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Pounding the pavement with your legs with so much force must be hurting your joints.

Why would an activity humans have evolved to do be bad for our bodies? You ask. If the activity was harmful to your knees, evolution would have eliminated the ability to run a long time ago because running could probably be the only trait that confers a survival advantage.

Running is not bad for your knees. People who run have no greater incidence of joint problems or osteoarthritis than people who do not run. If you have a family history of joint degeneration – if both of your parents have had knee replacements or if you already have had knee problems when you move a certain way or do certain activities, running can bring genetic predisposition or those latent issues to the forefront.

However, running is not the underlying cause of your joint problems.

So, if running does not cause knee problems, why does your knee hurt?

Your knee is comprised of multiple joints. The tibiofemoral joint connects your femur to your tibia. The patella, or kneecap, is a protective structure that connects to the femur and forms the patellofemoral joint.

These joints are supported by a network of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that help the knee flex, extend, and rotate through important movements such as walking, running, kneeling, and lifting.

Running is bad for your knees when you have weak muscles, tight hamstrings, overtraining, poor foot support, or misaligned gait patterns.

Knee pain can also be caused by many factors, such as poor postures during runs, structural problems in the knee joint, excessive foot pronation, or supination. Lack of strength in the core, hip, and glutes can also lead to knee pain while running.

However, some of these form issues can be remedied with conditioning.

Your muscles need to be strong and flexible in order to handle and resist stress. If you continually run with strained or tight muscles, you create problems in your knees like an overuse injury.

Regular strength training and stretching helps keep the thigh muscles strong and agile. Exercises to strengthen the muscles that support and stabilize your knees are very important, so you keep your knees more injury-resistant.

To avoid injuries in the future, make sure you’re wearing the correct running shoes for your foot and practice the correct running style. Stretching before and after a run helps strengthen the muscles that support your knee joint. Having stronger muscles can reduce the impact and stress on your knee, and help your knee joint move more easily.

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