If you have been involved in sports for any period of time, it is common to hear that “running ruins your knees.” Whether you read it online, hear someone shout it to you as you are running down the street, or it becomes the dinner table conversation at a family gathering, it is hard to break away from this popular—but often misunderstood—statement. While running, like any sport, can indeed cause problems and injury, much of the information that is portrayed is inaccurate or simply a myth, and running isn’t necessarily a bad sport for your joints.
1) Running Ruins Your Joints
Many people believe that the impact on the joints and the constant pounding on the pavement is responsible for runners experiencing knee problems. And while this may be true, there are several other problems that can arise from this foot strike repetition, and just because certain joints take a lot of the impact, does not mean they are unable to bear the load. In fact, for most people they are able to, and with proper recovery, will have minimal joint repercussions. If you aren’t sure and you are experiencing discomfort, during or after your run, contact your knee pain doctor to enquire further.
2) Stretching Every Day Prevents Injury
While it is true that stretching can help reduce your risk of injury, it doesn’t prevent it or guarantee that you will never get injured. There are many factors that contribute to a running injury, or your risk for getting injured, including shoe selection, frequency, intensity and duration of running, foot strike pattern, recovery protocol, and much more. Stretching is perceived to prevent injury because it allows for a proper cool down of your muscles and lets them come to rest more slowly than an abrupt stop after your run. In reality however, stretching is of little benefit if not done correctly and is certainly not going to be the only thing required to keep you injury free.
3) Going Barefoot is the Best Answer
When minimalist running came in a few years ago, many people assumed that running in minimalist shoes and even barefoot was a good solution toward improving their running, reducing injury risk, and fixing their cadence and stride. With evidence to the contrary emerging since however, running barefoot isn’t necessarily a good idea. It creates a much greater force of impact on your joints, due to no cushioning from your shoe to absorb any of it, and for many people, is the starting seed for joint pain.
Before you give up running to try to save your joints, be sure that you aren’t falling victim to some of these myths. If you’re not sure, book with a specialist to get the all clear for your running! Take the first step and give an orthopedic specialist a call. Request a consultation at the Orthopedic & Sports Institute (OSI) by calling (920) 560-1000 or request an appointment online.
OSI is Northeast Wisconsin’s exclusive provider of Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery for Hips & Knees.
OSI offers a Walk-In Clinic at its Appleton location for new, acute orthopedic injuries.
The Orthopedic & Sports Institute has convenient locations to serve you. In addition to the flagship facility in Appleton, you will find outreach clinics in New London, Ripon, Shawano, Waupaca, and the newest location serving the Green Bay area, inside the NOVO Health Clinic in De Pere.
OSI is the proud sponsor of the relay marathon at the Community First Fox Cities Marathon.