First of all, as runners we should really appreciate how to keep running will make us much healthier, prolong our lifespan and support our joint health. As runners, often we worry about our joint health, knee issues and many more body issues.
We know that healthy joints are important for our everyday lives, to simply move, walk in our everyday life, with less pain. To know what protects our joints, keeps them working well or how joints get affected is important knowledge.
Running is a high impact sport and not taking care and looking after our joints can cause issues with the hips, knees, spine, ankles, and big toes. According to some research, 1/3 of adults have reported joint pain, but there is absolutely no higher rate of joint issues in runners than non-runners. Actually, according to some research, runners tend to have healthier joints due to regular runs, constant movement, muscle strength, weight management and healthier lifestyles and lifespan.
Joint Health Tips for Runners
A joint is where two bones meet and in the case of runners, we’re focused largely and use more the joints that are moveable and many of which have cartilage. Cartilage allows our bones to glide over one another, by preventing our bones from rubbing against each other.
We should focus on the bone, and also on protecting that cartilage from wear and tears.
1. Stop Over Striding
Improving our running form is one of the fastest ways to prevent knee pain from running.
When our foot lands in front of the body, that causes a breaking effect absorbed by the knees.
Landing the foot under the hip allows all of our muscles to absorb the impact.
2. Strengthen Your Muscles
The second most important tool for all runners is strength training. Glutes, hips and a core that are strong and activated will keep our body in proper alignment. Without that strength, when we take a step, our knee starts to fall inward. Patellofemoral pain syndrome, or runner’s knee, is usually not about the joint, but the running form and lack of strength to keep our body aligned. When our glutes aren’t fully activated, other muscles try to compensate for the workload. This causes fatigue that will pull our hips, our knees, our ankles all out of their natural alignment. Resolving this is surprisingly easy, to perform some core training session 2-3 times/week will provide long-term joint health as a runner’s life protection plan.
3. Add and Alternate Different Running Surfaces- Road and Trail
Running on concrete is actually harder on the body than asphalt. That is why we see so many of us long time runners on the side of the road instead of the sidewalk.
Having the opportunity to run on the trail, or track and field, or a treadmill also provide additional impact reduction that can save our joints. Trail running activates our muscles differently, and different joint impact than road running. To combine road and trail running weekly is one of the best training options for better joint health and muscle strength. Even to perform a weekly run on the treadmill keeps our joints much happier, less impact means less pressure on our knees, back and ankles.
4. Choose the Right Running Shoes
It’s not about how our shoes look but more about how the shoe helps our body run through the kilometres. We need to find the right running shoes according to our foot type, running form and body type, which is never easy. Some runners might need more cushioning or more neutral shoes. To find and test the right type of shoes is essential to support and protect our joint health, running form and performance.
Foot strike is how our foot hits the ground and moves through a range of motion. If our foot is constantly rolling inward, then the knee is being placed at an angle and rubbing through our cartilage.
We need to make sure that we perform the core strength training sessions. Once our core and glutes and stronger, a stability shoe or insole could provide the additional support to keep up a great running form.
Cushioned shoes can help reduce impact. But overly cushioned shoes can change our form and cause more unstable landing and running form.
Stability shoes can provide support. But can hide that our hips are weak.
Look for the right shoe type by testing your foot type- overpronation (flat arch), neutral pronation (medium arch), underpronation/supination (high arch).
5. Daily Supplements to Support Our Joint Health
The Best Joint Supplement For Runners and Athletes.
Joint health for runners is very stressful, but it shouldn’t scare us. Running is an amazing sport and with some easy options and recommendations, we can keep running for many, many kilometres and for life with better joint and muscle health. Again, some research has shown that runners can live a longer life that non-runners, up to eight years.
Run, Run, Run, Support Your Body, Better Joint Health and Longer Lifetime!