Running With Knee Osteoarthritis

Have you ever heard someone say, or even said yourself, “I shouldn’t run because I have arthritis in my knees?” Although this may seem like sound decision making when managing this diagnosis, the research begs to differ.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common type of arthritis that occurs as individuals get older. It is the breakdown of the cartilage “cap” on the end of the bonds. It can cause pain and loss of function. Many of our patients love to run and race… and they do not want age/pain to hold them back from doing what they love. Often times people think this diagnosis, especially in their knees, means the end of their running career.

A recent study debunks the “rest is better” myth. Lo et al. (2017)1 found that individuals 50 years old and over with knee OA and who performed self-selected running actually did at least one of the following: decreased their knee pain, did not worsen their pain, or did not progress their structural symptoms in the knee. This means that runners diagnosed with OA should not automatically go into retirement. They are safe to continue running based on how they are feeling and being conservative with their progression. This study supports that movement is key in treating pain and providing the appropriate stress on the knee cartilage to aide in regeneration.

If you are experiencing pain with running or have more questions about your running – schedule an evaluation or running gait analysis to help get you back on track to your goals!

Kaylee Pobocik, SPT, ATC

1 H. Lo, Grace & M. Musa, Sarra & Driban, Jeffrey & M. Kriska, Andrea & E. McAlindon, Timothy & Souza, Richard & J. Petersen, Nancy & Storti, Kristi & Eaton, Charles & C. Hochberg, Marc & Jackson, Rebecca & Kent Kwoh, C & C. Nevitt, Michael & Suarez-Almazor, Maria. (2018). Running does not increase symptoms or structural progression in people with knee osteoarthritis: data from the osteoarthritis initiative. Clinical Rheumatology. 37. 10.1007/s10067-018-4121-3.