By Clarissa Rivera
Running is certainly one of the most effective and simplest ways to exercise. However, it can also be relatively high-impact. That means it might not be ideal in certain circumstances.
For instance, if you’ve been experiencing knee pain, you should consult with your doctor to learn if running is still a good workout option. Even if your doctor does allow you to run, you’ll need to take certain precautions until you fully recover.
This naturally involves choosing the right footwear. Wearing supportive footwear that can absorb the shock of the impact when your feet hit the ground is always essential when running. When you’re running with knee pain, it’s even more important.
You also need to choose the right surfaces on which to run. You don’t want to prolong your recovery period by running on the wrong surfaces and doing even more damage! The following points will help you better understand which surfaces you may want to avoid, reducing the odds that you’ll worsen your injury.
Where to Run (and Where Not to Run) When Your Knees Hurt
It’s worth noting that there’s no scientific consensus regarding which surfaces are worth staying away from if you’re running with knee pain. The information in this article simply represents the orthopaedic community’s basic current understanding of the subject.
For instance, one recent study involved some participants running on grass and others running on asphalt. The study was designed to measure the different ways both surfaces impacted the feet of runners. As you may have guessed, the results of the study indicated that running on grass had less of an impact than running on asphalt. Researchers were able to draw these conclusions by applying pressure-sensing insoles to the shoes of the study participants and analyzing the data they provided.
It’s also important to remember that running outdoors is not your only option. Research shows that running on a treadmill could theoretically result in an even lesser impact on the joints than running on any other common outdoor surfaces. You may want to consider this option if you’re currently struggling with knee pain and have access to a treadmill.
None of this is meant to say the research on this subject is conclusive. Experts point out that the current research hasn’t been able to address certain factors that will naturally contribute to the way running on specific surfaces may affect a runner’s joints.
For instance, stride and overall physical condition will vary from one runner to another. A surface that has a significant impact on one runner’s joints might not necessarily have the same impact on someone else’s. Although it makes sense that running on softer surfaces would result in less impact (partially due to the fact that soft surfaces give the body more time to adjust), researchers also point out that you should consider your own comfort levels when deciding which surface to run on.
Basically, you need to stick to essential advice. Listen to your body, consult with your physician, and wear the right supportive footwear. This is key to staying safe when running with knee pain.