Managing Painful Joints and Running

There are many reasons for runners developing painful joints;

·      Osteoarthritis (OA) is a wear-and-tear condition that occurs when cartilage breaks down over time. OA can affect all joints for example knees, hips, ankles, feet, elbows, hands

·      A friction issue between muscles/tendons and bones e.g. tendinopathy

·      Torn cartilage or inflammation

·      Muscle imbalance 

 Today we will focus our discussion on Osteoarthritis;

1.    What may be contributing to the development of OA and who is at risk of developing OA?

2.    Will running increase the progression of OA or make the symptoms worse?

3.    Our Food Plan TIPS and Exercise considerations to help you.

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An Overview of Osteoarthritis


Typical Signs and Symptoms


The RISK FACTORS for developing osteoarthritis 


The prevalence of Osteoarthritis in the general population.


Is there a prevalence of osteoarthritis in endurance runners?


Being a healthy runner may help you modify risk factors for the development of osteoarthritis.


Will running increased the progression of osteoarthritis? And if you have Osteoarthritis should you consider stop running?


Reviewing the finding of study – 2019 Paper published in BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine – they posed a question … Can marathon running improve knee damage of middle-aged adults? A prospective cohort study 


Reviewing the findings of a 2018 study Running Does Not Increase Symptoms or Structural Progression in People with Knee Osteoarthritis: Data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative


Food to help modify risk factors for Osteoarthritis and manage progression of the condition

Our Food Plan TIPS to help you, starting with the Mediterranean Diet.


Our Food Plan TIPS to help you – using healthy fats.


Our Food Plan TIPS to help you support Gut Microbiome.


Exercise and running considerations



1.    There are many reasons for painful joints including OA, friction issues, damage to tendons or muscle imbalances – consult with an exercise specialist to identify the root cause of your pain.

2.    OA is Osteoarthritis is a chronic, progressive joint disease which is influenced by many environmental factors including diet, body composition, metabolic health conditions.

3.    Under the direction of your exercise specialist or coach it may be possible to maintain a supportive running schedule which may promote aspects of musculoskeletal health and help alleviate symptoms of pain and dysfunction and degeneration.

4.    A runner should include injury prevention exercises that target those areas of which are more susceptible to damage.

5.    Evidence suggests that following an Anti-Inflammatory Mediterranean Food Plan, including a balance of Omega 3:6 fatty acids plus a wide range of vegetables and whole foods will help to reduce the development of OA.

 Just a final note there are so many other nutritional aspects supportive of musculoskeletal health relating to our topic today, unfortunately we couldn’t cover them all but perhaps we may cover specific nutrients and supplements in future episodes.

 Related Topics:

Bone Health Part 1

Bone Health Part 2

Nutrition For Running Injury



The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and

advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment.

If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact

your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.

Aileen Smith and Karen Campbell met at as nutrition students (Institute for Optimum Nutrition, London) and became lifelong friends and nutritional buddies! Both have a love of running and a passion for nutrition, delicious food and healthy living.

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Aileen and Karen