Ever been told that running would damage your knees as you age? Luckily, there is much evidence from studies which suggests running is not likely to cause knee problems. Many knee problems in runners are the result of things going on in other places of the body. Here are five things all runners should know about their knees.
Arthritis is not more common in runners
First, studies have shown that runners have less instances of having knee osteoarthritis. Knee osteoarthritis is when the cartilage in the knee joint gradually wears away. As the cartilage wears away, it becomes rough and the protective space between the bones decreases.
In a study conducted for a period of 18 years, the study followed both runners and non-runners to find out what percentage of runners developed arthritis versus non-runners. The findings from this study showed that 20% of the runners developed arthritis while 32% of the non-runners did as well. In a second study conducted, the study looked at both runners and walkers. The study found that regular runners had approximately half the rate of arthritis as regular walkers.
Regardless of age, the fact above is true
Most people think that loss of cartilage, especially in the knees, is a natural part of the aging process. However, there’s no definitive evidence that suggests that running accelerates that loss. In a study conducted, the study looked at people at risk of developing arthritis. Once beginning a moderate running program, their cartilage health improved versus those who didn’t start running.
Supplements do not re-grow knee cartilage
There are no dietary supplements that can increase knee cartilage. A popular supplement known as glucosamine may help with knee osteoarthritis. The supplement helps to protect the articular cartilage, which helps to lubricate the knee joint. Another study looked at people who had knee arthritis and Vitamin D supplementation versus those that did not take the supplement. It was found that Vitamin D had no impact on those that had knee arthritis.
Runner’s knee is caused by other problems in the body
The most common knee injury among runners is chondromalacia patella or patellafemoral pain syndrome, simply known as runner’s knee. Runner’s knee happens when inflammation of the cartilage occurs under the kneecap. The most common cause of runner’s knee are weak hips, quadriceps, and tight hamstrings.
There are simple steps to keeping your knees in good shape
The best thing you can do for your knees is to make your knees stronger and to live a healthy lifestyle! According to The American College of Sports Medicine, each additional pound of body mass puts four extra pounds of stress on the knee. Runners are in good shape which, in the long run, may explain why they have less cases of knee arthritis.
*“5 Things Runners Should Know About Knees.” RunnersWorld.com. http://www.runnersworld.com/injury-prevention-recovery/5-things-runners-should-know-about-knees?cid+socHE_20140918_31856776.
*“Long Distance Running and Knee Osteoarthritis A Prospective Study.” National Institute of Health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2556152/.
Written by: Sharan Kaur, FizzNiche Staff Writer