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Joint Loading in Runners Does Not Initiate Knee Osteoarthritis

Miller, Ross H.

Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews: April 2017 - Volume 45 - Issue 2 - p 87–95
doi: 10.1249/JES.0000000000000105
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Runners do not have a greater prevalence of knee osteoarthritis (OA) than nonrunners. The hypothesis that joint loads in running do not cause OA is forwarded. Two mechanisms are proposed: 1) cumulative load, which is surprisingly low in running, is more important for OA risk than peak load, and 2) running conditions cartilage to withstand the mechanical stresses of running.

Joint loading may protect runners from knee osteoarthritis through the mechanisms of 1) low cumulative load and/or 2) conditioning cartilage to withstand frequent application of high joint stresses.

Department of Kinesiology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD Neuroscience & Cognitive Science Program, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Address for correspondence: Ross H. Miller, Department of Kinesiology, 2134A School of Public Health Bldg, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20724 (E-mail:

Accepted for publication: January 10, 2017.

Associate Editor: Paul DeVita, Ph.D.

© 2017 American College of Sports Medicine