Some Science on Running

Last week my doctor told me to stop running because the pounding was hard on my “joints, bones, everything” and might be aggravating my shoulder issue. (spoiler: yesterday no shoulder pain despite running. Jury is still out but they’re leaning). So yesterday while I was running I got curious about what I would find if I put two different phrases into my search bar: “is running bad for your joints” and “is running good for your joints.”

Here’s what I found under “is running bad for your joints”:

Is Running Bad for Your Knees? Maybe Not. (Time)

Is Running Bad for Your Knees? (GQ)

5 Experts Answer: Is Running Bad for Your Knees? (livescience)

And under “is running good for your joints”:

Is Running Bad or Good for Knee Cartilage? (livestrong)

The Benefits of Running (Why Running is Good for Your Joints) (Runners World)

Put Those Shoes On: Running Won’t Kill Your Knees (NPR)

In neither case did I find any reputable source stating that running is bad for your joints, bones, or knees, or any article quoting any scientific study that showed the same. What the largest studies on the matter have found are that osteo-arthritis and other joint problems are largely genetic and that running doesn’t seem to predispose you to them one way or another, but ALSO that running seems to have a prophylactic effect against them by helping the cartilage in your knee to thicken. From the NPR article: “After imaging the joints of the participants in both study groups, they found that the biochemistry of cartilage actually appeared to improve in those participants who were running.”

It seems my doctor may be a bit behind the times on that particular topic. She’s still a great doctor, just misinformed in this case.

So…I’mma run. Extra bonus: it’s good for my bones. (NY Times)


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