Recreational runners can feel good about the conclusions of a recent study on the incidence of knee and hip osteoarthritis in recreational runners as compared to sedentary individuals and to competitive runners. An international team of researchers in Spain, Sweden, the United States and Canada concluded that the recreational runners are less likely to experience knee and hip OA than are the other two groups.
The study concludes that running at a recreational level – those who run less than 57 miles per week – for up to 15 years, and possibly more — may be safely recommended as general health exercise. It also suggests that recreational running offers benefits for hip and knee joint health. Their systematic review of several studies investigating the relationship between running and arthritis of these weight-bearing joints found that only 3.5% of recreational runners developed hip or knee arthritis, regardless of the runner’s gender. However, remaining sedentary was associated with a rate of knee and hip arthritis of 10.2% and that incidence increased to 13.3% for competitive runners.
The lead author, Eduard Alentorn-Geli, MD, MSc, PhD, with Fundación García-Cugat; Artroscopia GC, Hospital Quirón; and Mutualidad Catalana de Futbolistas-Delegación Cataluña, Federación Española de Fútbol in Barcelona, Spain, as well as the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. said about the study:
“…the novel finding in our investigation is the increased association between running and arthritis in competitive, but not in recreational, runners.”
Read the full report in the June issue of JOSPT.