In a recent article published in the American College of Sports Medicine's Sports & Science in Sports & Exercise, the author states that there is no evidence that running increases the risk of osteoarthritis, including participation in marathon races. In fact, subjects who logged moderate to higher mileage were at significantly lower risk for both arthritis and for hip replacement than were non-runners.
You see, it is not running that brings on arthritis. Carrying extra weight does. Of the more than 74,000 runners and 14,000 plus walkers followed in the study, those with a higher BMI (body mass index) were more likely to develop joint issues.
So, go ahead and lace up your running shoes, and start slowly if you must. In addition to being good for your joints, running is likely to be the most efficient exercise for burning calories.