Does it knacker your knees

Virtually every time running is mentioned in converstion some bright spark brings up a story about someone they know who ended up with wrecked knees from running.

Is this a real possibility or are these just urban legends?

Is it that damaging and if so, why, I really enjoy it and hate the thought of having to stop at some point because I've worn myself out???

Cheers Andy.


  • You body adapts to specific demands placed upon it.  The SAID Principles - Specific Adaptation to Impossed Demands.

    If you went to work in a rice field your back would be shot in a matter of minutes. If you do too much running too soon it's possible a part of your knees could become damaged, or any other part of your body for that matter.

    A gradual sensible build up of running should incur no damage to your body whatsoever.


  • I started runningas an obese female

    Ive done nearly 70 marathons in 5 years

    I do about 40 mpw

    Im still overweight

    i have proper shoes

    and to those who go on about knees


  • living proof
  • Good for you, this is what I wanted to hear
  • If you have anything wrong with your bio-mechanics r*nning does tend to find it.
  • I've been running continuously (well more or less) for 11 years and my knees are OK.

    I used to get this wickedness and deception from my then boss, an unrepentant smoker.  His wife was a physiotherapist.  He used to tell me I'd be her next patient.  I got fed up with this abuse and told him that he'd be the heart department's next patient.  He didn't say anything more after that.

  • I think it can exacerbate sittyations that you may already have.

    On the other hand it can make you STRONG and prevent problems.

    So, my conclusion is.... I have no idea.

    But some folk will use any excuse not to get off their heiney and that might have summat to do with it.image

  • just to let you know the numbers

    was 11 stone 9

    5 2 (and a bit)

    bit lighter these dyas -sod all to do nwith running-but no knee  issues at all

    I was OBESE-and am still overweight now

    I run anyway

  • This is something that has concerned me. I didn't want to start doing any activity that was likely to cause me long term problems, so I've looked round on the internet. I read some research, sorry can't remember where, that concluded that runners are less likely to suffer painful knees than the rest of the population. Perhaps the benefits become more obvious as you get older and while the rest of the population is getting older and more decrepit, perhaps the ones who are fitter have developed stronger joints. Also read another bit of research that said that runners are no more likely to get arthritis than the rest of the population. There's quite a bit of information on the internet if you google it. It seems that injury, rather than any degenerative process, is the main thing to guard against. Runners seem to be quite susceptible to injury though so I've just ordered a book called 'injury-free running'. Will let you know what it's like if you want.


  • Its footy and rugby that does your knees in


  • True Hips, in the last  few years before I packed up football 2 of the team snapped cruciate ligaments (and both repairs have subsequently failed) and another guy needed 3 ops on his ankle to repair an injury - and that's not taking into account general knocks and wear and tear - rugby is supposed to be worse. 
  • I'm waiting for an arthroscopy for my b*ggered knee.

    It wasn't caused by running, it was caused by running incorrectly. I would rather have a b*ggered knee than a b*ggered heart, or diabetes, or a stroke. The knee will be made better, I shall build up the muscles that need building up and I will learn how to run downhill properly (quite important when you live in the Chilterns).

    My (much loved) sister was first among the 'oooo you don't wanna do that, you'll ruin your knees' brigade when I started running a few years ago. Her current smugness is tempered by the fact that she's still nearly 13 stone and I'm ... not.

  • think plodding hippo hit the nail on the head there in mentioning other sports. sports involving sharp directional change are more likely to cause wear and tear on knees than pure running. i played competitive squash and i believe this caused the problem in my left knee. it gets worse after about 20 miles.
  • Ooh I was behind Alan Hansen at the airport last year - he can barely hobble. Football is a baaaad thing for you. And its not like he'd have to have treatment on the NHS is it ?
  • If you have dodgy knees, running isn't a particularly good idea. However people in general aren't going to injure their knees by running.
  • I read a study (sorry I can't remember where) which concluded that runners are less likely to suffer joint problems like arthritis and osteoporosis but more likely to have muscle/tendon injuries. Personally I'd rather risk tendonitis than arthritis!

    And if we're talking anecdotal evidence, I was at a race on the weekend where an 85 year old was taking part (and did 8K in 51:24 on a hilly cross country course!) and it didn't seem to have ruined his knees! image

  • coughie,

     i've met oads of ex-pros over the years and the majority of them can barely walk now. it takes them about an hour to warm up. still i'd sacrifice it to say i won a league title of champions league medal. hansen has 3 of them! was it worth it? yes it was!

  • if you have dodgy knees anyway, then exercise can make them worse. But if you have no problems, then running won't damage your knees at all. I have just entered my 48th year of running and my knees are perfectly fine. Hippo is right - she's a doc!
  • This question is dealt with by Prof Tim Noakes in his 'Lore of Running', and his 10th law of running injuries states There is no definitive scientific evidence that running causes osteoarthritis in runners whose knees were normal when they started running. This last bit is key: running can certainly aggravate problems or bring out underlying problems to the surface, but as an activity running is something that our anatomy appears to deal with pretty well, and has done so for several tens of thousands of years (and for most of that time without Gel, Air, Footbridges, Trusstic, Abzorb, Grid etc etc)!!

    Go to for your daily dose of running - news, links and tips. 

  • I been playing football since I was 10 years old (now mid 30's) and running seriously for the past year to 18 months. My knees are fine.

    For me if you train right, eat right, warm up/cool down and wear the right gear the risk to damaging your knees or any other joint is greatly reduced. You will never eliminate the risk but I believe in getting the basics right will significantly mitigate any risk running or any other sport may have on your body.
  • What's with all the runflux spam, Huw? Stoppit! image
  • I started running specifically because I had a dodgy knee

    It's much better now image

  • I have knackered my knee and running keeps me going as it builds the muscle which holds the leg together.
  • Ru
  • What i meant to say

    Running is ok. BUT

    Falling in Love is hard on the knees

    if you listen to Steven Tyler and Aerosmith image

  • joddlyjoddly ✭✭✭
    My husband's an orthopaedic surgeon, and has taken up running in his mid-forties despite having had knee surgery as a young 'un (ie. he hasn't got perfect knees to start with). If he felt it was doing more harm than good he wouldn't do it (an intellectual orthopaedic surgeon, really) - so it must be OK!!
  • A lot of ex pro footballers have dodgy knees because they were pros - lots of pressure on them to play through injuries.  I used to play football and rugby and while rugby can result in some pretty horiffic injuries (but hey they were always good to look at or talk about afterwards) football has a much greater risk  of traumatic injury.

     Running in a straight(ish) line in running shoes without any injuries is good for your knees.

  • I had peak weight of over 15 stone, started running at 14 and a half, upper end of good weight for me is 10 stone 6.  At my worst I was having to take breaks on the walk back from the supermarket and going up the 2 floors to my flat. I was also getting a lot of pains in my knees.  At the time I started running I was gradually re-gaining weight having lost it on the Atkins diet, and felt I was looking at ending up in a wheelchair if I didn't do something to change my course in life.

    2 years on I'm 13 stone and gradually losing at the moment.  I can now run 3 miles without stopping to walk.  I have confirmed-by-xray osteoarthritis in my neck, and would give good odds I've got it mildly elsewhere, including in my knees.  But my knees generally feel better.  My neck certainly gets more painfull if I don't run for a while.  I did go through a stage where my knees started giving me problems, but that turned out to be due to core stability issues: I guess when you are generally as unfit as me to start with then just getting the big muscles fit is not enough to ensure you don't get injuries.  I had a prescribed course of core stability classes (mostly pilates) which sorted that out.

    I guess my message would be that you might have to put up with slow progress if you have underlying problems, and take extra care if you are generally unfit to start.  But I've done 2 marathons and 3 halves and I'm not in that wheelchair!

    Talking of rugby and wheelchairs: has anyone seen wheelchair basketball?  (Do they call it murder ball or something?)  Anyway, I saw a film on it once, and most of the players seemed to be ex rugby players who'd broken their backs and still didn't want to give up rugby!

Sign In or Register to comment.