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Is regular running good or bad for your knees?

Sep 11 2023

Running is a popular and much-loved pastime in Australia, with a vibrant community of runners across the country, from casual joggers to seasoned marathoners. 

Running has many benefits for our health, including improved fitness, stronger bones and muscles, and weight loss. However, there is much debate in whether regular running is good or bad for knee health. Regular running is often assumed to increase the risk of osteoarthritis of the knee. On the other hand, regular running may potentially improve knee health through increased blood flow and strengthening of muscles. 

Previous studies have investigated the effect of running on knee health, but they were too short to assess the long-term effects and have had conflicting findings, however, a new study being conducted by researchers at the University of Newcastle and HMRI hopes to expand on and improve this previous research. 

The NewRun study, a collaboration between HMRI’s Active Living and Infection Research Programs, aims to investigate the impact of regular running on knee health by extending the study follow-up duration to at least 5 years and focusing on outcomes beyond just running related injury, but also physical and mental health, cardiovascular health and more. 

“We’re hopeful this study can help us gain new insights and knowledge into the impact of regular running on knee health that will enable us to improve health recommendations for the wider community in the future” said lead investigator Professor Joshua Davis

Interested participants will need to have been running at least 5km per week (but no more than 50km a week) over the past 6 months, are a healthy adult aged between 30 – 65, and are willing to complete health questionnaires and have an annual MRI scan performed for at least 5 years at HMRI. 

Professor Josh Davis spoke with ABC Newcastle's Dan Cox and Jenny Marchant about the study here

Update (12/2/24) Recruitment is now compete for this study.