Health & Wellness

Running Doesn’t Increase OA Risk

By Wendy Haaf

A recent study torpedoes the commonly held notion that long-distance running increases the risk for developing hip or knee osteoarthritis (oA). The research involved 3,804 runners who had registered for the 2019 and 2021 Chicago marathons and agreed to fill out a detailed survey.

On average, participants had been running for 14.7 years and completed five or fewer mara- thons. overall, the rate of hip and/or knee osteoarthritis was 7.8%. Measures such as total years of running, weekly distance, and number of completed marathons didn’t correlate significantly with arthritis risk.

Factors that did correlate with risk included prior hip/knee injury or surgery, advancing age, body mass index, and a family history of hip or knee oA. Yet the mistaken belief that running itself causes hip and knee arthritis stubbornly persists, even among physicians: 24.2% of participants reported that a doctor had advised them to stop or reduce their running.

Source: 2023 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of orthopedic Surgeons