Does Running Damage Your Knees?

Does Running Damage Your Knees?

Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise, and for good reason. Routinely moving your body in such a way can promote healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels, guard against high cholesterol, and reduce your risk for chronic diseases. 

On top of those health perks, running is a low-cost and convenient activity, requiring little more than supportive shoes. But can the same activity wreak havoc on your knees? 

Our expert team of board-certified pain management specialists at Wisconsin Spine and Pain in Waukesha, West Bend, Sheboygan, Green Bay, and Greenfield, Wisconsin, treat knee pain to help you find relief and avoid surgery. 

Read on to learn how running affects your knees, and what to do to avoid or reduce related pain.

How running affects your knees

Running isn’t necessarily harmful for your knees. In fact, if you run properly — with good form and practices — those routine runs may actually help your knees. One reason running gets a bad wrap is because of the impact the motion has on your joints as you pound the pavement, trails, or treadmill.

But a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise involving 14 adults showed that while running produces three times more force on your knees than walking, that force is offset by the length of your stride and the time you spend in the air.

Research has also shown that marathon runners have a lower risk for arthritis and related back or knee pain compared to non-marathoners. 

Running can fuel knee damage, however, if you:

Running can also lead to patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as runner’s knee. You may be especially at risk for this painful condition if you have:

Runner’s knee can also stem from running excessively or injuring your knee.

What to do about knee pain

If you’re experiencing knee pain, your provider at Wisconsin Spine and Pain can diagnose your condition through a comprehensive exam. They may order tests, such as an X-ray, to confirm or rule out a diagnosis.

While you’re awaiting your exam, resting your knee may be important, especially if your knee pain worsens with running or other activities. 

Once we have a good idea about the underlying cause of your knee symptoms, we recommend a treatment plan. Depending on the severity of your condition, that plan may include:

We can also make recommendations about your running, including when and how to safely do so. 

To learn more about knee health or to get the care you need, call the Wisconsin Spine and Pain office most convenient to you or request an appointment online today. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

4 Encouraging Facts About Lupus

Lupus is a chronic, often painful disease — but not everything about it is bad news. If you’ve been diagnosed with lupus, take these encouraging facts to heart.

Everything You Didn't Know About CRPS

If you live with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), understanding how it can manifest and what may help once it sets in can be a gamechanger. It affects people differently and early treatment can go far.