Is running bad for my knees?
- Running is one of the most popular physical activities globally. Made attractive by its accessibility, time effectiveness and convenience, making it easy to get your heart pumping and get your sweat on.
- Running like most physical activity has been shown to provide numerous health benefits, both physically and mentally. In fact, runners have up to 40% reduced risk of premature mortality, and being physically active has been studied to prevent development of chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and depression.
- Despite all of the above benefits I frequently get asked if running will damage my knees?
- Every year more and more research demonstrates that not only is running not damaging for the knees but actually has a protective effect against development of Knee osteoarthritis (OA) compared with non-runners.
- However, as always there are a few exceptions – research is yet to understand the effects of running on the progression of knee OA. Secondly, in the case of Runners with a long history (>15 years) of training for high level competition, the risk of knee OA mirrors that of a non-runner.
So what should I do?
- If you are new to running there are a few important factors to consider to safely manage running load and progression
- Your own personal running load should be based on current activity levels, running experience and injury history. Careful progression of training loads, strength training, adequate recovery, quality of sleep and coaching are important considerations to reduce knee injury risk.
- Runners should understand that previous injury, surgery, High BMI, increased age and heavier occupational workloads increase the risk of Knee OA
- If these factors are relevant to you and in cases of pre-existing knee joint OA, runners should seek guidance of an experienced health professional for training advice specific to their individual circumstances.