Osteoarthritis is known as the degeneration of articular cartilage within a specific joint. In the runner’s world, the most common type of arthritis is the knee due to the high amount of impact that running puts on the knee joint. Although osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative condition, there are many ways to preserve the cartilage you currently have while managing pain.

Try cross training . We all know that running regularly provides many physical and mental benefits , but long duration high impact activities will only put more stress on the hip and knees of a person with osteoarthritis. Try alternating running with lower impact activities like cycling, swimming, and the elliptical machine.

Add a stretching regimen. Although some runners stretch religiously, most runners admit that they often skip this crucial step to maintaining flexibility. Add stretches that improve the flexibility of your quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, and the IT band.

Try a knee brace . Some runners report relief from knee pain with the use of a neoprene knee sleeve or brace. If you find that running is becoming particularly more difficult to perform, consider speaking to a physical therapist and medical doctor for brace recommendations.

Try physical therapy . Physical therapy will work to improve the range of motion, flexibility, strength, and stability of the knee joint to improve your shelf life as a runner so that you can continue achieving that “runner’s high”. Fusion Physical Therapy and Sports Performance has offices at Chelsea Piers and Tribeca with physical therapists familiar with osteoarthritis management and treatment.

Speak with a Medical Doctor.  A medical doctor will provide you with options to manage your osteoarthritis using prescribed medication, cortico-steroid shots, and/or possible surgery options.

Try incorporating some of these tips to keep doing what you love. Happy trails!