In the not too distant past, patients with arthritis were advised not to jog as the additional stress could further injure the knee cartilage. However, the results of recent research studies fly in the face of conventional wisdom – running may actually be good for your knees!
A Swedish research group studied the effects of jogging on the knee cartilage, also known as the meniscus, and found that the impact of jogging increases the production of proteins in the bones and cartilage actually making them stronger. Another multi-year study of nearly 75,000 runners showed them to be less at risk of developing arthritis than those who did not run regularly.
So why does running get such a bad rap?
- Poor Form: If you are a new runner experiencing pain, there may be a problem with your running technique. Getting a biomechanical analysis by a professional and making the suggested changes may be all you need to improve your knee health.
- Physical Makeup: There could be a problem with your skeletal structure such as a leg-length discrepancy or tilt in your pelvis. You can still enjoy the benefits of running, just take it slow and know your limits.
- Overuse: Unless you are a professional runner, there is no need to run more than 3-4 times a week so your joints and ligaments have sufficient time to recover between workouts.
- Wrong Footwear: Invest in a good pair of running shoes. They should be more flexible and have extra cushioning for better impact absorption. Walking shoes are stiffer and should not be used for running.
- Unforgiving Surfaces: Avoid running on concrete. As far as possible try to run on grass, gravel, or asphalt.
If you have a relatively normal knee, by jogging at a moderate pace 3-4 times a week you may be decreasing your risk of developing osteoarthritis.