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Running can decrease inflammation in your joints.

03/08/2017, 12:45pm CST
By OPA Ortho Dr. Laura Matsen Ko

USASA Sponsor Article

Many people believe running damages the knee joints, and that virtually each step is wearing down the cartilage causing arthritis. However, a new study from researchers at Brigham Young University {European Journal of Applied Physiology December 2016, Volume 116, Issue 11, pp 2305–2314 } shows that running may actually have the potential to decrease the concentration of molecules that cause joint inflammation.

The researchers compared levels of inflammation-causing molecules – cytokines - in six runners after running in comparison to the levels after a period of rest. The rest period had no effect but the running period decreased the level of cytokines by almost 50%.  The amount of change was greater for longer running distances.

These findings suggest that a single half-hour session of running can change the knee’s environment, reducing inflammation and lessening levels of a marker of arthritis, says Robert Hyldahl, a professor of exercise science at B.Y.U.

As a former collegiate runner and current recreational athlete, I recognize that moderate levels of exercise can maintain the health of joints. As one of my favorite physical therapists is fond of saying, ‘motion is lotion’.   I encourage my patients to exercise regularly because:

  • Exercise can help maintain the joint’s full range of motion.

  • Exercise strengthens the muscles that support the joint and absorb shock

  • Exercise can reduce joint inflammation

  • Exercise can help reduce body weight, lessening the impact on joints.

  • Exercise is fun!

Even patients with mild to moderate arthritis can benefit from low impact activities such as cycling, elliptical and swimming. 

If you think you may have an arthritic joint and need a consultation please call our appointment center to set up a time when we can provide you with a personalized evaluation and expert level care.

Our goal is to help you get back to the activities you enjoy!

-Laura Matsen Ko, M.D.

Dr. Matsen Ko's Webpage

OPA Appointment Center: (206) 386-2600

To read more about the study, you can find the article here.

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