Running and your knees; science meets the belief that impact destroys your knees.

  • Share:
  • facebook
  • linkedin
  • twitter
If you run and have been told that running is bad for your knees, you are not alone. Some of us as we get older cannot not handle the impact as well as we used to but new evidence suggests that running may improve the quality of the cartridge in your knees. True, some of us do poorly with impact, but the reasons for this may have less to do with one size fits all running dogma. If you are a long term reader of this blog, you will have no doubt read some of our posts that suggest that knee pain with running has to do with body mechanics, running habits and overall body ergonomics. Many runners I've treated participated in multiple marathons, yet continue to run into their 60's and 70's without destroying their knees.   Others have many problems in their knees even without running hundreds of miles yearly. People who experience knee pain often buy into the myth of the specialist (usually an orthopedic doctor) who will look at the knee while ignoring the feet, hips and pelvis as well as the upper body.   This approch to care has been shown to result in unnecessary tests and surgeries of little or no clinical benefit. A primary care approach to body mechanics is essential to understanding knee pain.   This role is best suited to sports chiropractors who will use a holistic full body approach to evaluation to understand why you experience knee pain.    Just a simple squat during an exam can be quite revealing as to why your knees ache.   Running will often worsen these conditions.   To get the best advice and understanding of why you have knee pain, seeing a chiropractor can save your knees from irrepairable damage over the years if addressed early enough in life. A recent study does show that running may improve the quality of the cartiledge in your knee according to a NY Times article.  True, running will impact your knees but more true, it may not do the type of damage we previously believed.

Why Running Won’t Ruin Your Knees

Running pummels knees more than walking does, but in the process it may fortify and bulk up cartilage, helping stave off knee arthritis.

By Gretchen Reynolds Published Oct. 21, 2020 Could running actually be good for your knees? That idea is at the heart of a fascinating new study of the differing effects of running and walking on the knee joint. Using motion capture and sophisticated computer modeling, the study confirms that running pummels knees more than walking does. But in the process, the authors conclude, running likely also fortifies and bulks up the cartilage, the rubbery tissue that cushions the ends of bones. The findings raise the beguiling possibility that, instead of harming knees, running might fortify them and help to stave off knee arthritis. Of course, the notion that running wrecks knees is widespread and entrenched. Almost anyone who runs is familiar with warnings from well-meaning, nonrunning family members, friends and strangers that their knees are doomed. Read more