I can’t even begin to tell you how many times people have told me to reduce the number of miles I run because it’s super hard on your knees.  My own doctor even told me that!  I believed it for a while because I had major knee pain while I trained for my first half marathon and a long time afterwards as well.  I didn’t quite believe that running was directly contributing to my pain, so I conducted my own little experiment…I got fitted for running shoes and insoles.  Lo and behold the pain was gone.  Running itself wasn’t the culprit – my bad choice in shoes was.

And now there is research that proves the contrary as well.  NPR recently covered a story about how joggging, for the most part, is beneficial for the knees.  Researchers studied people with knee arthritis and found that these individuals were never really runners to begin with.  Also, when researchers studied runners and followed them over time, they found that their risk of developing osteoarthritis was no more than expected.  Both studies show that recreational running doesn’t increase the risk of arthritis. 

In fact, running is healthy for the joint and the surrounding cartilage.  It appears that exercise stimulates the cartilage and makes it stronger by increasing the creation of certain proteins.

Researchers have also found that as regular joggers aged, they were more inclined to participate in other forms of exercise like yoga, cycling, and walking.  These individuals actually tended to live longer than the non-joggers with a better quality of life.

Before you go and sign up for 3 marathons, I have to tell you about the noted caveat.  If you’ve suffered a knee injury, especially one that resulted in surgery, running can increase your risk of knee arthritis.  However, most doctors agree that running an eight to 10-minute mile pace for about 40 minutes a day is fine.  My personal view is that no one knows your body better than you do.  Please run responsibly!

Not quite what I was talking about... 🙂


Are you a runner?  Have you ever suffered from a running related injury? 

By Parita

16 thoughts on “Easy on Your Knees”
  1. i’ve been told this countles number of times (I’ve had 3 knee surgeries)..i’ve researched other studies that show that running is GOOD for arthritis and your joints-love those kinds of studies;)

  2. What an informative post! I’m not a runner so this really isn’t something I would have to worry about but I didn’t know it would strain out the knees so much 😮

  3. My knees have run so many miles in my life. Among this 600 km in one month (a Nike+ project), several 1 or 2 day long adventure races, several full marathons, 24h runs…they bring we everywhere i wish. I’ve been a runner since my childhood, in the first grade of primary school i was already among the best ones, and i wouldn’t run any more in my spare time than other children. I believe all exercise in moderation is beneficial for our knees. All exageration is bad. A half marathon every day for 30 days in a row is bad. I had mild pain afterwards in my knees and blisters. But the feeling was awesome, my body felt awesome too.

  4. Running was not beneficial for my knees unfortunately, and now, years later I find that I can run 1-2 times every 1-2 weeks, if I’m lucky! Otherwise it’s walking for me all the way. I guess it depends on each person?

  5. I’m not a runner, but would love to be. My knees aren’t that great, so unfortunately they don’t let me run. When I tried years ago, I did too much too soon (didn’t know the first thing about running, so started doing 2 miles every day at lunch and got a hairline fracture in my ankle..yea) and haven’t been able to ever since. I tried the Cto5k, but even that is too much. I just walk or ride my bike when I want to exercise. The apt we are moving to has a gym…can’t wait for that!

  6. Very informative post. I also blogged about my love for running today- great minds eh! Fortunately my knees haven’t failed me yet. To avoid injury, I limit my runs to 3 per week, 4 max!

  7. I am a runner and I have had a knee injury and it did result in surgery. And I still run on it. I tore my meniscus in high school and started running in college but haven’t had any serious knee troubles since having surgery.

  8. I am running moderately but I won’t call myself a runner yet. Do you have a running story? as in how did you get started, your first race experience etc.

    1. I do have a running story! I started when I was in undergrad and slowly worked my way up in regards to time and mileage. It’s been quite the journey! I completed my first half marathon in November 2009 and will be running my second this August!

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