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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My knees are fine, thanks.

Everyone's always asking or expressing concern about my knees. They seem convinced that all this running will do them in. Actually, it's generally lateral movement (tennis, basketball, soccer, skiing, etc) or being overweight that causes problems.

A lot of folks who develop knee problems while running are experiencing delayed problems from damage they did when they were younger. Yet another major study confirms what I've been saying:
The study also showed that people cannot use the risk of injury as an excuse not to run -- the runners had fewer injuries of all kinds, including to their knees.
Actually, that's just an aside to the main article, titled: "Want to Live a Long Life? Run."

Bottom line: Even if you start late in life, running will do good things for your body and mind.

A study in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found no evidence of accelerated rates of osteoarthritis among long-distance runners when compared with healthy nonrunners. "We used to say that osteoarthritis came from wear and tear. That's now revised to say that is can result from tear but not wear," says James Fries, emeritus professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine and senior author of the study. Moreover, weight-bearing exercise like running helps stave off osteoporosis by maintaining bone mineral density.


Anonymous said...

This is an interesting area of study, but it's difficult to draw universal conclusions. For example, this from the article:

"Most of the volunteers did some exercise, but runners exercised as much as 200 minutes a week, compared to 20 minutes for the non-runners."

That's a max of 200 minutes a week. What about distance runners who run far in excess of that? Is there a point of diminishing returns?

Regardless, every runner has endured the warnings from nonrunners that we are ruining our knees. Nice to see some studies being done that actually address the issue.

Mark Swanson said...

If the "wear and tear" rebuttal is true (problems may be due to tears, but not wear) then it shouldn't matter how many minutes. I suppose a fall could result in a tear and the more you run the greater your chance of a fall.

Additional study would have to take into account running surfaces, type of footwear, speed, past histories, genetics, etc. But there is no objective reason to believe that running is bad for your knees, despite popular opinion to the contrary.

David Haddon said...

OK already! So now that my glucosamine/MSM has got my knees back in shape as verified by backpacking some steep trails I'm thinking about getting back into running whenever the smoke goes away--i.e., when the snow flies in November, D.V. This despite the articles snub of those in their 70s. My question is, what do tears have to do with it. I'm sure you extreme distance runners shed a lot of them with all the suffering you do, but I don't see how having functional tear ducts affects the joints.