Running With Arthritis
As we know running is an excellent form of exercise that offers numerous health benefits, such as improving cardiovascular health, strengthening bones, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. However, for individuals with arthritis, running can be a challenge. In this article, we look at the different types of arthritis, their causes, how they affect runners, as well as some tips for continuing running with arthritis.
Different Types of Arthritis
Arthritis is a term used to describe inflammation of the joints. There are over 100 types of arthritis, but the most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
- Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that results from wear and tear on the joints. It commonly affects the hips, knees, and hands.
- Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints. It commonly affects the hands, feet, and wrists.
What Causes Arthritis?
The causes of arthritis vary depending on the type of arthritis. For osteoarthritis, the main causes include aging, injury, and obesity. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Effects of Arthritis and Diagnoses
Arthritis can affect you as a runner in several ways. It can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints, which can make it difficult to run. Additionally, arthritis can increase the risk of injury, particularly in the knees and hips.
If you suspect that you have arthritis, you should see a doctor. The doctor will perform a physical examination, take a medical history, and order diagnostic tests such as X-rays, MRI, and blood tests.
How to Continue Running With Arthritis
If you have arthritis and want to continue running, there are some things you can do to reduce pain and prevent further damage to your joints:
Wear the Right Shoes: Choose shoes that provide good support and cushioning to reduce the impact on your joints.
Warm-up and Cool-down: Always warm up before your run with stretching exercises to loosen your muscles and joints. After your run, cool down with gentle stretching exercises.
Gradual Increase: Start with shorter distances and gradually increase your mileage to avoid putting too much stress on your joints.
Cross-Train: Incorporate other low-impact exercises, such as swimming or cycling, to reduce the impact on your joints.
Listen to Your Body: If you experience pain during a run, stop and take a break. It's better to take a break than to risk further injury.