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Knee Joints & Running

by Tony Bowling on February 21, 2012

Question

Lacee asked :
True or false: Running more than twice per week is bad for your joints?

Answer

This is false.

However if you currently have knee problems (sore, weak, swollen) there are a few important things to consider.

The first and most important thing is to get rid of any idea that the best thing to do is give up running or whatever sport you like to do. The datum “use it or lose it” evidently applies here.

Resting an injured body part only goes so far and then you have to start work rebuilding muscle and ligament strength.

What you should do is take a gradient (gradual) approach. In other words if you have a weak knee do not immediately enter for a marathon run (you can do that later) but do run and exercise* to build up your knee’s strength again.

* You can go on line and learn exercises that are specific for one’s knees — they do help. It is all about strengthening the muscles and ligaments below and above the knee that hold the knee tightly together.

Also use a knee bandage as an aid while your knee strength is recovered — it will recover and you will most likely not need it in the future.

I recommend too that you initially stay off running on hard surfaces such as the side walk (especially going down hill). A cushioned surface such as a running track, tread mill or on grass is best to start with.

Nutritional supplements also help which I’ll address in a separate article and will put a link here once it is written. For example: calcium is very important but calcium deposits┬ácan also be a reason why one has sore knees — the trick being to add calcium with other supplements for optimum utilization.

If sore and swollen apply ice, not heat. Heat feels better but it exacerbates the swelling. Stop being a wuss and get some ice on it!

Anecdote

I gave up soccer many years ago because my knee kept locking due to a cartilage problem. I didn’t play the game for 11 years because I was nervous that my knee would lock again which is no fun at all. However it became a catch 22 situation because my lack of using my legs as much weakened my legs and knee and resulted in me being even more prone to knee problems. A break through occurred when I simply put on a bandage (it was a new kind of three way bandage) that held the knee stable (prevented it from locking) so I could play soccer again and build up the leg/knee strength. I have continued to play for another 20 years and still do at 60 years.

The lesson learned from this was that resting, being careful, giving up the sport not only did not work but made the problem worse. And no surgery was needed. I’m just sad about the 11 years I wasted being careful.

Summary

DON’T give up! Get back on that horse but do it with the purpose of building up the body parts so that one day you may enter that marathon if you so wish. And I wish it for you!

Tony

 

 

 

 

 

 

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