Posted by Chris
on April 10, 2000 at 08:35:10:
In Reply to: Re: Running with Arthritis - My favorite subject. posted by Gramps on April 07, 2000 at 21:05:26:
Thanks for sharing your info. My ortho said I could run a marathon, but that the price
would likely be very dear. I think running is a good thing if done in conjunction with stretching
and other Range of Motion excercises (in moderation). My pain has continued to lessen over the weeks from
an all time low in November. I'm hoping to start running (maybe start with a mile) after I have
done say stairmaster for 20 minutes and I am really warm.
Again, thanks for your response. If you care, here's what my internet based trainer said
on the issue (which you will likely find interesting as she quotes studies on "older" runners.)
Bottom line - she think's it's ok too::
Q: Is arthritis worsened by running:
Depends on what studies you want to look at.
1982 Study on Rabbits - they gave them osteoarthritis by immobilizing a
limb, then studied the progression of the osteoarthritis in relation to near
maximal running versus no running. There was no acceleration of the OA in
relation to near maximal running.
1990 study (this time on rats) - they gave running and non running rats
injections of hydrogen peroxide into the joints. The non running rats did
not develop OA, but the running rats did.
1975 study (this time looking at humans) - radiographs of 74 former Finnish
Championship runners with average age of 55 who began running between ages
12 and 25. (Runner's mileages weren't reported). These radiographs were
compared with 115 controls and revealed an incidence of 4% of radiologic
changes in the runners versus 8.7% in the controls. You can't necessarily
imply that running protects joints from this study, but it was intriguing
nonetheless. It could be that the genetics of those 74 runners was such
that they would have been spared OA even if they hadn't run - hard to
compare world class athletes and "normals" and not control for the genetic
factors that predisposes one to athletic greatness.
1985 study of former college varsity athletes - 504 cross country runners
compared with 287 swimmers. Age range of 23-77 years. Study was looking at
incidence of hip and knee pain. 15.5% of runners and 19.5% of swimmers had
mild or severe pain. 2.1% of runners and .8% of swimmers had had surgery for
relief of joint pain. There was no differences in average mileage between
those who complained of pain and those who did not. No significant
difference in years of running between those who did and didn't complain of
1986 study on long distance runners aged 50-72. Male and female runners had
40% more bone mineral density when compared with matched controls. No
differences were noted between the groups in joint space narrowing,
crepitation, joint stability or symptomatic osteoarthritis. A later
follow-up on this same group of runners showed no differences in radiologic
progression of osteoarthritis in runners and controls.
1989 study of 27 former elite long distance runners compared to 9 former
bob-sled riders and 23 controls - found in retrospective analysis that there
was a significantly higher incidence of OA of the hip in the runners than
the controls. Average mileage per week in 1973 was 97 Km (60 miles) per
week. They found that pace rather than mileage was more of a predictor of
Main differences in the human studies - most found that there was not a
correlation between running per-se and OA, but found instead that pace and
mileage per week did seem to influence the study results.
Now, with all that said... you DO NOT appear to have full blown OA. That
is diagnosed by a combination of radiographic findings (which are negative
on you) and symptoms (which are gradually resolving). I truly feel that if
you can moderate your running to a level that does not bring on symptoms,
and if you're consistent with maintaining optimum strength and flexibility,
and if you're willing to cross train - YOU CAN RUN safely and not risk
excessive progression of joint deterioration. There is some evidence to
support the hypothesis that exercise within certain parameters may indeed
forestall the inevitable joint decline that comes with age.
Hope this helps allay some of your anxiety. Returning to a moderate amount
of running should be OK, but if pace and mileage increase too much you do
run some risk.
Janet Hamilton, MA CSCS Team Oregon Rehab Coach
Personalized coaching for rehabilitation and injury prevention