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Running Still Does Not Cause Arthritis

It is a popular belief that the wear and tear of running spurs osteoarthritis of the knees and other joints. In 2013, we reported how the National Runners Health Study followed nearly 90,000 runners and found that running did not increase the rates of osteoarthritis.(1) In fact, compared to walkers, runners had half the risk of osteoarthritis.

Since then, there have been a few rat-based studies. Some say running is good for osteoarthritis.(2) Others say running can worsen arthritis.(3) Rat studies, however, rank below studies involving humans.

More recently, another large-scale study on humans in real-life running patterns repeats the finding that there is no relationship between running and osteoarthritis.(4) This time, researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, USA studied 2,637 people around age 65. People who had a history of running did not have a statistically significant increased risk of osteoarthritis. Furthermore, researchers once again found that runners prove *less* likely to have knee pain compared to non-runners. So, strap on those running shoes and have fun.

Free E-Book: Guide to Knee Pain


  1. Williams P. Effects of running and walking on osteoarthritis and hip replacement risk. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. July 2013; 45(7): 1292-1297.
  2. Shimomura S, Inoue H, Arai Y, Nakagawa S, Fujii Y, Kishida T, Ichimaru S, Tsuchida S, Shirai T, Ikoma K, Mazda O. Treadmill running ameliorates destruction of articular cartilage and subchondral bone, not only synovitis, in a rheumatoid arthritis rat model. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2018 Jun; 19 (6): 1653.
  3. Cambré I, Gaublomme D, Schryvers N, Lambrecht S, Lories R, Venken K, Elewaut D. Running promotes chronicity of arthritis by local modulation of complement activators and impairing T regulatory feedback loops. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. 2019 Jun 1;78(6):787-95.
  4. Lo GH, Driban JB, Kriska AM, McAlindon TE, Souza RB, Petersen NJ, Storti KL, Eaton CB, Hochberg MC, Jackson RD, Kent Kwoh C. Is there an association between a history of running and symptomatic knee osteoarthritis? A cross‐sectional study from the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Arthritis Care & Research. 2017 Feb; 69 (2): 183-91.

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