New research suggests that marathon running poses no significant risk to the development of hip and knee osteoarthritis.
Researchers from the US compared 675 marathon runners to the general population. Runners included in the study ran an average of 36 miles/week (10-150 miles) and had completed an average of 76 Marathons (5-1016).
They concluded that:
'Running duration, intensity, mileage and number of marathons completed did not increase the risk of developing knee and hip arthritis'
Rather than factors related to running, they found that age, family history of arthritis and past surgeries were the main predictive factors in increasing the risk of developing arthritis.
They also found that:
'The arthritis rate of active Marathoners was below that of the general population'
More research is needed in this area but it is a step in the right direction in reducing misconceptions about the negative effects of distance running.
If you want to avoid long term running issues:
1. Do not train through pain/injury
2. Give your body time to adapt to new training loads
3. If your injury does not settle within a few days of rest get it checked by a experienced professional
Original Study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/29342063/
Ponzio DY, et al. (2018) 'Low Prevalence of Hip and Knee Arthritis in Active Marathon Runners': The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery: 17;100(2):131-137
Written by Jon Lewis (The Forest Physio) http://www.theforestphysio.co.uk