Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Running Volume’s Impact on Knee Arthritis

June 1, 2017


Running remains one of our country’s most popular forms of exercise.  This is no more evident than here in Boulder where our citizens have been consistently voted one of the fittest cities in America.  Runners of all ages can be seen exercising on our city’s paths, trails, and sidewalks.  In our previous blog post we described the most current research dispelling the commonly held belief that running causes knee arthritis.  A new article sheds further light onto this topic by assessing the volume of runner’s training and the incidence of knee arthritis.

Authors in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy performed a systematic review and meta analysis on the available data between running and knee arthritis (Alentorn-Geli et al. 2017).  The authors took a close look at a runner’s sex, years of running experience, weekly mileage, and profession vs. amateur status.  The authors included 24 studies of over 123,000 participants and found the overall prevalence of either hip or knee arthritis to be 13% in competitive/professional runners, 3.5% in recreational runners, and 10% in sedentary controls.  This data placed professional/elite runners or those participating in international competitions at higher risk of arthritis than their less competitive running peers.  Consistent with the previous research, recreational runners had a lower prevalence than their sedentary peers.