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Does Running Damage Your Knees?

Does Running Damage Your Knees?
Photo by SwapnIl Dwivedi via Unsplash

Runners are often linked with having knee injuries, but the evidence is confusing.

Running as a sport experienced a boom during the pandemic. When people wanted to distance themselves from others and carve out a little time for themselves, they turned to running, a relatively private activity that allowed them to get in their cardio, be alone with their thoughts and stay clear of danger. But does it damage your knees?

Running is one of the workouts that are most commonly connected with knee damage. Surprisingly, there’s not a lot of data that supports this claim. Long-time runners are quick to point out that knee damage is likely to occur when people run incorrectly, something that can be very common.

Here’s what we know about knee damage and running:

Running may curb arthritis and strengthen the knees

Photo by Bruno Nascimento via Unsplash

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According to a study that compared runners to non-runners, the former are less likely to develop arthritis in their knees. While not wholly understood, this protection that runners experience might be due to the theory that runners have stronger knee cartilage. This extra tissue adds some protection to runners’ knees and makes it less likely for them to suffer from arthritis, something that non-runners don’t have.

Running poorly can result in knee pain and damage

Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU/Pexels

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Still, running incorrectly can result in knee pain and injuries and make it more common for runners to experience more lesions than non-runners. If running is the basis of all of your workouts, and you do it every day, then it’s likely you’ll develop some sort of knee injury or pain. In order to prevent this, you must use the right running shoes, and replace them if they wear out.

Building up other muscles in your body can also help you be more balanced when it comes to your running, preventing further injuries. Strength training over different areas of your body and increasing the intensity of your runs over time are all important elements for preventing injuries and for achieving your running goals.

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