Osteoarthritis is the most common musculoskeletal condition in older people. Around a third of people aged 45 years and over in the UK, a total of 8.75 million people, suffer from the disease.
It may come as a surprise, but did you know running can actually improve knee arthritis? As running can facilitate weight loss, it means that stress on the joints is reduced as well as symptoms. However, before you get your running shoes on, there are a few considerations to make beforehand.
Ease Yourself in Gently
When you feel ready to run, make sure you take it slowly – listen to your body, don’t go in full throttle, build-up your pace and distance, and know when it’s time to stop. With that in mind, make sure you pay attention to any aches and pains too, especially any new pains that you haven’t felt before. If you get any new sensations, stop immediately and seek medical advice.
Preparation is Key
To ensure you lessen the impact on your joints, choose a good pair of dedicated running shoes and pick suitable surfaces like grass or gravel for a softer, more forgiving terrain under foot. After running, make sure that you stretch. This is a crucial part of the running routine that so many people seem to miss out. Stretching improves flexibility and loosens any tightening in the muscles.
If you feel like running is causing too much stress, especially if it’s something you’re practicing on a daily basis, it doesn’t mean your training regime has to suffer. Try alternating going for a run with lower impact activities. Try cycling or spin classes in the gym or swimming.
Seek Specialist Help
If you feel that your symptoms aren’t improving, talk to your GP about the possibility of an X-ray or MRI scan in order to fully assess your condition. Depending on the outcome, you may need to stop running for a while and possibly need some physiotherapy or in worst cases, surgery, first to relieve your symptoms. It’s really important to make sure that you get your symptoms properly diagnosed so that you can get the issue treated and carry on running.
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