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Could running actually be GOOD for your knees?

Netdoctor (UK) logo Netdoctor (UK) 06/02/2018 Francesca Rice

Running may actually be GOOD for your knees, according to study © Adam Orzechowski / Getty Running may actually be GOOD for your knees, according to study If you've always avoided running for fear it could damage your joints, then a new study may just have eliminated that excuse... In fact, it looks like long-distance running may actually be good for your knees – at least according to the results of new research by Thomas Jefferson University in the US.

This surprising discovery came about after the team conducted a large review of data from 31 countries, covering nearly 700 people over almost 20 years, which looked at the rates of arthritis and joint pain experienced by marathon runners, compared to the general population.

The research – which is published in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery –found that the prevalence of arthritis was significantly lower for long-distance runners: just under 9% compared to nearly 18% for non-joggers.

This seems to contradict what scientists have long assumed: that running exerts pressure on the joints, causing damage to the hips and knees.

© Provided by National magazine company ltd (Hearst UK) But, unless participants had a history of knee or hip problems, the team found no link between long-distance running and joint pain.

Interestingly, the more marathons someone had completed, the smaller their chances of experiencing pain – although this could be because runners who feel pain stop completing long races.

Speaking about the findings, sports injury specialist Professor Richard Steadman told The Telegraph:

"If you have not had surgery on your knee, and you're anatomically aligned properly - no bowlegs, no knock knees - then you could be running forever. My advice to people is, as long as they're not symptomatic, they should keep on running."

If you are interested in taking up running, you can start by slowly building your fitness through walking.

For more information, visit our fitness tips collection.

Related: 40 astounding facts about the human body

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