It is absolutely natural for your joints to take on some wear and tear over the years, but many individuals exacerbate this process with activities that can be hard on their joints.
For runners, the primary concern is the knee joint. Your knees absorb a considerable amount of shock while you are running, which can lead to painful joint issues.
It is entirely possible for runners to take proper care of their knee joints without giving up on running altogether. By knowing all of the major factors that impact your joint health, you can better treat and prevent potential damage to your knee joints while still enjoying the activities that you love like running.
Sadly, some aspects of your joint health are not under your control. Just like some people will inherit personality traits from their parents, they will also inherit physical ones.
An individual’s body may not be able to control inflammation of the joints as well as others, which can cause an increase in the amount of swelling and potential pain felt by the runner. This type of inflammatory dysfunction can be dependent upon your family history.
Another key component that can be hereditary is the person’s body mass index. Additional weight can distress the knee joint, especially when you consider that this weight is being heaved downward on top of it with each stride the runner takes.
What is Your Body Telling You?
Another important consideration is how your body is currently dealing with the aftermath of your runs. Before jumping to any immediate conclusions about your running and how it is related to your joint health, you should make sure that you are following all of the best practices by:
- Wearing appropriate shoes that fit comfortably and provide enough support for your runs.
- Not putting too much strain on your body by overdoing the running or other activities.
- Always stretching properly before beginning a run.
- Conditioning your body by gradually increasing the intensity of your running activities.
Know Your Limits
Many runners have caused undue stress to their joints by not resting when necessary. It is important to understand that your body can only handle so much, especially as you age and your knees begin to wear down.
Exercise is an excellent way to prevent pain from osteoarthritis because it is good to keep the joint performing regular motions, but only if you are making a true effort to lessen the potential damage that running can cause to your joints.
See a Professional
Another great way to be more informed on your joint health and how running can impact it is by seeing an orthopedic specialist or sports medicine physician. They will be able to help you take all the right steps in preventing further damage to your knees while also helping you get back to running.