This research changes the age old myth that running is bad for your knees. People in the gym have a huge fear of running. I also thought that this wasn’t a good thing for knees. However, this research from Stanford published in 2008 puts all our minds at ease.
It followed middle-aged, longtime distance runners (not necessarily marathoners) for nearly 20 years, beginning in 1984. When the study started, 6.7 percent of the runners had bad arthritic knees, while none of an age-matched control group did. Skip forward 20 years, and the runners’ knees were healthier; only 20 percent showed arthritic changes, versus 32 percent of the control group’s knees. Even better — barely 2 percent of the runners’ knees were severely arthritic, while almost 10 percent of the control group’s were (source).
So, what about all those people that complain that running hurts their knees? Personally, I discovered that it wasn’t my knees that were the problem… it was my IT Bands. These imbalanced muscles were pulling my knee in with every step. Once corrected through foam rolling and stretching, my knees no longer hurt while running. I also put inserts in my shoes called Superfeet. They have changed my walking pattern by keeping my feet in a neutral position. This has helped to strengthen the muscles that are weak as I walk.