Are you thinking about getting into running, but concerned about hurting yourself? Or have you tried running in the past but were hampered by niggling injuries?
Running is an excellent way to improve our fitness and overall health. It’s great for our cardiovascular (heart) health, lungs, joints, bones, mental health, and the list goes on...
However, to be able to run comfortably, first you must prepare your body adequately so that it can withstand the stress that running places on the joints and muscles.
Running is hard work! Studies have shown that the amount of stress going through your patellofemoral joint (where your kneecap meets your thigh) can vary between 3x your body weight up to 8x your body weight, depending on how fast you're running.
One particular study (link below) has found that the compressive force going through the patellofemoral knee joint when running at 3 metres/second (roughly 10kmph - a steady pace) is up to 4.5x your body weight!
To understand how much force this really is, lets crunch a few numbers.
An 80kg person goes for a 3km run;
80kg x 4.5 = 360kg of force going through the knee with each step
A 3km run is roughly 4000 steps
4000 x 360 = 1,440,000kg total force
1,440,000/2 = 720,000kg force going through each knee on a 3km run!!
Some other things that weigh 720,000kg...
4x boeing 747 aeroplanes
Now these numbers are just estimates, but the moral of the story is that there is a lot of force going through your knees, and other joints for that matter, when you run.
So how do we stop our knees, hips and ankles from hurting when we run if there is this much force going through those joints with each step we take?
Strengthening the muscles around our hips, knee and ankle allows the muscles to absorb more of this force, keeping our joints healthy. Muscle groups such as glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves are great muscles to work on if you’d like to run comfortably for long periods of time.
If you’d like some guidance on how to get stronger to return to running safely, then come and see one of our Exercise Physiologists or Physiotherapists!
We can help assess your weak spots and provide an individualised strengthening program tailored to help you run safely and reduce the risk of any injuries.