Study Finds Running Lowers Knee Joint Inflammation, Slows Osteoarthritis Development


Regular exercise especially running could help in managing joint disorders like osteoarthritis, reports a new study.

Changing lifestyle of people today has shown an increase in the number of cases of joint disorders. The most common problem is knee joint inflammation, which if left unattended may lead to development of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that may last for a lifetime. Though the condition is incurable, treatment can help ease joint pains, which includes regular exercise.

Running, A New Medicine To Reduce Knee Joint Inflammation

It is true that running causes little discomfort in joints and long-distance running is believed to be bad for knee health. However, the study conducted by exercise science professors at Brigham Young University (BYU) shows the molecules causing inflammation in the knee joints essentially reduce after running.

"This study does not indicate that distance runners are any more likely to get osteoarthritis than any other person," said study co-author Matt Seeley, in a press release. "Instead, this study suggests exercise can be a type of medicine."

Running Reduces Intra-Articular Cytokine And Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix

The study, published in European Journal of Applied Physiology, involved collecting the Synovial fluid (SF) and serum samples from knee joints of six healthy leisure runners, between the ages of 18 to 35, before and after they ran for a period of 30 minutes.

The results indicated that the inflammation causing cytokines, GM-CSF and IL-15, decreased in levels after running and remained at the same level in a non-running condition.

Running is found to decrease knee intra-articular pro-inflammatory cytokine concentration and aids the movement of COMP from the joint space to the serum, noted the study.

Exercising May Help Prevent Incurable Joint Diseases

The good news for people suffering from knee inflammation is that regular exercise can help them delay the beginning of degenerative joint diseases, like osteoarthritis.

The padding cartilage at the end of the bones tears down, resulting in bones to rub each other. Such extreme cases even require knee and hip replacement surgeries. The study suggests that exercises like walking and running can be fruitful solutions in postponing the initiation of such chronic diseases.

"What we now know is that for young, healthy individuals, exercise creates an anti-inflammatory environment that may be beneficial in terms of long-term joint health," said the study's lead author Robert Hyldahl, BYU assistant professor of exercise science.

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