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Jogging/Running and effects on knee joint

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  • Jogging/Running and effects on knee joint

    To give some context here:

    - I was an athlete my entire life and played a bunch of sports up until my senior year of high school. When I was a sophomore, I tore my left ACL and lateral meniscus playing football. I had reconstructive surgery and was able to play one more season for my junior year, but after that I just seemed to keep re-injuring the knee when playing lacrosse in the spring.
    - I had two more additional surgeries during high school, believing this would bring me back to sports for college, and was sadly unable to play sports for my senior year to do all the knee surgeries and opted not to play sports during college
    - Skip forward to 8 years later and I have stayed in decent shape, though admittedly I didn't do much barbell training, mostly jumping rope, calisthenics, and long distance running
    - The last few years I have begun relatively serious barbell and resistance training, which I have loved, but I noticed that my "bad" knee would get pretty swollen, painful, and sore/stiff which is probably expected to some extent
    - I decided to have another surgery, which admittedly was probably not worth it, but at the time I really wanted to be pain free and I just wasn't, so I opted to do a minimally invasive surgery to remove scar tissue and loose bodies from the knee joint area, and it went well (I guess?)
    - Now, I would like to be able to incorporate some running to my training

    My question is: I have heard from some knowledgeable (at least I figured they were at the time) fitness folks online that say running, particularly jogging, is "bad" for the knee joints due to the repeated eccentric loading on the joint, particularly for those with prior knee issues. Is this true? if I jog regularly, would you think that this is likely to further aggravate the knee joint and contribute to increased pain levels in my knee, or will my body eventually adapt to this loading, provided I have adequate nutrition and strength training habits? or should I stick to fast walking, or some other type of lower impact cardio to "protect" my knee joint?

    I am "weird", in that I enjoy going for jogs outside for my GPP days and I feel like its just the most efficient method of cardio for me, so if it is not harmful to the joint and isn't likely to increase pain or tissue breakdown, I would like to increase the dose.

    Apologies if this question is far longer than preferred, I just wanted to give proper context given my situation is far from normal I would think. Thank you in advance.

  • #2
    My question is: I have heard from some knowledgeable (at least I figured they were at the time) fitness folks online that say running, particularly jogging, is "bad" for the knee joints due to the repeated eccentric loading on the joint
    This is a myth.

    If I jog regularly, would you think that this is likely to further aggravate the knee joint and contribute to increased pain levels in my knee, or will my body eventually adapt to this loading, provided I have adequate nutrition and strength training habits? or should I stick to fast walking, or some other type of lower impact cardio to "protect" my knee joint?
    You can adapt to this loading, and your knee does not need to be "protected". Running is not inherently harmful/dangerous to the knee joint, just like squatting (including things like high bar or front squatting) isn't inherently harmful or dangerous to the knee joint.

    The more relevant consideration with respect to pain and injury is the DOSAGE of activity (e.g., intensity, volume) relative to the individual's level of adaptation/fitness. Doing more than you are prepared to handle, doing too much/too soon, or sudden dramatic increases in workload can increase the risk for experiencing pain. This is where we focus our attention when it comes to mitigating the risk of symptoms, and managing them if/when they do occur.

    You may find some of the discussion in this article helpful: https://www.barbellmedicine.com/blog...steoarthritis/
    IG / YT

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    • #3
      Thanks for the clarification.

      And just so I am clear, the fact that my knee has been through so much trauma and surgeries does not make any significant difference here?

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      • #4
        It simply means you need to adjust your workloads based on your current abilities, tolerance, and goals ... just like everyone else. Your starting point might be different, but your joint can still adapt.

        Reading through your history, I suspect the biggest reason for your recurrent injuries after your initial ACL repair was likely related to insufficient rehab to build sufficient quadriceps strength prior to your return to sport. I also suspect your subsequent training history from there may not have followed the best programming for your situation.

        If you would like individual guidance on how to go about this process, our rehab team would be happy to help.
        IG / YT

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