More and more Americans are runners. And more and younger Americans are getting knee joint replacements. So, if you are a dedicated runner are you triggering osteoarthritis – the main problem that leads to knee joint replacement?
“Running by itself does not cause arthritis,” says McLeod Orthopedic Specialist Christopher Walsh, MD. “It’s an easy mischaracterization, because many people, who have a history of running, end up with a knee joint replacement. It’s often due to more factors than their running. Their weight. Their age. Does arthritis run in their family?”
For every one-pound you weigh, you’re putting 4 pound of pressure on your knee with every running step. A life of normal wear-and-tear (with no running involved) can lead to a knee joint replacement. Yet, many runners using the right shoes, on the right surface with stretching and correct warm up/cool down can run for years without requiring a new knee joint.
A number of studies have shown that weight-bearing exercises, such as running actually can help delay or prevent osteoarthritis. A study at Brigham Young University shows that 30-minutes of running actually lower inflammation in a runner’s knee joints. Results of a study at the Baylor College of Medicine determined that running at any stage of life does not increase a person’s risk of osteoarthritis of the knee.
DON’T IGNORE THE PAIN
Whether a runner or not, look for the symptoms of osteoporosis that may hint at the need for a knee joint replacement:
An orthopedic specialist may recommend lifestyle modifications, such as losing weight or switching from high-impact sports (tennis, running) to something milder (swimming, cycling).
Medications may work – from over the counter ibuprofen to more sophisticated drugs, such as corticosteroids. Assistive devices including a cane or brace might be the next step.
But the fact is: that while you can treatment symptoms, there is no cure for arthritis.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
Don’t ignore the discomfort and pain. Consult an orthopedic specialist for a diagnosis and a trip down the road to a less painful future.
Find an Orthopedic specialist near you.
Sources include: McLeod Health, University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Competitor Running, Arthritis Research UK, European Journal of Applied Physiology