Many individuals keep away from operating as a result of they assume it’ll wreck their knees. 

Is operating as detrimental as they imagine, or can it really profit knee well being?

Get an evidence-based reply on this article.


Is Operating Dangerous For Your Knees?

Many individuals assume “pounding the pavement” regularly wears away the cartilage in your knees. 

They imagine this results in a situation known as osteoarthritis (or “put on and tear” arthritis), the place your bones don’t glide over one another as simply as they as soon as did, inflicting stiffness and ache in your knees

Analysis reveals this assumption might be improper. 

As an example, in a research revealed within the American Journal of Preventive Medication, researchers adopted long-distance runners and non-runners for 18 years. Utilizing a collection of x-rays taken all through the research, the researchers discovered no connection between operating and osteoarthritis within the knees. 

In truth, the outcomes confirmed that non-runners had been extra prone to develop knee arthritis (32%) in comparison with runners (20%).

Equally, a meta-analysis of 25 research revealed in The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports activities Bodily Remedy discovered that leisure runners are much less seemingly than aggressive runners and sedentary of us to develop osteoarthritis. 

In different phrases, reasonable operating appears to have fewer long-term repercussions than operating rather a lot or under no circumstances.

Different research counsel operating enhances knee well being. 

In a research revealed within the journal PeerJ, scientists analyzed the motion mechanics of twenty-two individuals. By way of their evaluation, the scientists discovered that operating is probably going extra damaging in your knee cartilage than strolling. 

It’s value noting that this research additionally didn’t really analyze the consequences on operating on knee cartilage over time—it solely estimated what impact operating would have based mostly on biomechanical patterns.

What’s extra, in addition they discovered that operating seems to strengthen the bone and cartilage in your knees, probably making it a internet constructive. 

In one other research, researchers at College Faculty London scanned the knees of 71 individuals gearing as much as prepare for his or her first marathon. The scans confirmed that, regardless of having little operating expertise, the first-time marathoners confirmed indicators of early-stage knee arthritis. 

Put up-race scans of the marathoners’ knees revealed that their knee joints and cartilage had notably improved from the beginning of the trial. Nevertheless, some runners started exhibiting indicators of a special sort of cartilage injury. 

To discover whether or not the operating had brought about this new injury, the researchers carried out a follow-up research, through which they scanned the runners’ knees once more 6 months post-race. In the interim, the runners had continued to run, although not as a lot as that they had main as much as and through the marathon.

The scans confirmed that the marathoners’ knees had been considerably higher than that they had been within the weeks following the race, main the authors to conclude that operating might assist scale back osteoarthritis danger over the long run.

A evaluation of 43 research revealed in Sports activities Medication gives additional evident operating advantages knee cartilage. 

On this research, researchers discovered that cartilage warps instantly after operating, however rebounds quickly after. Furthermore, it seems to adapt to repeated operating by changing into stronger, thicker, and extra resilient to compression.

In different phrases, operating appears to have an effect on cartilage in a lot the identical manner weight coaching impacts muscle tissue: briefly weakening and “damaging” it, however in a manner that makes it stronger and more healthy over time.

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Frequent Knee Accidents from Operating

Whereas operating seemingly isn’t dangerous to your knee well being in the long run, it can lead to knee accidents, notably for novices.

Right here‘s methods to determine and deal with probably the most widespread operating accidents.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) is a typical operating harm brought on by extreme friction of the iliotibial band (a thick band of connective tissue operating from the hip to the knee) in opposition to the outer a part of the knee joint. 

Runners usually expertise a pointy, burning ache or tightness on the surface of the knee that worsens with operating or descending stairs or slopes.

To handle ITBS, it might probably assist to take non-steroidal antiinflammatory medicine (NSAIDs) and apply ice to the affected space. This doesn’t really assist the affected tissue heal, however it does make the ache extra manageable within the quick time period. To actually heal the harm, you want to cease operating till your knee feels higher (usually at the least 1-to-2 weeks, however presumably a number of months). While you return to operating, begin with quick, sluggish runs and regularly enhance your distance and tempo.

Patellofemoral Ache Syndrome

Generally generally known as “runner’s knee,” patellofemoral ache syndrome presents as ache in or across the kneecap. 

Runners with this syndrome might expertise sore knees throughout operating, squatting, climbing stairs, or after sitting for extended intervals. 

To handle this situation, relaxation, apply ice to the knee, take anti-inflammatory treatment, and strengthen the muscular tissues across the knee with leg workout routines. And once more—cease operating till the ache goes away, and regularly reintroduce it.

Patellar Tendonitis

Patellar tendonitis, or “jumper’s knee,” presents as ache within the tendon connecting the kneecap to the shinbone. 

It’s widespread amongst runners and individuals who play sports activities involving leaping. 

Individuals with patellar tendonitis usually really feel ache just under the kneecap. This discomfort usually turns into worse should you run, soar, or climb stairs. 

Remedy for patellar tendonitis entails relaxation, icing, compressing, and elevating the affected space, taking NSAIDs, and strengthening the quads.


Bursitis within the knee is irritation of the small fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that cushion the knee joint, resulting in ache and swelling across the knee. 

In runners, bursitis is often as a result of overuse (doing an excessive amount of, too quickly). Remedy usually entails relaxation, ice utility, and NSAIDs. In additional extreme circumstances, a healthcare skilled may drain the bursa or prescribe bodily remedy, however this typically isn’t needed within the case of overuse accidents associated to bursitis.

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How one can Forestall Knee Ache From Operating

The 2 greatest methods to scale back your danger of knee accidents from operating are:

And listed below are two extra strategies that may scale back your danger of knee accidents, however aren’t nicely supported scientifically: 

  • Enhance your operating kind: Scientists nonetheless debate what “good” operating kind means, however most agree it’s a talent that may be improved over time with follow. That mentioned, most analysis reveals one of the simplest ways to enhance your operating kind is to easily run extra and let your physique work out the remaining. Making an attempt to intentionally change your operating approach with cues and different methods backfires as a rule, making you slower and fewer environment friendly.  

A number of adjustments which will happen as you get higher at operating are that you simply’ll maintain a extra upright posture, you’ll shorten your stride, and start to land in your midfoot or fore-foot as a substitute of your heel. (Although once more, this received’t look or really feel the identical for everybody). 

  • Select the suitable trainers: Carrying comfy trainers can scale back your danger of harm, however what’s comfy for others could also be very totally different for you. Whereas it’s most likely a good suggestion to run in probably the most minimal footwear you’ll be able to, in the end what issues most is that they’re comfy throughout runs.

+ Scientific References