Most doctors will tell their patients who suffer from knee pain that its important to do some sort of exercise to relieve knee pain but the constraints on those exercises are that they should be low impact on your joints. Some of the exercises recommended for knee pain are usually light jogging or brisk walks. This limits patients from progressing in terms of pace and running quality.
Some patients who love outdoor activities love to run and their knee pain and doctors advice overpowers their ability to progress in their physical exercises. New research has now proven that running faster overtime can actually be just as good for knee pain as a brisk walk. Therefore limiting physical exercise related to the knee is no longer an issue.
Researchers surveyed runners logging 1KM at 5, 7 and 8 miles an hour. For each individual stride, they found that the faster people ran, the more stress was put on the knee. However, the faster you run, the fewer strides you make to cover the same distance. That means speeding up actually allows your knees to absorb less impact over your whole run.
Scott Weiss, a New York-based exercise physiologist and athletic trainer also added that why some doctors are skeptical about running as an exercise for knee pain patients would be more related to the fact that runners with knee pain do not tend to train properly and dive in head first without considering the consequences.
Training properly is key. The main issue people have when increasing speed: They tend to start running on their toes. But running on your toes can’t be maintained without your lower legs taking a beating, Weiss explains. “Since we became bipedal (using two legs to walk), natural human gait has been to land on the heel of the foot—and that’s the best way to absorb shock from the body,” Weiss says.
Another tip to learn to run faster is called heel-striking and must be done with the help of a running coach. Increasing your stride length and heel landing is key to decreasing the shock to joint. Its safe to say that if you love to run you can master running fast over time and not worry about increasing your overall knee pain at all.