Running and Knees: A Bony Misconception

Running is NOT bad for your knees!

Knee injuries are relatively common amongst runners. You yourself may have experienced an ache in your knee or have battled with patellofemoral pain or a tendon problem. We ask a lot of our knees while running but this does not mean running is bad for our knees because sometimes we get knee pain.

Our body is a master at adapting and builds tissues stronger to meet the demands we ask of it. This means that our knees can be resilient if we train wisely. It should also be known that people who recreationally run have lower rates of knee osteoarthritis as compared to their sedentary counterparts. So while you’ve probably heard at some point in your running career that running is bad for your knees, please know it’s not.

Why does my knee hurt when I run?

This is a great question and is often a result of increasing your running volume too much too soon. If you’re struggling with knee pain while running, it’s a good idea to see a physical therapist who can help you with managing your running volume and give you exercises to help increase the resiliency of your knees. A trained PT in running gait analysis can also help to look at your running form to see if there are modifiable factors in your running form to assist in helping you heal.

What can I do to make my knees more resilient and less likely to get injured?

Targeted quadriceps strengthening can help with this!

Below are some exercises to try. Aim for 3 sets of 8-10 repetition at 2-3x per week:

Single Leg Knee extension
Split Squat