Does Running Hurt Your Knees Or Doesn't It?
There's been a lot of back-and-forth on whether or not running makes you more prone to arthritis, especially in the knees, but new research suggests that pounding the pavement might actually protect your joints.
Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is caused by cartilage breakdown, usually after an injury or years of stress. It makes sense, then, that running could cause OA—after all, your knees have to support and stabilize your entire body with every step. But after looking at the running habits and arthritis symptoms of nearly 2,700 women and men, researchers discovered that regular runners (or those who were runners at some point) were 7% less likely than non-runners to develop knee OA.
MORE: 3 Simple Moves That Fight Knee And Hip Pain
That's probably because the more you run, the more likely it is that you're at a healthy weight, says study author Grace Hsiao-Wei Lo, MD. Past research has linked high BMIs with OA because excess weight puts more strain on joints.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't run if you're overweight; you just need to be more careful. Jordan Metzl, MD, a sports medicine specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, recommends strengthening the muscles around the knee and using foam roller exercises to alleviate tightness after runs. In fact, these are good suggestions for every runner, regardless of size.
Video: How to Start Running Without Getting Knee Pain : LIVESTRONG: Fitness & Exercise Tips
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