Could Long Run Lead to Osteoarthritis?

Could Long Run Lead to Osteoarthritis?

By Dr Tony Setiobudi BMedSci, MBBS, MRCS, MMed (Ortho), FRCS (Ortho)

Many people believe that running is bad for the knee and hip joints. In contrast to what many people believe, running is not only good for our hearts and lungs, it is great for our muscles, bones, and brains as well. In fact, people who run regularly are less likely to develop knee osteoarthritis compared to people with sedentary lifestyle.

Here are some of the benefits of running.

  1. People who run regularly have more ideal body weight. Over weight puts a lot of pressure to the joint and muscles thus they wear out faster.
  2. People who run regularly have stronger muscles. Quadriceps muscles are the stabiliser of the knee joint. The knee joint is more stable and has less wear and tear when the quadriceps muscles are strong.
  3. Exercise helps to release the body anti-inflammatory substances. Osteoarthritis is caused by inflammation in the joint. Thus, exercise can slow down osteoarthritis by reducing the inflammation in the joint.
  4. Exercises helps to produce greater supply of joint fluid (synovial fluid). It acts like a lubricant to the joint reducing the rate of osteoarthritis.

It does not mean that people who run regularly don’t get osteoarthritis. However, they are at a lower risk of getting one.

What can you do to reduce that chance of osteoarthritis if you like running?

  1. Have adequate warm up before exercise so that you don’t strain your muscles
  2. Have proper shoe wear appropriate for running
  3. Run in even surface to reduce the risk of injury

Dr Tony Setiobudi is an Orthopaedic & Spine Surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Hospital (Orchard), Singapore. He treats bone, joint, muscle and ligament problems in adults and children. He has a special interest in nerve compression and spine problems such as back & neck pain, scoliosis, kyphosis, spine tumor & infection, spinal cord injury, osteoporosis fracture, spinal stenosis and slipped disc.

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