Is running harmful to our knees?

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I believe that I am not the only one who has a bad knee and thinks that it might be because of running. I used to do X-country in my high school and I did training everyday to improve myself. However, when the season goes, I started to feel pain on my knees and that bothered me a lot. Then I saw articles about how basketball players all had bad knees due to their intensive training, and I started to wonder: was it possible that running was the cause of the pain?

There is actually a word for the problem that I am experiencing: runner’s knee. Runner’s knee can be caused by multiple reasons such as misalignment and overusing of the knee.

A research done in 2003 on recreational runners showed that 844 out of 1020 people in the research process had knee injuries. The percentage was about 82.7%. The knee problems in this research included experiencing pain after exercise and other minor or more serious symptoms. This study clearly showed that running had something to do with knee injuries. Although the cause of the pain can be due to multiple reasons, like the road conditions and weather situations, it is still strongly possible that there is a positive correlation between running and knee injuries. The pressure brought to the knee through intensive exercise may be the cause to multiple knee injuries.

Another research done in 1989 showed that 73 out of 115 people who had a systematic training for marathon had different degrees of knee injuries. The percentage was about 60%. There are several possibilities that may cause the difference in those two researches. Firstly, the sizes of the research were different. One had over a thousand objects and the other only had a little over a hundred. The insufficient number of research objects may cause the result to be accurate. Also, people who trained for marathon might pay more attention to stretching and other recovering exercise that would release the pressure of running, and those exercises might reduce the injuries.

In conclusion, the experiments show a strong correlation between running and knee injuries. There might be outliers like muscle strength, race differences and body structures. However, running is still a possible suspect for all kinds of knee problems. Stretching before and after running can possibly reduce the injuries, and systematic training and recovering can protect the knees from injuries as well.

'Surgery went well, Mr. Moore. I had a lot of fun rebuilding your knee joint.'

‘Surgery went well, Mr. Moore. I had a lot of fun rebuilding your knee joint.’

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/knee-pain/runners-knee

http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2007/05/01/bjsm.2006.033548.full.pdf+html

http://www.npr.org/assets/news/2011/03/28/effect-of-physical-activity-on-knees.pdf

https://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/k/knee.asp

4 thoughts on “Is running harmful to our knees?

  1. Erin Marie Stephenson

    I also have bad knees and I always would blame it on basketball and track, I still do. It wasn’t until senior year when I finally did something about it and come to find out I had IT band syndrome, which you would feel in your knees and hips. My doctor said it was because of all the running I did and that they really only saw this injury in runners. So it does make sense that running and knee injuries are connected in some way.

  2. Kristen Lauren Mckenzie

    It is true what they say abut basketball players, I have been playing since I was 6 and ever since I could remember my knees would always hurt and I never knew why. I would always ice my knees and wrap them put the pain would ways be there. In high school I ran track and did mainly hurdles and that probably killed my knees even more. These injures seem to happen with the majority of athletes I wonder why theres not a way to correct these injures or prevent it from happening. It just crazy how much I over look stretching before and after training, I think I’m going to reconsider stretching now.

  3. Gregory Andrew Horowitz

    I too have the same issue, however, I do not believe that it is strictly from running. I have played many sports such as baseball (as a catcher), football, basketball and volleyball. All of these sports did require a bit of running, some more than others, but in these sports, there was often a lot of pressure on my knees. Whether it being from blocking a spike in volleyball to constantly being in a crouch while catching during baseball, there was constant pressure on my knees while I played these sports. So although running may be a large contributor to knee pain in the sports world, I’m not sure if running is the only way one could obtain a form of “runners knee”.

  4. Bailee Cooper

    I used to run all the time. I played soccer and always went for runs in my free time. After about four years, I had to stop due to severe knee pain. I thought I was alone in this, but I’m happy to hear that it is more common than I thought. It’s interesting how many people are affected by runner’s knee, because I’ve never met anyone with the same problem as me.

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