Wednesday, October 19, 2022

My Knees Will Be Fine

As an on again off again runner (lots of off, old guy respectable at the moment, haven't been impressive since I was about 25), I've long worried about my knees. "Everybody knows" runners destroy their knees eventually. I think I only briefly had some sort of knee pain. I put on a knee strap for a bit and it went away. That was a long time ago, and now I'd probably just take a break if I felt something similar.

Anyway, I'm not surprised that it's possible running doesn't hurt your knees (more studies necessary, always), and might even be beneficial.
But accumulating research, including studies from Esculier and others, generally shows the reverse. In these studies, distance running does not wreck most runners’ knees and, instead, fortifies them, leaving joints sturdier and less damaged than if someone had never taken up the sport.
Certainly you can always hurt yourself with exercise, and putting too much weight on your knees before your relevant muscles had a chance to strengthen will still do that, but that's different than "every step destroys a bit of cartilage" which had been the popular message.