Many blogs and physicians have expressed the opinion that running is bad for our bodies, especially our knees.

Paleontologist and author Brian Switek (“Skeleton Keys”, pages 57-58), would disagree. Early Homo sapiens were carnivorous and often had to compete with larger and, sometimes, faster animals for food supplies. The patella developed to improve biomechanics of the knee to make us better, more efficient runners.

The knee is the largest and most stable joint in the body. Acute injuries such as ACL and meniscus tears can be obvious sources of pain but the majority of knee pain occurs without a mechanism of injury. When this type of pain occurs, the knee is the source of symptoms but often not the location of the dysfunction.

 

Hypomobility or hypermobility of the midtarsal joints (arch) of the foot can interfere with the foot’s ability to absorb ground reaction forces and use them to propel us forward; this increases the wear on the meniscus.

Prolonged sitting can lead to tightness in the hips which limits range of motion. While the knee is primarily a hinge joint responsible for flexion and extension, it also allows some medial and lateral rotation; the knee will increase motion to compensate for restrictions in the hip. This can place excessive strain on the ACL and, to a lesser extent, the MCL and medial meniscus.