Dodgy knees may actually benefit from running.
Running can cause inflammation and soreness but new research from Brigham Young University has found that inflammation lessens in the knee joint after running.
“It flies in the face of intuition,” said study coauthor Matt Seeley, associate professor of exercise science at BYU. “This idea that long-distance running is bad for your knees might be a myth.”
The team measured inflammation markets in the knee joint fluid of several healthy men and women aged 18-35 both before and after running.
They found that the inflammation markets stayed at similar levels.
“What we now know is that for young, healthy individuals, exercise creates an anti-inflammatory environment that may be beneficial in terms of long-term joint health,” said study lead author Robert Hyldahl, BYU assistant professor of exercise science.
Hyldahl said the study results indicate running is chondroprotective, which means exercise may help delay the onset of joint degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis.
This is potentially great news, since osteoarthritis is a painful disease where cartilage at the end of bones wears down and gradually worsens over time.
“This study does not indicate that distance runners are any more likely to get osteoarthritis than any other person,” Seeley said.
“Instead, this study suggests exercise can be a type of medicine.”
The study is published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.