Running and the impact on your knees

16 February 2023

Dr Mark Matthews is a Sports Physiotherapist with an extensive amount of clinical experience. Mark is a researcher and lecturer in Sports and Exercise Medicine at Ulster University School of Sport. 

Read below to see what Mark had to say about running and the impact on your knees.    

Running and the impact on your knees
Will running ruin my knees?
No. In fact it is quite the opposite with research suggesting regular impact activity like running and walking improve your joint health. Your joints are made up of articular cartilage and a lubricating fluid. The cartilage is a smooth tissue that covers the end of the bones, where they come together at the joints, and the fluid helps to keep them moving smoothly. Cartilage has no blood supply, so it needs regular cyclic compression (i.e. running, walking) to move the nutrients around inside of your joint to keep it healthy.
Evidence suggests running protects the knee, with recreational runners having less signs of wear and tear (i.e. osteoarthritis) than those who don’t run. Even in those with wear and tear changes, regular self-paced running can improve your joint health. As the saying goes, move it or lose it, rings true for the cartilage of your joints. Then there are the benefits of regular activity for the muscles around the joints, the body and your overall health and wellbeing.     

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