Breakthrough on osteoarthritis prevention 46



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Osteoarthritis is one of the most common joint diseases and there is a strong correlation between the onset of osteoarthritis and ageing. We have been told many different things about preventing it and managing it as science reveals the secrets over the years. But one group of scientists may have actually disproved something we’ve believed for a long time.

Scientists at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas now believe that running may actually prevent osteoarthritis later in life. As long as an individual is a habitual runner, they can continue running at any time and it does not place too much increased pressure on the knee as previously thought.

In fact, in the studies conducted, the researchers found that runners typically have a lower body mass index (BMI), a factor known to decrease a person’s risk of developing knee OA.

The study assessed 2,683 participants. 56% were female and the average age was 64.5. They found runners, regardless of age when they ran, had a lower prevalence of knee pain, radiographic and symptomatic osteoarthritis than non-runners. Of those who had run at any time in their lives, 22.8% had symptomatic osteoarthritis compared to 29.8% of non runners.

It appears as though unless osteoarthritis is a preexisting condition, running is safe to enjoy.

Dr Grace Hsiao-Wei Lo, lead researcher has said, “In people who do not have currently knee osteoarthritis, there is no reason to restrict participation in habitual running at any time in life from the perspective that it does not appear to be harmful to the knee joint.”

So if you haven’t yet got osteoarthritis and would like to get into running now, it is a great time to start. Be gentle with the way you approach the activity and go from low intensity walking, to low intensity running and transition into longer distances.

Do you already run regularly? How do your knees feel? Tell us in the comments below… 

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  1. To late for me I already have it and walking at time is difficult, so is sleeping. If you don’t have the disease yet, try anything to delay it, it is painful and debilitating, even your sleep is affected. I am constantly up at night in pain so do what you can to avoid it

    4 REPLY
    • This is me too Libbi. I would love just one day of being pain free and to be able to go for a walk without wishing I had never started.

    • Same here. And there’s not much we can do. I too don’t get a full nights sleep because of the pain. It does stop us from doing soooo many things.

    • Do you have pain management with your DR. My husband was very bad, couldn’t get into our car, now he walks with me 6km a day, no pain. He may get a twinge now and again but so much better you could say 95 percent

    • I hear you Libbi. Mine is caused by Lupus. I have some fantastic pain free days and at other times I am in agony all day. I suffer more if I am required to stand in one position for too long. 10 minutes is about my limit. Same with sitting in a straight backed chair.

  2. Prevent it if you can, I got retired 6 years early cause it has taken over my whole body, the pain is cruel.

  3. Sorry but I don’t agree, I have been a runner, a dancer a vet active person all my life and at 53 needed a hip replacement. The left hip is in it’s way!

  4. If you can’t run then go to the local pool or beach and walk in the water waist deep, as the water supports 75% of your body weight there is less stress on your knees so don’t think about it just go out and do it

    1 REPLY
    • That’s right John……aqua aerobics is a well proven method of easing the pain and gaining more movement to arthritic joints. It is safe, no jarring and no bones or joints are forced to carry any excessive loads so it is great for baby boomers like us. For anyone who may be interested I wrote an article on my blog a couple of months back on this particular subject. The article also includes 5 videos giving you a good selection of fun routines from beginner to more advanced which I am sure will help your problem if you are prepared to give it a go. Unfortunately, and I know this may sound a little trite, but the old saying of “use it or lose it” becomes more and more relevant the older we get. Here is the link:

  5. I am currently exploring the pain in the insteps of both feet. I was very active all my young life, dancing of several genres, sport and lots of activity into middle age. I recently did a lot of walking around Mongolia and Europe. Knees fine, but both feet painful when walking and sleeping. A first ever? Bone density low, so it seems running is not for everyone? Hopefully it is only stress fractures. I am 71. Any advice from experience would be appreciated.

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