Woman holding her knee after running

Is Running Bad For My Knees?

Your knees are the largest some of the most complicated joints in your body. Because they do so much to help you stand, walk, and run, they’re understandably susceptible to a lot of problems as well. Many people, for example, believe that if you’re a runner, you’ll inevitably ruin your knees at some point in the future. Now that spring is coming to Calgary and we’re all getting ready to spend more time outside, we at Dalhousie Station Foot Clinic would like to dispel a few myths about what running does to your knees and give you a few tips about how to protect them from potential harm.

What Problems Can Occur to My Knees from Running?

Your knee is a hinge joint where your fibula and tibia (the bones that structure the lower part of your leg) are connected to your femur (the bone in the upper part of your leg). Tendons, ligaments, and muscles connect these two parts of your leg and allow them to move relative to one another. When walking or running, your body constantly absorbs minor shocks through your feet and up into your leg. Your feet and knees, however, have ways of absorbing those shocks. In your knee, between the femur and tibia, there are two discs of cartilage that form your meniscus. This cartilage prevents damage to your bones from constantly rubbing against one another and helps absorb the normal shock of walking and running. If any part of this complex system starts to wear out or becomes misaligned, it can lead to knee problems, such as:

•  Arthritis  caused by the breakdown of the cartilage in the meniscus
Torn ligaments and tendons from overexertion
Fractures that occur to the bones themselves

What Can I Do To Protect My Knees?
You’ll be happy to hear that there hasn’t been any proof of a direct relationship between running and knee problems such as arthritis. In fact, there is evidence that correct exercise can decrease the chances of problems like arthritis. A few ways to run correctly and keep your visits to your podiatrists in Calgary to a minimum include:

• Getting the right training. Most people who get hurt while running are not running correctly. Be sure to consult with your foot doctors and other medical professionals in Calgary before beginning a new training regime.
• Always stretch when you exercise. According to Statistics Canada, common sprains and strains are by far the most common injury that Canadians get. To lessen your chances of getting injured, stretch properly when exercising.
• Have the right shoes. Old or ill-fitting shoes greatly increase your chances of injury—particularly injuries related to wear and tear.
• Get custom-made orthotics from your foot doctors in Calgary. Orthotics made specifically for your feet will help correct any problems with your gait. They’ll also help absorb the shock of walking and running, putting less pressure on your feet and knees.

If you want to stay fit and healthy this summer, contact our podiatrists at Dalhousie Station Foot Clinic in Calgary today. We can fit you with custom orthotics or just give you advice on how to run the right way.