee from the perspective of developing radiographic evidence of knee OA and knee pain. These people should not be discouraged from running."

They found that people who ran at any time of life had a lower prevalence of both frequent knee pain and symptomatic ROA compared with nonrunners (35.0% versus 41.6%, odds ratio 0.87; and 22.8% versus 29.8%; OR 0.83, respectively) -- differences that remained statistically significant after adjusting for age, sex, and BMI.

There is controversy regarding whether habitual running is beneficial or harmful to the knee because chronic, mechanical overloading could potentially physically damage structures within the knee, said Dr. Lo. "But, alternatively, runners have a lower BMI which we know is protective of knee OA."

The question of whether or not running increases the risk of OA is particularly relevant because the physical activity guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control recommend 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity such as running.