HOW many times have you been told by non-athletes that running is bad for your knees?

Now, you can retort that it categorically is not, thanks to a major new study in Arthritis Care and Research, the journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

Although the researchers, who were based at four US hospitals, hypothesised that “a history of leisure running may increase the risk for knee symptoms and ROA [radiographic evidence of arthritis], even at lower levels”, the results of their trial involving 2637 participants, all of whom underwent knee X-rays, suggested otherwise.

Eight years into the Osteoarthritis Initiative study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and several pharmaceutical companies, each of the volunteers was given a questionnaire about their activity habits. Almost 30 per cent had participated in some running at some point in their life.

“A history of leisure running is not associated with increased odds of prevalent knee pain, ROA, or SOA [symptoms of arthritis]. In fact, for knee pain, there was a dose-dependent inverse association with runners,” they concluded.

  • This article was first published in Athletics Weekly. For more of the latest running and athletics news, plus performance features and much more, grab a copy of the magazine or check out