Joggers are less likely to experience knee and hip osteoarthritis compared to sedentary individuals and competitive runners, says a study.
As such running at a recreational level for up to 15 years - and possibly more - may be safely recommended as a general health exercise, according to the study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy.
"The principal finding in this study is that, in general, running is not associated with osteoarthritis," said lead author Eduard Alentorn-Geli from the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, US.
"The novel finding in our investigation is the increased association between running and arthritis in competitive, but not in recreational runners," Alentorn-Geli said.
The international team of researchers in Spain, Sweden, Canada and the US aimed to evaluate the association of hip and knee osteoarthritis with running and to explore the influence of running intensity and years of exposure on that association.
The researchers did a systematic review of several studies investigating the relationship between running and arthritis of these weight-bearing joints. The studies involved a total of 114,829 people.
Runners were considered "competitive" if they were identified themselves as professional/elite athletes or participated in international competitions.
Recreational runners were those individuals who ran in a nonprofessional, or amateur, context.
They found that only 3.5 per cent of recreational runners developed hip or knee arthritis. This was true for both male and female runners.
Remaining sedentary and forgoing running for exercise was associated with a rate of knee and hip arthritis of 10.2 per cent, while training and running competitively increases the incidence of arthritis in these joints to 13.3 per cent, the findings showed.