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Phys Ed: Do Marathons Wreck Your Knees?

from The New York Times

About this time every year, with the fall marathon season at its zenith, racers in training begin to hear the refrain, ‘‘You are going to ruin your knees.’’ The idea that distance running inexorably leads to arthritis is deeply entrenched, despite the publication of a number of recent studies (detailed in a Phys Ed column last year) that have found otherwise. In one representative experiment, the knees of experienced marathoners, with multiple races behind them, were scanned with magnetic resonance imaging technology, and then scanned again 10 years later.

The runners’ knees were and remained robust throughout that time, with few significant cartilage abnormalities. The only truly unhealthy knee in the study belonged to a former marathoner, who had quit the sport. In the years since he stopped running, his joint had deteriorated badly. more


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