Is Exercise Damaging Your Joints?

25/10/2010 10:21 | Updated 22 May 2015

Flickr, wolleydog

Hardly a day goes by without health experts preaching about the need for people to do more exercise. But being active could be putting your joints at risk, say scientists from Arthritis Research UK.

According to the charity's report - carried out in conjunction with The Institute of Sport and Exercise Medicine - more than half of people who work out or take part in sports on a regular basis have sustained common injuries such as a sprained or torn ligament, or a broken bone.

However 10 or 20 years later such injuries can come back to haunt you, say the experts. That's because they can create osteoarthritic changes in the joints. And these, combined with natural wear and tear (which may be higher if you exercise a lot) can lead to damaged joints, inflammation, pain and stiffness as you get older.

Apparently knee injuries are particularly to blame, with studies suggesting around half of people who sustain one of the two most common types of knee injuries go on to develop arthritis. That's not good news, since knee injuries account for around half of all sports injuries.

So where exercise is concerned, it seems you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

According to the experts, doing regular muscle-strengthening exercises will help reduce your risk of having an injury, even if you only play sport for fun. If you're not sure what exercises to do, a session with a personal trainer or a physiotherapist could put you on the right path.

Have you ever had a sports injury? Are you worried it might lead to problems when you're older?

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