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Fact or Fiction: Running Leads to Knee Deterioration


If you’re a runner, you’ve probably have heard – from non-runners – about how running can lead to knee deterioration. Many people are afraid to start exercise running because of this very reason!

Research done by Eliza Chakravarty at Stanford University compared 45 runners and 53 non-runners over a period of 18 years. The research shows that runners have less chance of suffering from knee deterioration than non-runners (20% to 32%). Furthermore, research done by David Felson (Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Boston University), using 1,279 subjects, also shows that there is no correlation between running and knee deterioration.

However, in 2013 there was some ground-breaking research published; it is research which elevates previous studies to even greater heights! In this new research, Paul Williams (guest scientist in the Life Sciences Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) compared 74,752 runners to 14,625 people who exercise by walking. The results show that those who run more than 2 kilometers per day have less chance of suffering from knee deterioration and needing a hip replacement! The runners also experienced less health problems than those who exercise by walking. Instead, the research shows that knee deterioration is closely linked to being overweight. Most runners are in shape, therefore, knee deterioration is not a common problem. However, studies show that runners who participate in other forms of exercise have a higher chance of suffering from knee issues, although the research does not specify which types of exercise these are.

From these studies, we can conclude that running does not lead to knee deterioration. Furthermore, running can also prevent you from other illnesses and health problems!


  1. NCBI – Effects of running and walking on osteoarthritis and hip replacement risk. Available from:  Accessed on October 20, 2015.
  2. NCBI – Long distance running and knee osteoarthritis: A prospective study. Available from: Accessed on October 20, 2015.
  3. NCBI – Effects of recreational physical activities on the development of knee osteoarthritis in older adults of different weights – the Framingham Study. Available from: Accessed on October 20, 2015.

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