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  • Writer's pictureDr. Gregory Lowe PT, DPT, cert. MDT, CSCS

Will Running Really Ruin Your Knees!?

If you are a runner, CrossFit athlete, triathlete, etc... chances are you've had someone tell you something along the lines of "all that running can't be good for your knees" or "you are going to be full of arthritis if you keep running as much as you do."


The worst part is that even many medical providers still hold these beliefs when there is plenty of current research to show that this simply IS NOT the case!


To give a little background info, most joints (a joint is where 2 bones meet together) in the body consist of a space in between the bones to allow them to move freely.

The bones also generally have a layer of cartilage tissue on the ends where they meet another bone and this helps with both shock absorption and the gliding of the bones.


When a joint develops arthritis, all that means is that the cartilage layer has started to wear down and the space in the joint has become narrowed...typically this leads to stiffness in the joint initially and can potentially lead to pain if specific exercises are not done.

However, a lot of the time arthritis is just a normal aging process (similarly to how our hair turns gray) and pain IS NOT always present!


There has been a widely accepted, old-school mentality that running is a specific activity that leads to arthritis.


HOWEVER, researchers published an article in the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine less than a year ago (March 2023) that reviewed 17 individual studies looking at the effect of running on the development of knee arthritis.

Very interestingly, the researchers concluded that running is not associated with knee arthritis and actually may have a PROTECTIVE EFFECT against generalized pain in the knees!!!


First off, most times people quote research it is typically from a ton of years ago... so the fact that this article was just published less than a year ago is super cool!

Also super interestingly, the researchers actually found a significantly higher report of knee pain in the non-runner groups - NO ONE EVER TALKS ABOUT THAT PART!


Too often medical providers default to recommending a patient "just stop" their sport or activity without recognizing how important that sport may be to them.

We are not naive to know that at times, full rest from a sport or activity may be required temporarily, but this should absolutely NOT be the only answer your medical provider knows to give!


Here at AWAKEN, we are committed to providing our community with the highest-level, up-to-date rehab, recovery, and training services possible - we aren't stuck in the past educating people on things that have been proven to just not be true!


We opened AWAKEN Performance Rehab to be different - a clinic that excels in helping people out of pain and injury QUICKLY with the best, most PRACTICAL STRATEGIES possible!


If you have been trying to train through a nagging pain/injury, if you have been told to "just stop running," or if you have been told "you should never try to run again," please at least just contact me (Dr. Greg) at AWAKEN for a completely free, no obligation phone consultation!

I am a sports and orthopedic physical therapy expert and a current university-level faculty who has the experience and the plan to help get you out of pain, get you back to training, and AWAKEN YOUR POTENTIAL!



Dhillon J, Kraeutler MJ, Belk JW, et al. Effects of Running on the Development of Knee Osteoarthritis: An Updated Systematic Review at Short-Term Follow-up. Orthop J Sports Med. 2023;11(3):23259671231152900. Published 2023 Mar 1. doi:10.1177/23259671231152900.

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