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PM R. 2012 May;4(5 Suppl):S117-21. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2012.02.011.

Does running cause osteoarthritis in the hip or knee?

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University of Utah Orthopaedic Center, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA.


Running is an excellent activity to promote general health and well-being. However, running injuries are common, and concern is sometimes raised that running might lead to osteoarthritis in weight-bearing joints. This article reviews the relevant in vitro and in vivo literature that looks at possible associations between running and the development of osteoarthritis. Also reviewed is the limited literature on running barefoot and with minimalist footwear. Low- and moderate-volume runners appear to have no more risk of developing osteoarthritis than nonrunners. The existing literature is inconclusive about a possible association between high-volume running and the development of osteoarthritis. The early literature on running barefoot and running with minimalist footwear has primarily focused on biomechanics but has not yet focused on any effect on cartilage health. Experienced and beginner runners should be encouraged to allow the body adequate time to adapt to changes in gait biomechanics caused by changing footwear, which can be done by slowly increasing running mileage in the new footwear. Clinicians can improve the health of runners by encouraging appropriate treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, encouraging maintenance of an optimal body mass index, and correcting gait abnormalities caused by deficits in flexibility, strength, or motor control along the kinetic chain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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