As an avid runner and a physician that treats knee pain, I am often asked about the long term effects of running on knees. Several research studies have looked at the effects of long term moderate running activities on degenerative knee arthritis. From these studies, there does not appear to be an acceleration of knee osteoarthritis with moderate running activities. Studies also demonstrate that weight loss is associated with decreased chronic knee pain and the slowing of osteoarthritis.
The effects of marathon running on chronic knee arthritis is less clear. Several studies have shown that elite runners do not appear to develop increased risks of osteoarthritis with marathon running. However, for the casual runner (most of us!), some research has suggested there may be an increased risk of knee arthritis with marathon and long distance “weekend warrior” running. I suggest moderate running until one has become relatively fit before tackling marathons and longer distances. I suggest running trails, not only is it more picturesque but there is a lot less pounding on our joints.
Also, current and future research may demonstrate protective effects of joint fluid therapy on knee arthritis for the casual long distance runner.
Learn more about the Reflex non-surgical approach to treating knee pain in runners. If you have chronic knee pain, we can help. Call us at (503) 719-6783 to set up a free knee evaluation.