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Effects of running on knees and bone health (Read 1219 times)

    Today I read in a local newspaper a medical editorial (couldn't begin to tell you the doctor's name (an orthopedic) who was from Toronto) who slammed baby-boomers' facination with fitness and that we are "disasters waiting to happen." This doctor told of all kinds of instances of runners in their 50's who he's treated for knee replacements and other injuries. He then threw out some astronomical dollar amount that we spend on baby-boomer injuries each year. The editorial seems incredibly biased and opinionated with no sources quoted. Does anyone have any substantive information or can cite any studies on the long-term effects of running? I am one of those BB's who started running way back with the first wave of runners around the time of the courntry's bicentennial. I've read every running book known to mankind and most magazines too. All I see are the old runners from the Bill Rodgers era gowing old gracefully still hitting the streets and enjoying every step. Where is the truth?? FOUND THE ARTICLE: Baby Boomers: Medical Problems Waiting To Happen

    Discipline is never an end in itself, only a means to an end. (RF)


    Needs more cowbell!

      Sounds like someone who is missing the big picture, personally. What are the alternatives--obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, etc.? As if being overweight is good for a person's knees. I will be the first to admit that my knees are REALLY not happy much of the time, ever since I started running (I have a really hard time squatting). BUT the rest of me feels so fabulous and I sleep so incredibly well that I don't care. If I need knee surgery someday I will deal with that then. I've had arthritic knees since puberty, so who's to say that I would avoid knee issues by avoiding running, anyhow.

      I shoot pretty things! ~

      '14 Goals:

      • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

      • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

        In his defense, he wasn't knocking exercise and staying fit, just running specifically. I do really want to see studies if there are any out there.

        Discipline is never an end in itself, only a means to an end. (RF)


        Needs more cowbell!

          One thing I have noticed is that I know probably just as many people who are inactive who have had knee problems as I do runners who have had knee issues. My MIL and 2 of her siblings have had similar knee issues...my MIL is a runner, but not competitive or particularly high-mileage, her younger sister does marathons, and their brother who does not run at all. So in that family I would bet that genetics have more to do with their knee problems than anything. And a friend of mine who has never been athletic had similar knee surgery at about the same time. And another friend from HS's mom also had both knees replaced and was NEVER ever athletic, though she did work on her feet for most of her life. So maybe the doc has some sort of bent against runners. One thing is certain, running is a good weight-bearing exercise and is very beneficial to overall bone health. If I had to pick bad knees over risking breaking my hip in old age I will take the bad knees. My hubby's grandma just broke her ankle in 3 places a couple of weeks ago. She was simply standing and collapsed as her ankle literally shattered (she's another person who was always sedentary). And running makes me happy--mental health is a big factor for me, too. Running + Cheese = Happy Kirsten... Smile k

          I shoot pretty things! ~

          '14 Goals:

          • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

          • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

            I agree, John, I want to see the sorces. Tossing out costs and numbers without backing them up always sounds and looks impressive and the average pleb will buy into it no questions asked. But I have learned that most stats are made to fit a point of view. For example: The gun debate. If you take the anti gun's view and use their numbers applied to time proven self defence then the good old USA would have been close to zero population 30 years ago. But most people just hear a number by someone who is supposed to know so they accept it as gospel. BTW My example is only because it is something I know about, studied and understand, so I am comfortable in using it. Not trying to debate the issue on a running BB. Try searching the newpapers website for the editorial then google the Doc and see what you find. I'd be interested in the results

            To paraphrase an old poster: Today is the first day of the rest of your training. It doesn’t matter where you started or how far you’ve come. Today is the day. Your training didn’t start 6 weeks ago. Your training started the last time you hit the road. John “the Penguin” Bingham Life is not tried, it is merely survived if you're standing outside the fire

              I agree, unless you are a perfect body type, most runners will have knee soreness off and on in their careers. One key step I've taken during my training this year, is an ice bath after any long run or interval session. I fill up my bath tub with cold-only water and either buy a couple of bags of ice, on my way home from my long run, or just use all the ice in our fridge and add it to the water. I just sit and soak for about 15 mins (hey, your numb after about 4-5 mins, so it does get easy!) and, once your legs warm back up, you'll feel great! FYI, my dad was a baby boomer and he died at the age of 48 while out on his daily 5 mile run. He collasped about a mile from home and die instantly from hereditary heart disease (85% artiary clog). This occurred 2 weeks after a stress test. He was, at his last marathon, in the 3:30 range and kicked my butt running all the time (I was 20 back then). I only mention this because I find most people could care less about the negative effects of running/exercise will cause. I would rather die young doing what I enjoy, living a healthy lifestyle, then be sedate, old as hell, with dementia and having to need 20 caregivers to keep me alive (this is the flip side to my life, as this is how my father-in-law is right now and it's depressing to see him hanging on while thinking back to my own father). sorry for the rant!
              Run long, run strong


              Needs more cowbell!

                I would rather die young doing what I enjoy, living a healthy lifestyle, then be sedate, old as hell, with dementia and having to need 20 caregivers to keep me alive.
                *nods in agreement* That reminds me of this quote: The point of life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, "Holy sh*t, what a ride!" Unknown

                I shoot pretty things! ~

                '14 Goals:

                • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)


                Needs more cowbell!

                  I shoot pretty things! ~

                  '14 Goals:

                  • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                  • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                    I hear that running is bad for your knees all the time and it's always from non-runners. I even hear it from my father-in-law who is a doctor, and a 40 lb. overweight golfer. To me this a matter of perspective and getting cause & effect backwards. I'm sure this orthopedist does treat lots of baby boomers with knee problems. And I'm sure many of them report these knee problems as "running related." That is, running is what caused the pain to become so acute that they went to see the orthopedist. But the real reason they had knee problems is because they had been sedentary for decades, were way overweight and then started running to try and lose weight, did too much too soon and their knees hurt. That's his perspective. I know many non-runners who have had knee surgery. I know many serious runners including many competitive masters none of whom have had knee surgery. That's my perspective. From my own experience, running is good for your knees. It makes them stronger, balances out the muscles that support the knee, strengthens the connective tissues and reduces knee pain. I have been running on and off since age 14 (I'm 36 now) and until age 29 or 30 when I started to get somewhat serious about it I always had knee pain--because the on-again, off-again nature of my running made me a chronically new runner. Since age 30 no pain. The more I run the better my knees feel on a daily basis. And as others have said, the money we spend on preventable diseases due to obesity dwarf anything we're spending on knee injuries to runners. To my knowledge nobody ever died of runners knee.

                    Runners run.

                      John, I suppose there are some studies out there, it deoends on what results you want, I suppose. I guess one could run in a pool, walk, or golf with a video game. Frankly if one was to pay attention to all that could, and does happen to us from any activity, or inactivity, then we could just shoot ourselves and get it over with. There is one thing I have read in the bible and have never forgotten or really, most time, have not paid attention to. " IN ALL THINGS MODERATION." Now what that has to do with our running I do not know, but maybe go slow is the advice. Having said that, I know my legs are sore, but they work. Joe
                      Age is not an illusion
                      Mile Collector


                      Abs of Flabs

                        There was a little blurb in Runner's World couple of months ago. Some researcher did a study on running and knee damage. Instead of measuring the gap in the knee of runners and non-runners as a sign of wear, she asked them to rate their pains. The results said that more non-runners complained about knee pains than runners, and more non-runners have more intense pain. One may argue that it's not a scientifc study to ask subjects to rate the pain, since that's a rather subjective answer. But in the end, does it matter whether that's scientific or not that you feel less pain? The study does not say anything about whether running damages the knees. It doesn't explain why runners feel less pain. It could be that they feel less pain because they experience less pain, or they are just used to the pain and quit complaining about it a long time ago.
                        vicentefrijole


                          There was a little blurb in Runner's World couple of months ago...
                          Yeah, I caught that article.. pretty interesting. It made me wonder if runner's might experience less pain because of endorphins, runner's high, etc. Or they might just be "used to" tolerating minor pains, if that makes any sense. The research didn't answer these questions, of course.. a good study has to be VERY VERY narrowly defined in order to get a clear and statistically meaningful answer. I share everyone's frustration with non-runner's and other people who think a few anecdotal stories are conclusive of their point of view. Many, many physicians don't understand the "evidence" part of "evidence-based medicine", unfortunately.


                          You'll ruin your knees!

                            deleted content (cuz I messed up Blush)

                            ""...the truth that someday, you will go for your last run. But not today—today you got to run." - Matt Crownover (after Western States)


                            You'll ruin your knees!

                              running bad for blah, blah, blah... Undecided First knee doc tole me I couldn't run anymore in 1988, second in 1994. I guess someday, they'll be right (I like daisy's, if you're the sendin' flowers to funerals type...) By the way, neither knee injury were related to running down the road or up the trail! Gotta run, Lynn B OOPS, meant to hit modify, but hit quote instead!

                              ""...the truth that someday, you will go for your last run. But not today—today you got to run." - Matt Crownover (after Western States)


                              A Dance with Monkeys

                                I don't know the scientific studies. However, orthopedists with whom I have spoken have all stated the following: 1. Humans were meant/evolved/designed to run. 2. Running on healthy knees does very little damage if any. 3. Most running related knee damage results from running on knee injuries sustained from other sports (e.g., skiing, basketball, etc)
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