Running Does Not Put Knees At Risk - Sitting Around For 30 Minutes Will!
It is a common belief that running puts the knees at risk by deteriorating the cartilage and even causing arthritis. A new study shed light that running may change the biochemistry of the knees to give protection against inflammation and arthritis.
The study titled "Running decreases Knee Intra-Articular Cytokine and Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Concentrations: A Pilot Study" from Brigham Young University gathered 15 runners who are under 30 years old without history of knee injury or arthritis.
They looked into the proteins and cells in the knee fluid which is associated with inflammation. They were then monitored after 30 minutes of running, sitting and non-knee intensive exercise.
All subjects were able to complete the running and sitting session on separate days. However, due to the difficulty of extraction process, the researchers were able to get samples from six runners only. The researchers siphoned a small amount of synovial fluid from the subject's right knee. Healthy knees usually contain a minimal amount, while unhealthy or arthritic knees contain much more.
The researchers were stunned with the result after half an hour of running. It was enough to reduce the risk factors of inflammation in the knees. In fact, the longer the person runs, the lesser the risk. Non-knee intensive exercises like elliptical and cycling has not effect at all. However, just sitting around for the same number of minutes increases the risk.
A shift in cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) was found after running. The substance seemed to have transferred from the synovial fluid to the blood. COMP is a marker of worsening arthritis. People with arthritis usually have five times more COMP in the synovial fluid than those with healthy knees.
Lead author Robert Hyldahl admits that the study is very small and short term. He hopes to repeat the study with larger number of subjects to fully establish the effects of running to people's knees.