Running is not bad for your knees. However, running can damage your knees, hips, shins and/or ankles if your running form is incorrect, your muscles are not strong enough for the distances you cover, or if you already suffer from chronic illnesses such as arthritis.
Anywhere you go, you’ll see runners of all ages in some sort of athletic gear with their headphones playing away. Love them or hate them, as long as people choose to be fit, the runners will always be there! Running is a great way to burn calories, lose weight, and stay healthy. You can gain therapeutic benefits from the exercise. Get involved in competitions, running communities, etc. So what’s the downside? Does running affect your joints? The repetitive impact force from pounding the ground when running must cause damage to your hips, knees, and ankles, right? Let’s examine the facts.
Short Distances vs Long Distance Running
From an evolutionary standpoint, evidence suggests humans were meant to run for short, intense stretches when hunting down larger animals. We are not equipped to run at a high stamina pace for hours at a time. But, we can adapt our bodies to withstand the impact that comes with long distance running. While running shorter distances is better for your long-term health, it won’t kill you if you decide to do a marathon here and there.
There is a way to run correctly, believe it or not. You need to keep your body aligned, back straight, hips stable, knees low, and lightly land on the middle of your foot. This is a skill that most people have not mastered. It takes an external viewpoint to really see what you’re doing right and more importantly, what you’re doing wrong. So, find a friend to record you running from multiple angles and analyze your technique. How high do your knees come up? Do your feet point outwards, inwards or straight? Getting your technique correct is essential to prevent injury.
Prepping your body for longer distances
There are a million different training regimens to help prep you for a big race, whether it be a 5k, marathon, Iron Man, etc. When selecting a plan, you need to understand where you are at physically. If the furthest you’ve ever run is 3 miles, then 90 percent of the plans for marathons are not for you. To avoid injury, you need to take things slow and build up to longer distances. You do get better by pushing your limits. But, you need to be careful when running, since so many muscles are involved and a lot of impact goes into the sport.
If you already suffer from chronic illnesses such as arthritis, see a specialist. The team at Joint Regenomics focuses on reducing pain and improving the function of the knee. Our goal is to help individuals who are fighting knee pain achieve a more active lifestyle through a minimally invasive procedure that aims to treat the damage done by arthritis. For more information about if stem cell therapy is right for you, contact Joint Regenomics.