Is Running Bad For Your Knees?

 

An ongoing health question revolves around whether or not running is bad for a person’s knees.  It is no secret that for every pound of weight on a person’s body the impact from running is such that at the point of impact on the knee the joint faces a force of four times body weight.  In other words, a 150 pound person exerts the force of a 600 pound weight on his or her knees with every step taken during the act of running.

The design of the knee is such that the impact of this force over time can start to break down the cartilage that cushions the impact between the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone).  Many people believe that running over time causes the knee cartilage to break down and facilitates the onset of arthritis.

My Health News Daily is an online blog that publicizes articles that deal with personal health and fitness.  It is affiliated with the American College of Sport Medicine (ACSM).  The blog recently posted an article that is based on interviews with five leading exercise experts concerning the relationship, if any, between running and knee deterioration.  The article is part of a weekly series where the blog posts an article drawn from interviews with experts in different fields of health.

Dr. Lewis Maharam, Fellow with the American College of Sports Medicine, characterized fears that running causes knee arthritis as being nothing more than “an old wives tale”.  He believes that whether or not a person will suffer from arthritis is a genetic issue.

Dr. Stephen Rice, Director of Medicine at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, pointed out that not everyone is destined to get arthritis.  A person’s weight is an important factor, as well as the running mechanics that help determine how well a person lands on each foot while running.  A person’s history of being fit and active is also important, as well as factors such as injuries to the meniscal cartilage in the knee—injuries that may have little to do with running.

Chris Troyanos is a certified athletic trainer and the medical coordinator for the Boston Marathon.  He made the point that there are certain body types that are simply not conducive to healthy running.  People who have excessive pronation of their feet when running have more of the inside of their feet drop inward more than what is healthy when running.  This means that their bodies don’t act as good shock absorbers.  This type of person should not regularly run over a mile or two at a time.

Dr. John Schriner, faculty member at Michigan State University, states that there is no definitive answer.  There are a wide range of factors that can determine how running will affect a person’s knees over the long haul.  The length of stride taken and the height of one’s foot lift are but two of these factors.  Shoe selection and running technique are also factors.

Dr. Michelle Wolcutt noted that injuries play a major role in determining whether or not a runner will develop arthritis.  People who have never suffered an injury to the legs that create a pre-disposition towards arthritis are at minimal risk of ever developing the condition.

As the U.S. population ages and as people try to stay active longer dealing with arthritis in the knees is a growing health issue.  Many more people are facing knee replacement surgery than ever before.  The experts suggest that there are things that we can do as we age (other than simply not running) that can help minimize the long-term risk of developing arthritic knees.

To read the entire article go to http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/2427-5-experts-answer-running-bad-knees.html

The United States Sports Academy offers courses in health and fitness.  Academy faculty members are currently conducting research that can offer insights for people wanting to train seriously as athletes.  For more information go to http://ussa.edu

 

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