Is Running Good Or Bad For Your Knees?

Written by on March 14, 2018 in Exercise and Fitness, Health with 0 Comments

By Helen Rogers

Running for man is a more natural occupation than, for example, swimming. Nevertheless, like any physical activity, running assumes understanding the mechanics of the process, selection of the load, and compliance of the load with age and individual body features. There are many opposing opinions about the benefit or harm of running. You can hear that running can strengthen all the body. However, many people think that the run constantly ruins leg joints.

Does Running Hurt Your Knees?

The knee is the man's largest joint. Due to its structure, it is capable of withstanding significant and long-standing loads. Nevertheless, the fact of pain in the knee after running is relevant for people leading an active lifestyle.


Many people claim that running can badly affect the joints of knees. A common argument in favor of this judgment is that running gradually erases the cartilage covering the bones in the joint and provokes arthritis. Obviously, nobody can deny that running exercises have a significant impact on the joints. Many older runners complain about the sore knees after a long run. The basic principle of any training is not harming you. Only after observing this principle, we can talk about the effectiveness of this or other types of physical load.

Our joints are very fragile. They are supported by our muscles, limiting free motions. But the muscles are not able to completely relieve the joint of the load. Systematic shock loads wear out the joints and the synovial fluid finds loopholes to flow out. In the end, the joint can cease to function.

How to Help Knee Pain When Running?

In most cases, the knee pain while running is associated with the central element of the joint, a capsule. As a result of too much stress or changes related to the age, the cartilage inside the capsule begins to thin out, change its physical properties, and become less elastic. Pain arises from changes in the properties of the joint fluid because of the increase or decrease of its amount.


When the pain comes, many athletes apply the ice wrapped in cloth to the aching knee for several minutes or use an elastic band to fix the knee joint. The special tapes were originally used in professional sports, but today they are available to everyone and are sold in drugstores. They create a flexible fixation and protect the knees.

In serious cases, the pain in the knee joint may indicate the development of bursitis, an inflammation of the joint capsule, which is accompanied by a change in the properties of the liquid in it. Another common disease, tendonitis, is an inflammation of tendons that connect the joint. In many cases, tendonitis accompanies bursitis. Both diseases develop due to the systematic overload of the joint. So, if you have severe pain, swelling or palpation in the knee area, you should consult the doctor.

Is Running Good for Your Joints?

One new study has shown that running is actually able to bring joints a benefit by changing the biochemical composition inside the knee in such a way that everything will be fine with your knees. Epidemiological studies of people used to run for a long time show that they tend to develop less often osteoarthritis of the knees than their peers. Some scientists have suggested that running can protect the knees because it is often associated with a relatively low body weight. As you know, a smaller load on the knees reduces the risk of arthritis of the knee joints. Other researchers reflected on the possibility of running to affect joints indirectly, changing the properties of cells in the knee joints.

In order to sort it out, scientists from Brigham Young University, Utah, took under their supervision 15 female and male runners under the age of 30 years old who did not have knee injuries or joint diseases. Scientists wanted to study people with healthy joints to isolate the side effects of running on healthy knees. Scientists took a small amount of the synovial fluid, which reduces friction in joints, from the volunteers’ right knees. Healthy knees have a few of this liquid, but the knees affected with arthritis or other diseases, as a rule, have it much more.

The volunteers were tested in the clinic. Then, they were taken to the biochemical laboratory. There, they either used to sit quietly for 30 minutes or run on the treadmill for the same time at their usual pace. After running or just sitting, they were brought back to the clinic in wheelchairs for a second blood and synovial fluid test. Each volunteer played the role of both a “resting person” and a “runner”, as the tests lasted several days. After that, the scientists examined in more detail a multitude of components in the blood and synovial fluid of young people. In particular, they have focused on molecules related to inflammations.

A low level of inflammation in the knee has been proven to be associated with the appearance and development of arthritis. Thus, scientists monitored the fluctuations in the levels of several types of cells, which are associated with a decrease or increase of inflammation of the joint.

The evidence obtained was curious and stable. In almost all cases, there were significantly fewer cells capable of causing inflammations of the synovial fluid in the knees. This discovery indicates that a simple half-hour run changes the functioning of the knee, reducing inflammation processes and the number of arthritis markers. Even with the limitations that existed, these findings indicate that moderate running is unlikely can damage the knees and rather protects the joints from damage.

How to Avoid Pain in Knees?

We should not forget that competent running technique and good running shoes are the basic factors that protect joints and allow you to feel good. Remember that you need to learn the most suitable technique of running on the rough surface and buy good running shoes for people with bad knees. It would be better to run on the stadium, where there is a special rubberized cover, designed to reduce the shock load on the knee joints while running.

Not every technique of running will seem convenient and simple at once, but it makes sense to master it because it will allow you to distribute the load on the joints correctly even after you have enough running experience. Try to pick up the running technique that will maximize your comfort and also make you forget about any pain or unpleasant sensations in your knees after running.

About the Author

Helen Rogers is an editor of She helps people get stronger. She shares running and sports questions, beauty tips. All her stories are result-oriented and make her readers become healthy, wealthy and wise.

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