As the warmer season sadly fades away, the marathon and long distant running season approaches. It’s a great time of the year for long distance runners. It’s finally cool enough outside so that you don’t have to run long, boring miles in a dingy gym on a treadmill. Now you can beat the pavement downtown or jog on your favorite hiking trail without becoming overheated. It’s sounds like a great time if you’re a runner, except for all of the aches and pains associated with running long distance.

Jogging is a great form of exercise. Every year 1 in 4 deaths or about 610,000 people pass away from illnesses that jogging helps prevent. Besides preventing stroke and heart attack jogging and running have a bunch of other benefits such as:

  • Strengthen bones
  • Improve muscle strength
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Improves your cardiovascular fitness
  • Makes you
  • Improves mental abilities
  • Reduces stress
  • Can prevent some cancers

Who wouldn’t want those health benefits? It sounds almost too good to be true. The disappointing truth is that a lot of runners experience knee pain after long periods of running. Some people experience knee pain right away while others jog for years before they notice any pain. What is this pain and where does it come from?

Runners Knee

As you can imagine all of the stress you put on your body after miles and miles of running has to have some sort of negative effects, right? We stress a lot that the reason why people experience joint pain in the first place is from overuse, wear and tear and stress. All of these factors are taking place when you run a 26-mile marathon. In fact knee pain is such a common problem with long distance runners they actually came up with a name for it. According to runners world:

Runners Knee or “Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), or runner’s knee, got its nickname for an obvious and very unfortunate reason—it’s common among runners. The stress of running can cause irritation where the kneecap (patella) rests on the thighbone. The resulting pain can be sharp and sudden or dull and chronic, and it may disappear while you’re running, only to return again afterward. While biomechanical issues may be to blame, the cause can often be traced back to poorly conditioned quadriceps and tight hamstrings. Weak quads aren’t able to support the patella, leading it to track out of alignment, and inflexible hamstrings can put pressure on the knee. If you want to treat and avoid another bout with runner’s knee, add strengthening and stretching to your routine.”

In terms that are easier to digest, runners knee is pain that runners experience under the kneecap caused from people with weak thigh muscles, flat feet and poor flexibility.

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If you’re interested in learning more about runners knee, or if you think you are suffering from runners knee please see the video. They do a great job going in depth about runners knee to help you understand exactly what you are suffering from.

Does Running Cause Arthritis?

We’re all so proud of friends and family members that can run 5 miles straight, let alone race for 26 miles without stopping. That’s an awesome accomplishment! Just the training for a marathon takes months of dedication. You have to jog daily, weight train at the gym daily, you need to focus on your diet for almost every meal and you need to have remarkable willpower! The only problem: many people believe it causes arthritis. How can you pound the pavement for years and years and not expect some sort of joint problems. However, the argument over running and arthritis is very unclear.

According to the New York Times:

“Running does not substantially increase the risk of developing arthritis, even if someone jogs into middle age and beyond. An impressively large cross-sectional study of almost 75,000 runners published in July, for instance, found “no evidence that running increases the risk of osteoarthritis, including participation in marathons.” The runners in the study, in fact, had less overall risk of developing arthritis than people who were less active.”

The article has some pretty persuasive reasons why someone wouldn’t develop arthritis from running. Apparently the idea that you put more wear and tear on your knees when you run compared to when you jog isn’t entirely true. They conducted a study and they found out that runners pound the ground harder when they hit the ground with their foot compared to walkers. No surprise there. However, runners hit the ground less often and in a shorter amount of time. You may be applying less force when you walk. However, you are applying force more often and for a longer period of time. Interesting. Essentially walking and running have the same effect on your joints.

However, this isn’t the end all-be all conclusion. Researchers also conclude that running is considered “cyclical loading” meaning a force is applied to the joint and then immediately removed, and then applied again. They say this type of force prompts cells to divide and replenish, instead of die. In comparison, non-cyclical loading, or the continued force on the joint with little on and off pulses, overload the joint and kill cells, which kill tissue.

Is Running Causing YOU Pain?

Running does cause knee pain. There’s no way around that. It’s a fact. It’s so common they have a term for it, Runners Knee. However, don’t assume that running will put you in a wheelchair when you’re 55. Get out there and run! You’ll have more energy, you’ll have more mental power, you’ll look better, lose weight, gain muscle and bone strength and you’ll be an overall healthier person. However, if you are reading this because you were a runner and now you have arthritis, you may want a second opinion. The Stem Cell Professionals can possibly heal your joints naturally, keep you out of surgery and allow you to keep jogging. We’re located in York, Pa. Call us today!

References:

  • Runners World.com writers . RUNNER’S KNEE [Blog Post] Retrieved from http://www.runnersworld.com/tag/runners-knee
  • Gretchen Reynolds. (September 13, 2013) Why Runners Don’t Get Knee Arthritis [Blog Post] Retrieved from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/25/why-runners-dont-get-knee-arthritis/?_r=0