Running is fast becoming one of the most popular ways to exercise, with over 2M people in the UK undertaking it as part of their regular exercise regime.
It appeals to many people as running can be enjoyed alone or as part of a group in almost any environment. There is no need to spend lots of money on equipment, all you need is the correct shoes and the motivation to go!
The Myth of Osteoarthritis and Running
Historically running has been given a bad reputation due to the misconception that running was a cause of osteoarthritis. However, the most common causes of knee arthritis are either your genetics or following severe trauma to the knee (post-traumatic arthritis).
Furthermore, there is evidence that, for those with osteoarthritis, running improves knee pain and does not contribute to worsening pain. There are many other causes of knee pain in runners that are not due to arthritis.
Running is a good, safe and healthy form of exercise that has huge benefits for the entire body and can actually bring many benefits to the knees in particular. It can also help with weight loss, which can significantly reduce the stress put on joints and improve symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Lower The Risk of Injury
The best thing when starting running, especially if you have a preexisting condition like osteoarthritis, is to speak to a health professional first.
Always start off slow, and if you experience any pain then ease off and take a couple of days rest. If you have daily pain from osteoarthritis already, keep a journal to track your running progress and different feelings of discomfort or pain. Some people find running on grass or a trail is easier on the knees than running on a hard road surface.
Whether you run on road or grass, it is vital to have the correct footwear. By speaking to a physiotherapist, they can check your running style by doing a ‘gait analysis’. They can also advise you on the correct running shoes. Additionally, they can give you exercises to help you avoid injury. Improving your core strength, leg and hip strength will usually significantly improve your chance of running pain-free.
Warming up and cooling down properly through dynamic stretching will help the muscles to prepare for exercise and also cool down following your workout. The muscles can then relax and return to their normal range of motion.
What If Your Knee Pain Is Severe?
If you are experiencing severe knee pain from arthritis, then there are treatment options available to you. When there is widespread cartilage damage, a total or partial knee arthroplasty surgery may be the best option.
If you would like more information about knee osteoarthritis and the treatment options available to you, get in touch to arrange a consultation with Mr Punwar.