Running Knees!


Does Running Cause Osteoarthritis in the Hip or Knee?


Running is an excellent activity to promote general health and well-being, both physical and mental.

However, running injuries are common, and concern is sometimes raised that running might lead to osteoarthritis (OA) in weight bearing joints.

The well known benefits of running include improved cardiovascular fitness, strength and endurance. It also reduces the risk of developing hypertension, improves bone density, has a positive effect on mood, and improves cognition.

However, the question is, could the potential joint damage outweigh some of these advantages and lead to accelerated bone and joint degeneration resulting in pain and subsequent immobility?

There have been several studies done regarding the association between running and OA, seemingly reaching similar conclusions.

In 2008, The American Journal of Preventative Medicine presented a prospective study which had been carried out over 20 years to determine if there were differences in the progression of knee OA in middle to older age runners compared with healthy non-runners using serial x-ray observation.

This study concluded that long-distance running among healthy older individuals was not associated with accelerated radiographic OA suggesting that OA may not be more common among runners.

This is good news for runners out there!  However, running is not without risk - overload injuries that affect bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles are common.

One of the most common running injuries is iliotibial band syndrome which can be very painful and disabling due to severe pain on the outside of the knee joint. The iliotibial band works with the knee ligaments to stabilise the knee joint. ITB syndrome happens when the IT band rubs repeatedly against the lower end of the thigh bone as it joins the knee, causing inflammation and pain.

The pain may be sharp and/or achey, sometimes extending further up the side of the leg as far as the hip. It may start at a certain point during runs and ease as soon as you stop.


ITB syndrome is an overuse injury so tends to worsen with repeated movement.

Risk factors to developing this condition include; 

- running increasingly long distances for training.

- being new to running and increasing distance.

- wearing worn-out running shoes.

- running on slippery or uneven ground.

- foot overpronation- foot rolls in when you run.

If the pain does not resolve after a couple of weeks with rest, stretching and ice and you cannot return to normal activities, osteopathic treatment may be advisable. Your osteopath can advise on suitable re-hab exercises/stretches as well as providing symptomatic relief with soft-tissue massage and manipulation to related tensions in the knee, hip and lower back which may be preventing a full recovery.

Call the team at the Trinity Practice for personalised expert help.

Telephone:  01747 851726

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Selected Saturdays, please call for availability, closed bank holidays.






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