By Lillian Wynn PT, DPT
Physical Therapist


40% of American adults (110 million people) report walking or running as part of a regular exercise routine. Reports and ‘common knowledge’ about running and its impact on our joints are often conflicting. This is the second of three blog posts designed to look at current medical research regarding running on aging joints.

Article summary:


Men and women 45-79 years old, were grouped into 3 groups.
1: No symptoms of knee osteoarthritis, and deemed low risk for developing knee osteoarthritis
2: No symptoms of knee osteoarthritis, and deemed high risk
3: Symptoms of knee osteoarthritis


Patients were labeled as high volume runners, low volume runners, or non-runners. X-rays and pain questionnaires were provided at the start of the study, again at a 2 year follow up. Pain questionnaires were provided at the final 8 year follow up


Any history of running-low or high volume was associated with lower knee pain. There was slightly lower evidence of knee osteoarthritis on the x-rays of runners, but it was not statistically significant. Statistically the highest predictor of knee pain was BMI.


Other factors besides running seem to have more of an impact on symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. It is possible that wince runners tend to be more active and have lower BMI, that any potential damage is offset by the benefits of regular exercise.

PTF approach

Here at PTF, we want to keep you active in the activities that matter to you. If walking and running are important to you, and you feel limited by your knees, an evaluation could be useful. There are many factors besides osteoarthritis that could be contributing to your knee pain while running. PTF does a complete evaluation and then designs a treatment plan individual to you and your body to keep you moving.

Original Article

Lo, G., Driban, J., Kriska, A. McAlindon, T., Souza, R., Petersen, N., Storti, K., Eaton, C., Hochberg, M., Jackson, R., Kwoh, K., Nevitt, M., Suarez-Almazaor, M. (2017). History of Running is Not Associated with Higher Risk of Symptomatic Knee Osteoarthritis: A Cross-Sectional Study form the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Arthritis care res, 69(2), 183-191. doi:10.1002/acr.22939.