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Exercise Concerns
September 2002

Q. Are there any medical statistics on damaging your knees by running and/or getting joint problems such as chondromalacia? U.S. agencies recommend a duration of moderate to high-intensity physical training for 30-45 minutes, preferably every day of the week. I would like to do that running. A colleague of mine states if I run an hour a day, by the time I'm seventy, I will need knee surgery. Do you have any statistics on that?

A. You are absolutely right about the recommendation for regular exercise as to the benefits to the heart, circulation, weight control, bone strength, and just plain feeling better. Many individuals can run for decades with no increased wear and tear on the knees, and there are several ;runners of advanced age in events such as the Boston Marathon every year.

If you are not having any joint problems, there is not any good evidence that you will wear out the joints prematurely. Chondromalacia is a specific overuse injury that can occur in susceptible people at any age and is not necessarily due to running too much. So keep up your training and seek medical care if you experience pain or other problems!

http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/agepages/exercise.htm

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4563

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