July 10 2018
Joints can crack naturally or from manipulation—but is this cracking doing more harm than good?
It’s called post-traumatic osteoarthritis and, based on a recent study by orthopedists and rehabilitation specialists at the University of Iowa, it affects roughly 27 million Americans. If your first thought after sustaining an injury is How fast can I get back to running?, you may want to ask some different questions about rehabilitation and recovery.
The study focuses on joint injuries–as in, injuries to the all-important ankles or knees. Most runners are tempted to take the shortest route of rehabilitation possible so we can get back to our favorite pastime quickly, but research shows this is unwise. Adequate recovery (read: plenty of time off) coupled with strengthening the supporting muscles around the injured joint are critical to not only reducing your risk of re-injury but of developing osteoarthritis in the future.
If you think this article is only for the “master” athlete crowd, think again. As explained in a recent article about the study published by The New York Times, “When an adolescent or young adult sustains a knee injury, for example, X-ray evidence of arthritis is often apparent within a decade.”
According to a paper published in the Journal of Athletic Training, osteoarthritis (a degenerative joint disease) is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. that’s related to mobility. Due to the continuous rise in this country’s obesity rates, its aging population and the rise of joint-related injuries in Americans, the existence of osteoarthritis symptoms in patients is expected to double by 2020.
Not all running-related joint injuries can be prevented. However, keeping the following guidelines in mind can certainly help: