Is Running Good for Your Joints? What You Need to Know

Shopify API May 30, 2022 No Comments
Is running good for your joints? Keep reading to learn more about how running affects the joints and possible causes of joint pain in runners.
 Is running good for your joints?

June 2022. This article is independently written by Shelby Golding. All opinions given are hers. Shelby has been certified as a personal trainer and nutritional specialist since 2007. In 2008, she found her passion for writing about these topics and hasn't looked back.

 Is running good for your joints?

Most people believe that running wears out or damages your joints. The high-impact nature of this popular exercise puts a lot of strain on the entire body, including the knees, elbows, and ankles. But is it responsible for your joint pain?

Experts agree that running supports joint health, with the benefits far outweighing the risks.

About 15 percent of Americans do running or walking for exercise. While running is responsible for specific pain patterns – including knee injuries, shin splints, and stress fractures – joint pain is typically not one of them. More often, joint pain results from weight gain, arthritis, tendonitis, and injury.
All of this isn’t to say that running can’t injure your joints, only that it might not be the primary cause. So keep reading to answer the question, is running good for your joints?

What Causes Joint Pain?

Runners with joint pain may be quick to blame their exercise routine. Running is hard on your body, especially if you are not used to it. But most joint pain is attributed to other causes.
Arthritis is one of the most common reasons for joint pain. The two most prevalent forms of arthritis- osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis- affect approximately 34 million people in the United States.
results from the gradual wearing of cartilage in the joints over time, and rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the healthy cells in the joints.
Studies show that running protects the body from developing arthritis since it strengthens the muscles surrounding the joints and keeps you from gaining weight.
Weight gain on its own is a major contributor to joint pain (and a primary reason people develop osteoarthritis). Each added pound puts an extra four pounds of pressure on the knees. Since running helps you maintain and lose weight, it can also keep you from developing osteoarthritis.
Injury and inflammatory conditions like tendonitis can also result in tenderness and pain in the joints. In addition, new runners and people returning to running after a long absence might develop a runner's knee, a condition wherein the cartilage in your kneecap becomes inflamed due to increased use.
Whatever the reason for your joint pain, proper running form is essential to keep from making it worse.

How To Run For Your Joints

How to run for your joints

If your joint pain appeared when you started running again, then the two might be related, but not for the reason you might think.
Before blaming the activity, take a look at how you are running. The type of shoes you wear, the surface you run on, and your running form are a few factors that may be contributing to your joint pain.

1. Running Shoes

Over time, running shoes wear down, offering less support and increased impact on muscles and joints. Ideally, it's best to replace your running shoes every 300 to 500 miles. So, if you run an average of 20 miles per week, you will need about two pairs of shoes per year.
Old running shoes lead to more than painful joints. They can also cause plantar fasciitis, low back pain, and ankle sprains. So, if you’re planning to take up running or running regularly, do not skimp on shoes!

2. Running Surface

The surface that you run on also makes a difference to your joint pain. Experts recommend running on softer surfaces, such as dirt or grass, instead of harder surfaces like concrete. One study found that pressure on the foot increases 12 percent on asphalt versus grass.
Treadmills are considered a mid-range surface, falling somewhere between grass and asphalt. If running is starting to take a toll on your knees, you may want to choose softer surfaces for your runs in the future to reduce the impact on your joints.

3. Old Injuries

Runner's knee, patellar tendinitis, and iliotibial band (IT) syndrome are all relatively familiar concerns for runners. However, if you have any old injuries, you need to be conscious of how your body is compensating as you start your running routine once more.
Unconscious compensation can aggravate old injuries and even cause new ones. Speak to your physical therapist or primary care doctor to ease back into running without instigating any flare-ups of old injuries.

4. Form

Good form is a staple for any running. The repetitive nature of running means that most running-related injuries result from stress or strain on one area of the body over time.
Consult with a physical therapist if you think your joint pain may result from bad form. You might also want to consider cross training with weights to strengthen all of the legs, core, and upper body muscles.
Flexibility training, or complementary training with yoga or tai chi, can also be beneficial. By increasing the flexibility of your muscles, you can prevent future injuries and relieve tension in the muscles that builds up over time.

Protect Your Joints

No matter the cause, joint pain can be extremely debilitating. However, it's also mostly preventable if you learn how to protect and care for your joints.
A few actions you can incorporate to protect your joints include:
Exercising frequently. If your preferred form of exercise is running, go for it! Exercise helps maintain your weight to keep from adding pressure to the joints of your lower body.
Eating well. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances that lower inflammation and ease pain throughout the body. Reducing inflammation in your body helps with joint pain, reduces your risk of developing a life-threatening disease, improves digestion, improves sleep, and has positive effects on your mental and emotional health.
Taking anti-inflammatory supplements like Omega-3 fatty acids and turmeric can help manage joint pain if you already suffer from it. Both act to reduce inflammation across the body. Speak with your primary care doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.
Add a few rest days to your routine. Rest days are crucial to preventing joint pain. Your body needs time to recover, especially when running long distances or training for a marathon event. Build up to your goal distances and time gradually and listen to your body to keep from overworking it!
These healthy habits will help support pain-free joints and make running good for your joints! Try a combination of the four for the best results.

Running for Joint Health

If you wonder if running is good for your joints, the answer is yes. Running in good form, on soft surfaces, and with good shoes are excellent practices for protecting your joint health. However, if your joints bother you every time you run, you may want to consult your primary care or physical therapist. We recommend doing everything you can to support your joints!

And don't forget to apply your Kailo patch on or near the site of pain before heading out for your next run. We're confident that Kailo will help you breathe a near-instant sigh of relief. In fact, a recent clinical study showed that 99% of patients felt pain relief with Kailo within 10 minutes of using the patch.
Disclaimer: Kailo should not be used if you have a pacemaker or if you are pregnant. Always consult your doctor or health care professional before using Kailo.


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