A common misconception is that running gives you knee arthritis. It makes sense right, all that pounding and straining would cause damage to your knees.
Well, it isn’t true.
Numerous studies have found that the incidence of knee arthritis in runners is lower than other exercises. [Nerd alert] A 2013 study looked at the the ground reaction force experience by the knees of runners over a certain distance and compared it to walking. They found that, while each stride is 2-3x the force compared to walking, due to the decreased strides needed to cover the same distance, compared to walking, the total force accepted by the knees was the same. [Nerd alert ended]
So what the heck does this mean for you? First off, you don’t have to worry about running giving you knee arthritis, it is actually good for your knees if done properly. Secondly, just because you won’t get knee arthritis from running doesn’t mean you can’t get other knee injuries, think patellar tendonitis for example. Most runners will tell you that they have had aches and pains from time to time. Most of these pains are caused by over-use, which simply means they ran too far, too fast, or too frequently. This is the biggest problem in the running community.
Remember that there are numerous other considerations that are important when starting any fitness plan, such as general health, non-arthritis injuries, cardiovascular health, etc. Make sure you consult your physical therapist to make sure that running is right for you and your knees.