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I had been told that doing exercise like squats, running, jumping, etc will cause knee injury when we age.

As we do those exercise we are rubbing the soft bone together and as time passes the soft bone will degenerate due to use.

I wonder if it is true. I have been doing a lot of leg exercise recently and do not wish to have problems when I grow older.

This is a point I read when looking through websites:

Cartilage in the knee begins to break down and leaves the bones of the knee rubbing against each other as you walk. Persons who work in a place that applies repetitive stress on the knees are at a high risk of developing this condition.

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

Here is some of the the best available evidence regarding knee problems and osteoarthritis (OA):

  1. Virtually all activities require weight bearing will put stress on the knee joints
  2. Activities and sports that will put more stress on the knees are (football, jumping, long distance running, soccer, and any other sports that require constant cutting, pivoting and changing direction constantly).
  3. Moderation of walking, swimming and biking are some of the best exercises to do for OA and to prevent OA.

Prevention and treatment:

  1. The best way to prevent OA is of course to not overtraining (whether from weight training or from sports).
  2. The second best way to prevent OA is to make sure to listen to your body, in this case it's your knee (pain around the knee joint) is the first sign of overtraining.
  3. The third best way to prevent OA is to make sure you have strong and balanced muscular system, especially the quads, hamstring, hip abduction and of course the core muscles.
  4. The fourth best way to prevent OA is to have proper nutrition. There are some studies out there saying that glucosamine can help in the long run.

Don't forget that genetics also have a role of this. Also, overweight (obesity) is perhaps one of the main causes of chronic and gradual OA of all joints, especially the knees.

Here are all of the scientific evidence regarding OA:

  1. Everything you need to know about knee OA http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/pdf/CG59NICEguideline.pdf
  2. Facts about knee OA http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Knee_Problems/knee_problems_ff.pdf
  3. Knee OA prevention http://arthritis-research.com/content/pdf/ar3113.pdf

Hope this helps!

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Aggressive games such as basketball, football definitely tend to do wear and tear to knees.

Feel your knee. There are very few muscles at the knee. Minimal muscles at the knee means you cant strengthen the knee. So any stress you don't feel on your calf or thigh muscles goes directly to the knee joint.

Water intake and proper nutrition keeps the cartilage in knee joint intact and helps it last longer.

There is a downside to excess of everything. That includes excess strain on knees. Do exercises which strengthen your thigh and calf muscles. If your thigh and calf muscles are strong the pressure exerted on joint bone is less. Things like climbing stairs, squats will feel easier as well.

In short, make the muscles around knees strong. Strong thighs and calves are your best bet towards saving your knees from constant strain.

Swimming by the way is one of the best forms of exercise. It exerts just the right muscles and just doesn't do any kind of harm to the joints.

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Any kind of exercise COULD cause an injury, and swimming is no different. With swimming, you tend to see more shoulder problems. –  DavidR Apr 10 '13 at 17:38
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