Contrary to popular perception, running actually reduces inflammation in knee joints and slows the process that leads to osteoarthritis, a study said.
“This idea that long-distance running is bad for your knees might be a myth,” said study co-author Matt Seeley, Associate Professor of exercise science at Brigham Young University in Utah, US.
In the study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, the researchers measured inflammation markers in the knee joint fluid of several healthy men and women aged 18-35, both before and after running.
The researchers found that the specific markers they were looking for in the extracted synovial fluid — two cytokines named GM-CSF and IL-15 — decreased in concentration in the participants after 30 minutes of running.
When the same fluids were extracted before and after a non-running condition, the inflammation markers stayed at similar levels.
“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 study lead author Robert Hyldahl from Brigham Young University.
Hyldahl added the study results indicate running is chondroprotective, which means exercise may help delay the onset of joint degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis.