Is Running Bad for Your Knees?

In today’s video I ask the question "Is running bad for your knees?" I’ll show you what the research studies have found and I’ll take you through several examples to uncover the truth.

Should you really listen to anyone that says running is bad for your knees? Or should you forget what they say and carry on with your running? Find out in this video.

As a special bonus you also get to see me get soaking wet. It’s ok you can laugh if you want 🙂

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21 Responses to Is Running Bad for Your Knees?

  1. Kate says:

    I’m just about to go for a run. It was great to hear James saying that running isn’t bad for your knees as this very week someone, hearing that I have started running, said that it is too hard on your knees and therefore not good for you. It began a niggling doubt in my mind which I can now dismiss. I’ll go and run now with no fears for my knees. Thank you James

    • James says:

      That’s great Kate.

      Enjoy your running, and enjoy developing a healthier and fitter body. You have so much to gain.

  2. dana hansen says:

    Great video!
    I want to add that when I started running, I already had a 10 year old injury on my right knee.( a bad fall from the bike).
    It flared up and built up some fluid after a few weeks into running.
    I could FEEL a little “bag” of “water” in it , every now and then.
    I nursed it with compresses, and wore a knee brace for a while.
    SINCE then , I never had any more problems with it, no fluid, no swelling.
    Keep running and enjoy the benefits!
    Bravo James!

    • James says:

      Thank you for sharing your experiences Dana.

      You have highlighted some of my comments from the video. You had an existing knee problem and a weak knee which running then aggravated at the start.

      However, over time running made your knee stronger so now you don’t have any problems. Also because your knee is in a lot better condition it means you’ll avoid all kinds of problems as you get older which you would have got with a weak knee.

      • dana hansen says:

        Yes, that’s correct!
        My knees are good and strong now.
        I continue to enjoy the good advice in each video.
        By the way, you look as smashing as ever, even in the rain….haha!
        Thank you , I look forward to the next motivating video.

  3. Ronnie A Sage says:

    Great video James you are looking more comfortable with each video this info will help me to keep pushing myself I am now running 2 miles a day 4 days a week and on the days I dont run I feel like I want to run but I know that this a marathon not a sprint i’m in this for the long term thanks for all the help.

  4. Pauline says:

    Like Dana, I had an injury which has got so much better with running. When my son was only a few weeks old, I was carrying him in a front carrier, and carrying a change bag on my shoulder and the result was a rather nasty pinging in my right hip, which continued on and off since then. There was a period up to a couple of weeks ago where it would niggle while I was running but that was usually a sign that my form had slipped. Anyway, no niggle now for a couple of weeks, so I think that my body has become stronger and the discomfort has disappeared. Hopefully for good!

  5. Dave says:

    Would appreciate anyones assistance on this one. I have been running now for six weeks after quite a few of retiring from football and developed aching sensations above my heels presumably on the achilles. This in turn has presented me with a right tight calf that feels like its ready to pop at anytime. I know I put my body through the mill over the 25 years I played football but during that time never had any achilles or calf problems. Your thoughts would be most welcome.

    • James says:

      With that problem Dave I would ease off running straight away and visit a physio if you can for specific advice and treatment.

      You don’t want any serious problems with your achilles because they can take some time to get better.

  6. Irina Radulescu says:

    Bad for the knees ? Well….when I started running, 1 year and a half ago, I had a few weeks of “bad knees”, I mean they were hurting…even at night, while sleeping. I did not get discouraged , I also had pain in my sheens (remember James ?) . What did I do ? I kept running. ….I massaged my knees and my sheens with oil…really. After a couple of weeks the pain was gone and it never came back. I think it’s just the body’s adjustment. What do you think , James ?
    P.S. Cute as ever…even in the rain !

    • James says:

      Yes I remember Irina. Your body was just struggling a bit to get into running, but once you got stronger and fitter you were fine.

      Cute??? You should have gone to Specsavers 🙂
      (that’s a shop in the UK that sells glasses)

  7. Fiona says:

    Thanks again James for your advice. Yes, I was the same as Irena but now find all my aches and pains have gone. In the early days, I couldnt walk when I got out of bed the day after a run but thanks to your tips I make sure I do all the correct stretches and my trainers are the correct ones for my “flat” feet. Up to running 5.5 miles now comfortably with no sore knees, shins or feet.

    Think we all need to club together and buy you an umbrella if you are going to continue giving us all this good advice from the great northern outdoors.

    • James says:

      That’s great Fiona, I’m glad that you’re injury free and are doing well with your running.

      It’s common for people to struggle a bit physically to get into running and that’s where most people will quit. When you keep going and don’t quit at the first obstacle then you can experience some great benefits.

      Also Fiona, an umbrella would be great but why stop there? I wouldn’t say no to a new pair of running shoes 🙂

      Have a great weekend everyone!

  8. Jean says:

    Hi James

    Thanks for the great advice.
    When I was doing a lot of running in 2007. I had no problems with my knees but since stopping and gaining a little weight (28lb) my knees would hurt just from walking. I started running again about 8 weeks ago and can feel the difference already. Iam running 3 or 4 times a week and my aches and pains have gone.

    So it is not running what is bad for your knees but stopping running and gaining weight.

    Thanks again for the great advice

  9. Wendy says:

    I’ve finally had a chance to see one of your videos. I’m really glad. I was just talking myself out of going for a run and now I’m inspired to go!

    I used to run and had far less aches and pains especially in my knees and hips than I did when I stopped. Hence why I am running again! I’ve been running for a month, 2 to 3 times a week and I feel so much better already, fitter, stronger, and I believe I have dropped a couple of pounds.

    As you say people will always listen to the negative comments as an excuse not to exercise! Now there is no excuse for anyone!

    You regular mails and videos are keeping me motivated so keep up the good work!

  10. Nicoleta says:

    Last year I had terrible pain in my feet when I woke up in the morning. I could barely walk for the first 5 minutes when I got out of bed. Initially I thought it is maybe my diet so I switched to being vegetarian. That did not solve the problem. After I started running though, the pain went away within weeks.
    I was also surprised to hear running is NOT bad for your knees. I’ve been hearing that for years, now I know it is not true. Thanks James.

    • James says:

      You’re very welcome Jean, Wendy and Nicoleta. I’m glad you found my video useful

      Also thank you for sharing your experiences. I know a lot of people are finding them helpful and motivating.

  11. Estelle says:

    Hi James

    I’m not up to running yet, but find your emails/blog so encouraging.

    I did a 10 mile charity walk last year and had the same problem with my feet hurting for a long time afterwards. This meant I gave up going to my fitness class and even the three mile walks with the dog I had been doing as preparation. I put on 2 stone over Christmas doing nothing. Since the New Year I have joined a local gym and go 5 or 6 times a week for an hour +, plus started walking the dog again. Reading up about it I found the pain in my feet was due to the tight muscles in my lower legs pulling on the muscles in my feet, so I make sure I stretch them at least twice every time I go to the gym. I’ve also been to a running shop and brought a new pair of trainers that they fitted. I’ve stopped getting cramp when I try to run for a few mins and my feet feel so much better.

    Since Christmas I’ve had people tell me not to run it will damage my knees, it will turn me funny, not to go to the gym as I’m not fit enough/I’m too old/too fat, not to eat grapes or tomatoes as they are fattening, all sorts of rubbish.

    My new years resolution was not to listen to other people, (except my doctor, I’ve had caner and take heart medication since chemo) and I’m feeling so much more positive plus I’ve lost nearly a stone in weight!

    • James says:

      Well done with what you’ve done so far Estelle. You are doing well with the exercise after chemo and with losing some weight.

      It’s a good New Year’s resolution you set there, especially with people telling you things like that. I still think it’s ok to listen to others but just take into account whether they really have a clue what they are talking about.

  12. Gary says:

    Hi James enjoyed your video.
    Is it ok to run every night? or is it adviseable to take a break between runs.
    i just started running and enjoy it and miss it if i dont run.

    • James says:

      It depends on your current fitness and running ability really. Since you’ve just started running you shouldn’t try running every night or you’ll have a higher risk of injury.

      If you were to get that stage where you run every night you should have some easier runs to allow your body to recover.