The health of adults' longitudinal observational study (HALO)
Sport and exercise are the most obvious forms of physical activity and recreational running is one of the most popular pastimes in the UK. The beneficial impact on overall health and well being provided by such activities is well documented. The vast majority of individuals who complete low and moderate intensity activity are at no greater risk of osteoarthritis and the health benefits far outweigh the risks of injury or illness resulting from participation.
Despite this, as knee osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes of disability, greater understanding of the potential relationship between running and the condition is necessary through greater research.
The conclusions of previous research suggest that recreational running is not a risk factor but this is based on few athletes, therefore further work is necessary with a larger study population. Many risk factors for knee osteoarthritis have been previously identified amongst the sporting population but the interaction of these is often complex. Many individuals hold the belief that regular running will have a detrimental effect on their joints, particularly the knees. Additionally, in an ageing society, with increasing obesity and sedentary lifestyles, it is clear that a greater understanding in this area would be beneficial to the overall population.
What the research hopes to achieve
This research aims to evaluate individuals who participate regularly in recreational running and the development of knee osteoarthritis over time. By following a population of runners over a number of years, we seek to assess how factors such as volume of running and injury impact on joint health. In doing so, it is hoped that novel clinical practices may be highlighted and developed.