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TOPIC:   Running doesn't hurt your knees! 

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TYKXBOY's Photo SparkPoints: (41,736)
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6/18/12 2:23 P

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Running is just like any other activity we perform. It has its risks and rewards and rules to follow. You need to use the right equipment and take the right precautions and know the limitations of your own body so you don't overdo it and injure yourself. If you disregard your equipment and overdo it or do too much too soon or don't pay attention to your body, you will injure yourself.

Running is higher impact that walking or doing the elliptical or swimming, but that in itself does not mean it will cause knee problems. If you ease into it, your body will adapt and you will strengthen your knees. But, nothing in this life is 100% true for everyone. There will always be someone with weak bones or ligaments who will injure their knees by running.

Anyone who never runs and uses "running will hurt my knees" as an excuse is just giving and excuse. There are, however, people who can legitimately not run - even running properly with the right precautions - without the risk of injuring themselves.

So, as said before, we are all an experiment of one. We are not all assembly line robots created exactly the same. We each have our own unique body issues and quirks. But, until you actually know, it is just an excuse.

"One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man." ~ Elbert Hubbard (1856 - 1915)

SCHOOLNURSE86's Photo Posts: 870
6/14/12 1:19 P

LOGOULD, what a great testimony, and I know it is your 'experiment of one,' but hang around on these boards and it doesn't take long to see a lot of similar outcomes. How often do we see the brand new, often obese runner who signed up for a half marathon and wants training advice, only to ignore the warnings, then report a few weeks later that they are having pain, runner's knee, stress fracture, whatever. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to training, for sure!

This is purely anecdotal and I have NO sources to back it, but I recently read an orthopedic surgery blog which quoted the following statistics in the US: "Nearly 9 in 10 knee replacement patients were overweight or obese, compared to just over 7 in 10 patients who had a hip replacement."

Again, just from a blog I was reading, but I have read countless articles stating that obesity is responsible for the majority of joint replacement surgery, and a primary cause of osteoarthritis (which leads to the replacement).

I have no doubt that plenty of runners are doing more harm than good by not listening to their bodies, not being sensible, training for a marathon right off the bat with no running history. But done properly and sensibly, I am convinced it is safe for me :).

Edited by: SCHOOLNURSE86 at: 6/14/2012 (14:53)

"I just felt like running." Forrest Gump

LOGOULD's Photo SparkPoints: (82,753)
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6/14/12 12:04 P

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I'm sure that there is truth to both sides of the camp. If someone just starts out running without including good nutrition, cross training, strength training and a plan to allow their body to adjust, then I'm sure that damage can occur. Let me, however, balance the equation with the results of my "experiment of one". Two and a half years a ago, I couldn't walk a mile in 20 minutes and had to climb stairs one at a time (like a child does) do to pain and subsequent swelling in my knees. My doctor had even taken all the necessary x-rays etc etc etc to determine how much longer I could go without a knee replacement. The prognosis was 3-5 years tops. Since that tinme, I lost approximately 40 lbs, completed the C25K program (only with the best fitting, cushioning and supportive shoes), have been extrememly careful with my nutrition and made sure that I did the strength training and cross training necessary to develop the muscles in my legs and especially around the knee. It has taken time, but last year I was able to run 3 5K's a 10K and 2 half marathons with no injuries due to running at all in those 2 1/2 years. The secret is in keeping a balance, not pushing your body too far and giving it all the care that a runners body needs. After my last checkup my own Dr has been converted to the BENEFITS of running as she noted the marked improvement in the condition of my knees. I'm sure that uneducated running may cause damage, but going at it wisely can definitely reverse the raveges of an unhealthy life style,

"Success is the result of what you do when the Woo Hoo is all through....."-ON2VICTORY (Robert)

"The miracle isn't that I finished...the miracle is I had the courage to start." - John 'The Penguin

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ACICEDA's Photo Posts: 534
6/14/12 11:33 A

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Great discussion on a lot of topics. To answer the first question posed, well...I wouldn't do very well because I more than likely would just laugh at them and continue on running. If they want to further the confrontation then they would have to chase me.

As for everything else - moderation is key in all things. I have been running to start my half marathon training. For the past two weeks I can't seem to get below a 11 min per mile pace. A lot of that may actually have to do with humidity (hate running in that but it is what I have most of the year). So, while my goal is to run a 10 min per mile pace - I will accept 11 because the 11 feels like a hard run and until my body tells me differently - that is what it will be.

For you - run a little at first and slowly build. Enjoy your walks (my favorite cross-train of all times). Be stubborn in your own goals and continue to know what you want to do.

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TAGPOINTE's Photo Posts: 287
6/14/12 10:53 A

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I don't look down on walkers but I do have a love/hate relationship with them. If you want to walk a 5k or any other distance that is fine but don't stand in the way of those who are running. I was hoping to beat a time on my last 5k and I missed it by three seconds which was taken up by all the times I had to run around walkers who stood six people across. If you are going to walk a race please stand in the back of the pack.

"If I am still standing at the end of the race, hit me with a board and knock me down, because that means I didn't run hard enough." --Steve Jones, former marathon world record holder
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TIMOTHYNOHE's Photo Posts: 4,317
6/14/12 10:46 A

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Do not let ANYONE pressure you to take up running. If you hate it, if it hurts, if you just don;t see the point then don't do it.

When a person just starting out asks me who they can run a marathon my response is "Walk, don't run. If you are going to run, it will just happen. A little at first. Then one day, you'll run for three miles. If that feels good and you still think you want to run a marathon, run 10k.then run a 10 miles. then a half. Train up for each. Then enter marathon training."

I do not look down on walkers and I don't think I know any runners who do. And if I find one, I will attempt an attitude correction.

Think about this: most full & half marathons have a 16 minute mile cutoff. A standard walk is a 20 minute mile. A very brisk walk is 15 minute mile. So a 16 minute mile is mostly walking with some jogging tossed in.

Here's another: you burn almost as much energy walking a mile as you do running it.

Never let anyone pressure you into running. If you find someone who looks down on you as a walker, send him to me.

Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you will be doing the impossible -- St Francis of Assisi

Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half Marathon, Dublin, Ireland, 8/5/2013

SKIRNIR's Photo Posts: 5,129
6/14/12 9:47 A

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I don't know, seems to me that running is hard on the knees. I seem to think that walking is easier on the joints and knees. Maybe I am using it as an excuse to not take up running. (Very possible.) But what I wonder is why I feel pressure to take up running. Seems to me runners think walking is degrading, hence why I have to listen to marathoners during my half marathon talk about how ashamed they would be to have to walk across the finish line.

I guess my response is if you were egging the person on to try running and that was their response then you can tell them that running doesn't have to be hard on the knees if you listen to your body, etc. But that it can be hard on the knees and maybe they would like to try some other form of exercise. Whatever they like, as long as they can find an exercise they like to do, otherwise they won't do it consistently. Of course, it really depends on the context of the conversation. But runners do seem to get way more injuries than walkers do, but then runners are usually pushing it more too.

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MARATHONDAD's Photo SparkPoints: (28,046)
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6/14/12 9:46 A

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I would just tell them being super overweight is harder on my knees

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TIMOTHYNOHE's Photo Posts: 4,317
6/13/12 10:53 P

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Check this blog post:

Before I started running, I usedto say thatI could never run because my knees and ankles were "shot."

I run all the time now and my knees no longer crack every time I stand and my ankles are stronger than they have ever been. I am 59.

My orthopedist tells me that running is hard on my joints and that someday, I could have a problem. But not today. Excessive weight is the main reason he does joint replacements.

The people who peddle the myth the running is bad for your knees are often the same who will tell you that you should stop trying to lose weight because you have already lost too much and will not be able to fight off illness. On the latter I would nod my head knowingly and tell them I had heard their concerns.

On the issue of ruining my knees, I tell them that so far mine are in really good shape.

Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you will be doing the impossible -- St Francis of Assisi

Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half Marathon, Dublin, Ireland, 8/5/2013

ELISEL's Photo SparkPoints: (42,915)
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6/13/12 8:08 P

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How about throwing some facts at them. I am reading a book right now called "The First 20 minutes" which I highly recommend. It's all about the science of exercise. I heard an interview with the author and one thing she said was that it's been proven that if you have no prior injuries and start running you will actual BUILD cartilage over time. That will make your knees stronger!

The other thing she said was that after just 20 minutes of running you start to create new brain cells. So runners aren't just healthy we're smart too!

Elise, Plainville, MA

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HOUNDLOVER1's Photo Posts: 7,638
6/13/12 8:05 P

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Sorry guys,
at the risk of some of you tuning me out I have to say that I do believe that most running is very hard on your knees. I am not a couch potato nor obese and have been running for two years. I believe that barefoot and minimalist running are the only kind of running that allow the body to land the way nature intended: on our forefoot/midfoot first and then rolling down softly to the heel. It is true that not exercising at all is very bad for us but I see too many people who use exercise and in particular cardio as their primary weight control and that rarely works. I just managed to lose the last 10 lbs. and am finally at goal weight with exercising a lot less, only about an hour/day instead of 2 hours/day, by eating a low-carb diet and eliminating all sugar, grains and beans from my diet. After two weeks I didn't miss any of them. My body has learned to burn fat for fuel instead of carbs as and the only cardio I do is at low-intensity (under 75% MHR). I also am starting occasional speed work now.
I believe that proper nutrition is very important, but that's another long story.
So I would say if your knees don't hurt and you don't have any other injuries from running that's great. If you have various ailments and soreness try to run the way nature intended and you may find that not only will knee pain go away but many other problems as well.

Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 6/13/2012 (20:07)
You can talk to God all you want and that's great, but the changes happen when you start listening to him.


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GLADGAD's Photo SparkPoints: (35,022)
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6/13/12 6:14 P

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I know you may get irritated by comments like that, but just know that anyone who says things like that simply doesn't get it. If you want them to understand, you can tell them that all of us will likely get some sort of joint overuse issue when we get older, but that running doesn't hurt your joints unless you're either doing something wrong or running so many miles it's ridiculous (i.e., a marathon a week for a year). I would thank them for their concern, but assure them that you are training properly and listening to your body to avoid injury.


"God gave you your body as a gift, so you should take care of it." - My Mom

TRILLIUM22's Photo Posts: 7,116
6/13/12 6:06 P

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Well my boot camp instructor is very anti distance running. He does not like anything over 10k. Thinks it's too stressful on your body. I tend not to hear him and wear my marathon race shirts to class.

Cindy or Trill
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SCHOOLNURSE86's Photo Posts: 870
6/13/12 5:33 P

In my case, I have had very few negative running comments from non-overweight people. Most of them are active, whether it be running or some form of exercise, so they tend not to say anything. It is the obese couch potatoes who like to chime in.

Most recently (last week in fact) a friend who just had a hip replacement and needs a knee, due to obesity (she is now losing weight) asked me why I want to run marathons when it takes "such a toll" on my body, as evidenced by my black and blue toenails. Seriously??? My toenails may hate me, but the rest of me is pretty dang happy :).

Bottom line, the 'toll' running might take on my body is NOTHING compared to the 100 pounds of extra, unneeded fat she carries every single day.

I ignore it :)

Edited by: SCHOOLNURSE86 at: 6/13/2012 (17:33)

"I just felt like running." Forrest Gump

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6/13/12 4:10 P

I just tell them that being a morbidly obese couch potato was much harder on my knees than running is. That usually shuts them up. Just sayin'.

BUTTERFLY-1976's Photo SparkPoints: (59,446)
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6/13/12 3:59 P

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My grandma always gave me a hard time about this. So I told her the same thing CBAILEYC said in her post. She finally stopped bugging me about it.

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STEPH100's Photo Posts: 47
6/13/12 3:58 P

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I am an absolute beginner meaning I've been walking and only just now starting to jog and learn how to run correctly. In an effort to get off on the right foot (haha), I went to a "Good Form" Running workshop at a local running shoe store. It was a two hour workshop. We started off by running a short sprint so he could video tape us. Then he had us run in our sock feet for the same sprint. His point is trying to show the difference between heel strike and mid foot strike. Then we talked about posture and cadence and did some more sprints to practice with cadence.

The next day I could barely walk. This class was a week ago and my knees are still sore. I've put ice on them, compression knee sleeve on my left knee, elevation, etc. I haven't been able to continue with my training program because my knees have been hurting so much.

Do you all have any advice about what I need to do here? I REALLY want to learn to jog/run in a healthy way; however, this injury during my first class certainly didn't get me off a very good start.

I appreciate your input. Thanks!

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CBAILEYC's Photo Posts: 3,819
6/13/12 3:55 P

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You could try pointing out that sitting on their behinds for years, gaining pound after pound year after year, is also hard on their knees.
Pick your hard!

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FREEDOMSTAR's Photo Posts: 13,748
6/13/12 3:42 P

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I would get very upset, when people tell me this. Over the years I've come to accept that Yes running Is hard on the joints, but with proper training, recovery, nutrition, and crosstraining, I should be fine. Just tell them thats a myth and youre doing everything right. Youre an educated runner with proper training-lol



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TAGPOINTE's Photo Posts: 287
6/13/12 3:30 P

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For the first time I have had someone tell me that running is bad for me because it hurts your knees and as they told me that I felt a monster inside of me burn up in my chest and want to yell at them. What do you say when someone says this? Without yelling at them?

"If I am still standing at the end of the race, hit me with a board and knock me down, because that means I didn't run hard enough." --Steve Jones, former marathon world record holder
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