Monday Myths — Does Running Hurt Your Knees?
There are many benefits to running … but there are also many myths about running that stop people from enjoying the benefits of it. One of the biggest myths is that running is bad for your knees..
The truth of the matter is … studies have shown that knee problems are a human problem … not more common or limited to runners. Some runners have knee issues and some non-runners have knee issues.
An article in Time reports research findings … after tracking 1,000 people, runners and non-runners, for over twenty years, they found that the runners’ knees were no more or less healthy than the nonrunners’ knees. Instead … the findings lend support to the theory that osteoarthritis … is caused mainly by genes and risk factors like obesity (obese men and women are at least four times as likely to become arthritic as their thinner peers)
An article in Runner’s World says that not only doesn’t exercise hurt knees, but it can make them healthier … When you exercise, the cartilage in your hips, knees, and ankles compresses and expands. This draws in oxygen and flushes out waste products, nourishing and keeping the cartilage healthy. “Without exercise, cartilage cells get weak and sick,” he says.
Both runners and non-runners need to take the same approach to help keep their knees healthy. Pain is our body’s way of talking to us. So if you have knee pain, don’t add to it … instead determine (by reading/medical advice/etc) why you have pain and, if possible, do something to help it. Runners may need to take a break from running … maybe bike for a time until the issue is resolved. Non-runners may need to begin running to keep their knees healthy and/or help lose extra pounds which is one of the biggest stresses on knees.
UPDATE: A day after I posted this, I came across this excellent broadcast on NPR’s Your Health “Put Those Shoes On: Running Won’t Kill Your Knees.”
Do and/or have you believed the myth that running is bad for knees? Are their any other supposed myths about running that you’ve wondered about?
If interested, a few posts about beginning to run … Pole by Pole Beginner’s Running Schedule I’ve studied both the myths and truths about running after almost losing my leg and my life in an accident and having my doctors tell me that running was a thing of my past. One step at a time… I returned to running and I feel better now than I ever imagined I would after all the injuries I had. My memoir, Because I Can contains my story of recovery. .