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Author Topic: Running and Osteoarthritis  (Read 80464 times)

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Offline north_north_west

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Running and Osteoarthritis
« on: January 04, 2008, 05:30:22 PM »
Greetings all,

Perhaps this is the right area to ask this question.

I was recently diagnosed with 'advanced osteoarthritis of the medial compartment' of my left knee after a summer of pain which finally drove me to a Dr.  They also found a complex tear in the medial meniscus.

After physical therapy and a series of Supartz shots varying from painless to excruciating, I am feeling much better and would like to start running again (previously, I'd been a 20 mile per week runner for about 20 years). When I ask the Drs about it, they say something like 'It may not be the right exercise for you' or 'they wouldn't recommend it' but fall short of saying I absolutely shouldn't. 

I looked it up in the medical journals, and havent found anything saying that running exacerbates OA.  The only stuff I found was that its role in causing OA was kind of questionable.

Does anyone have any experience with running with OA, or what the conventional medical wisdom is on this?  What have your various Drs said about it?

Thanks
Dave


Offline jathib

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Re: Running and Osteoarthritis
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2008, 06:23:10 PM »
I don't think you'll find a doctor anywhere that will tell you running on a damaged knee is not going to cause faster degeneration. I certainly don't know of any. If it's bad for good knees it's certainly going to be bad for bad knees.  I know you'd like somebody to tell you it's okay but you won't find any. You'll certainly find people that will do it anyway. Maybe nobody has done a study because it's a no-brainer. How did you get OA and a torn meniscus in the first place? It's quite possible that it was caused by 20 years of running. I'm quite certain that years of swimming have caused degenerative problems in my shoulders. But, alas, I'm going to continue anyway knowing full well that there will come a time that I won't be able to do it anymore. At least my heart and lungs will love me.

Offline UK Girl !

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Re: Running and Osteoarthritis
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2008, 08:30:09 PM »
yes I do - stupidly - at 43 I had a TKR!!!!

Running puts enourmous stress on your body right up to the neck - all that pounding!!!

swim !!
1978 - ruptured acl and all cartalidge removed.
several debridements over years
TKR 10TH JULY 2006 http://www.kneeguru.co.uk/KNEEtalk/index.php?topic=28257.0  Aug 07 patellar maltracking - more physio! Still pain - but so much better !
BIOMET AGC  TKR  (with 10 yr warranty !)

Offline north_north_west

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Re: Running and Osteoarthritis
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2008, 08:40:36 PM »
Actually, there is evidence that running is good for good knees, OA-wise. 

http://www.jaoa.org/cgi/content/full/106/6/342




Offline jathib

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Re: Running and Osteoarthritis
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2008, 08:55:42 PM »
Hey, if you really believe that then why not just go for it?

Offline Nettan

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Re: Running and Osteoarthritis
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2008, 09:09:48 PM »
I would never ruin a good functional knee with running if I already have problems in there and especially when your OS is telling you to not run.
But if this study seems to give all answers, why not go ahead...all you can get is a worse knee !!
I would never risk my knees, if I could walk.
Surgery 6 times left knee torn meniscus, RSDS,chondromalacia, nervdamage cause constant nervpain,chronic inflamm.
Spinaldamage wheeler 100%.
Right knee damaged aug-06, use brace surgery 4/9-07.LCL tear.

Offline UK Girl !

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Re: Running and Osteoarthritis
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2008, 10:09:16 PM »
ya know what - I was stupid continuing with running not finding out about the risk of what damage I could cause - but to be well informed and still take the risk is totally irresponsible!

your knees! - when you need them replacing you will be thinking differently !
1978 - ruptured acl and all cartalidge removed.
several debridements over years
TKR 10TH JULY 2006 http://www.kneeguru.co.uk/KNEEtalk/index.php?topic=28257.0  Aug 07 patellar maltracking - more physio! Still pain - but so much better !
BIOMET AGC  TKR  (with 10 yr warranty !)

Offline rozzzie

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Re: Running and Osteoarthritis
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2008, 02:36:05 PM »
If your knees are perfectly aligned, and in good shape. "sports injuries often occur as a result of dysfunctions in balance or the musculoskeletal system operating in nonneutral mechanics" Your OA may be a result of your knees not being aligned properly. "Human studies show an increase in radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis in endurance sports athletes, but no related increase in symptoms reported"  The amount of OA is not always related to the amount of pain.  I ran and did karate for years and have recently had TKRs.  According to my husband who as a Masters of Edcuation in PE and other areas; there are only a few people who are really built for running .

If you decide to run stop if your knees hurt and don't start again.

Good luck

Rozzzie

The quotes are fromm the first paragraph of the article you gave the link to.
OA of knees since 85 
93 scrambled ankle - PE
98 PE
99 anlke fusion
04 hit by car broken leg, ribs AC joint seperation
RTKR  Dec 1 2005
LTKR. IM rod removal March 16, 2006

Offline kathat

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Re: Running and Osteoarthritis
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2008, 09:03:15 AM »
From what I can gather, the article mentions running as not increasing the risk of OA occurring in an otherwise healthy joint, rather than being good for OA once established. Once OA has begun, the joint cartilage loses it's ability to cushion the joint properly (part of the disease process) so running has a much more negative impact on a joint with OA. If knees are healthy then MODERATE running is a good exercise to keep the knee joints healthy, but once injured then running is pretty much going to cause further damage at a faster rate than most other forms of exercise, and the article implies as much in it's conclusion (that a history of injury is more likely to cause OA or disability). Very few doctors or therapists will come out and tell you outright not to do something, as their job is only to advise, so the suggestion that running is probably not right for you is basically their way of telling you that you shouldn't be doing it. If you ask a more direct question then you may get a more direct answer - so ask if running is something you should avoid, or ask if running is likely to cause more rapid joint deterioration, and see what answer you get. I don't mean to be so down on your favourite activity, but you are risking a lot if you choose to run against medical advise. TKRs don't last as long in younger people and you could face a future of TKRs and endless revisions, when instead you could modify your activity now and keep active for a lot longer (just in a different way). Think long and hard and get lots of advise before continuing running.

Kathy

Offline north_north_west

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Re: Running and Osteoarthritis
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2008, 06:49:14 PM »
Thanks for all your input.  Kathy, I did understand what the Drs were saying, I just didn't like it.

For those who have TKR, can you run on those?  Just looking to the (hopefully distant) future...


Offline jathib

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Re: Running and Osteoarthritis
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2008, 07:42:36 PM »
You can run on a TKR if you want to destroy it, otherwise you will be told that high impact sports are out of the picture forever. The purpose of a TKR is to relieve pain and allow normal activities. It is not designed to return you to high impact sports. Don't bother having the surgery if you're planning to keep running.

Offline UK Girl !

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Re: Running and Osteoarthritis
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2008, 08:58:41 PM »
my os was quite explicit

gym work
doubles tennis
swimming
walking

thats about it - not even jogging on treadmill

all low impact
1978 - ruptured acl and all cartalidge removed.
several debridements over years
TKR 10TH JULY 2006 http://www.kneeguru.co.uk/KNEEtalk/index.php?topic=28257.0  Aug 07 patellar maltracking - more physio! Still pain - but so much better !
BIOMET AGC  TKR  (with 10 yr warranty !)

Offline kathat

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Re: Running and Osteoarthritis
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2008, 09:47:17 PM »
Considering that just the extra many thousand steps a younger person takes in the course of their daily lives causes their TKRs to deteriorate quicker, I would steer clear of any running and baby that sucker for all it's worth (once you have one). Revision is not a light undertaking! I know it sucks to have to give up a favourite activity - been there, done that - but I really wouldn't want to be stuck in a wheelchair just when I'm retiring because no further TKR revisions are possible. You'll find something you enjoy doing instead of running. I have discovered things I never would have thought I'd enjoy because I was forced to slow down and rethink my activities. Grieve for your loss and move on, so you don't become bitter and resentful. Good luck in finding something new to do. I dare you to try something REALLY different (eg I played wheelchair basketball when I had to give up tennis. I chose it because I worked with spinal injured patients and knew some other people who played. Anybody could play, wheelchair bound or not. It was a hoot, and a great talking point). Take care.

Kathy

Offline jathib

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Re: Running and Osteoarthritis
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2008, 01:20:26 AM »
Mountain biking is a great alternate activity if you want some fun. My doctor told me it was okay after my PKR. All I have to do is make sure I don't push too hard. I stick to easy trails and if it's too steep I just walk. It's great for an outing in the woods and an excellent way to exercise.

Offline slyguy1

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Re: Running and Osteoarthritis
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2008, 03:22:15 AM »
Hey there...i was also a runner....recreational like 5 miles 3 times a week. I loved running and wish that i could run again but after microfracture i was forced to stop running. Like everyone was saying i did find other forms of cardio (elliptical and bike) to take its place. Of course as a runner it is never the same. It's been about 2 years since my surgery and i have good and bad days. If you still have enough cartlige and all else is intact you can still run but with added precautions....change to running on a treadmill for less impact...and evaluate any bio-mechanical issues and most important keep the weight down which was my biggest problem and still is. I lifted weights and got bigger which puts more impact on joints.It's unfortunate that some of us are genetically inclined to degenerate faster than others who are out there running at 90. For now, i pray that technology will someday fix knee issues to a point where running 2-3 miles will be allowed at minimal risk....good luck