If you enjoy running and love the many benefits this activity has to offer, you might be wondering if this type of exercise has long term effects on your joints. Car tires wear out over time, the tread thins and the wheels can become smooth due to wear and tear. Does this happen to your joints as well? Why do some runners get arthritic joints and pain while others remain healthy and pain free?
Contrary to what most people think, joints do not wear out from running. Arthritis in joints may occur for several reasons. There may be a genetic predisposition or a previous injury to the joint may make you more vulnerable. Without these conditions, the ability to run longterm should not be compromised. Activities that require impact during weight bearing, such as running, promote bone strength. Additionally, new evidence shows that the cartiledge in joints can improve and repair with running.
So what do you do if you have pain in your knees during or after running? There are many factors that may contribute to this. Poor leg alignment due to imbalances in strength and flexibility can lead to undue knee pressure during running. A previous injury to the hip, knee, ankle or back may cause pain and difficulty. If you are experiencing any discomfort at all, it is recommended that you stop running. You may avoid irritation and subsequent pain. People who are significantly overweight, need to be cautious about running. There is some evidence that suggests that extra pounds can cause joint irritation and possible susceptibility to arthritis. If you have painful knees, get a physical therapy assessment. Simple measures such as strengthening, stretching, a shoe evaluation or therapeutic taping can help address your issues and allow you to resume your sport.
Running is an excellent way to help you stay healthy, fit and strong.