Runners knee

5 ways to save your knees and joints

Let’s get this out of the way: running won’t ruin your knees, no matter what your smug, sedentary co-worker says.

“There are three large studies that show long-term endurance running doesn’t seem to affect joint health,” says Dr Richard Willy, an assistant professor of physical therapy at East Carolina University in the US.

In fact, runners may have healthier joints than their inactive counterparts, says Dr Max R Paquette, an assistant professor of biomechanics at the University of Memphis.

It’s well known that weight-bearing exercises such as running strengthen bone and muscle, and it’s believed that they might do the same for cartilage, the tissue that cushions joints. And strong muscles – built by running and strength-training – support joints so they are less vulnerable to injury.

Yet there’s a condition called “runner’s knee” for a reason. Patellofemoral pain (knee pain) is the most reported injury in the sport. Hip, ankle and foot injuries happen too.

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