Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic, degenerative, and very disabling disease that gradually and progressively destroys articular cartilage in various regions: knees, hips, shoulders, hands, ankles and spine. In this sense, exercise has been described as the most recommended non-pharmacological intervention for patients with OA. Regular exercise is considered an integral component of the healthy lifestyle. However, its effect on cartilage remains the subject of debate and speculation, as well as the relationship between exercise and the development of OA. Some animal model studies suggest that exercise may be beneficial for cartilage health, while others demonstrate its harmful effect. A general explanation for these inconsistent results is that running at moderate intensity has beneficial effects, while running "vigorously" or "strenuously" leads to a harmful effect. The aim of this work was to make a literature review about the effects of exercise on cartilage, especially focused on ex- perimental animal models with rats.
KEY WORDS: Osteoarthritis; Exercise; Rats; Morphology.