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Running and Knee Arthritis: Dispelling the Myth


For years, running has been erroneously linked to the development of knee arthritis. This common misconception has deterred many from engaging in an activity that offers numerous health benefits. This blog post aims to debunk this myth by arguing that there is no direct relationship between running and knee arthritis, supported by scientific research.


Knee arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that involves the breakdown of the cartilage in the knee joint. It is widely believed that the repeated impact of running can accelerate this process, leading to arthritis. However, numerous studies have challenged this belief.

A study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy found that recreational runners had a lower prevalence of knee pain and arthritis compared to non-runners (Alentorn-Geli et al., 2017). This suggests that running, when done in moderation, may not necessarily increase the risk of developing knee arthritis.

Similarly, a study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found no significant association between running and the development of osteoarthritis, even in long-distance runners (So et al., 2017). This further dispels the notion that running inherently damages the knee joints over time.

Moreover, research published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research found that regular running, at any stage of life, does not increase the risk of developing arthritis (Lo et al., 2017). Interestingly, this study suggested that running might even have a protective effect against the development of knee arthritis.

It’s important to note that while running isn’t directly linked to knee arthritis, improper running techniques and overuse can lead to injuries, which could potentially increase the risk of arthritis (Willick et al., 2016). Therefore, it’s essential for runners to adopt proper form and gradually increase their running volume to avoid injuries.


In conclusion, the belief that running contributes to knee arthritis is largely unfounded. Current research suggests that running, when done correctly and in moderation, does not increase the risk of knee arthritis. In fact, it may even have a protective effect against the condition. As with any form of exercise, it’s important to listen to your body and seek professional advice if needed.


  • Alentorn-Geli, E., Samuelsson, K., Musahl, V., Green, C. L., Bhandari, M., & Karlsson, J. (2017). The Association of Recreational and Competitive Running With Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 47(6), 373-390.
  • So, H., Shim, J., In, T., & Song, C. (2017). Jogging and walking reduce the risk of osteoarthritis in the elderly. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 14(8), 616-622.
  • Lo, G. H., Driban, J. B., Kriska, A. M., McAlindon, T. E., Souza, R. B., Petersen, N. J., … & Eaton, C. B. (2017). Is There an Association Between a History of Running and Symptomatic Knee Osteoarthritis? A Cross-Sectional Study From the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Arthritis Care & Research, 69(2), 183-191.
  • Willick, S. E., Hansen, P. A., & Blaisdell, B. (2016). Running and Osteoarthritis: Does Recreational or Competitive Running Increase the Risk? PM&R, 8(3S), S41-S48.

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