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Does long distance running damage the knee's cartilage?

Interesting Runner's Knee study that one of my teachers sent me today...what's your experience with this condition?

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Comment by Zac Carter on September 19, 2009 at 12:23am
Mike, do you have any theories as to what may of happened to your body/mind/spirit when that acupuncturist treated you? One Treatment!.. is very impressive.
Comment by rudy m smith on August 21, 2009 at 5:01am
Human beings are funny creatures - we do things TO EXTREME throwing moderation out the window and we wonder why things weaken and eventually break. I treat a lot of runners and triathaletes a few at the pro level. Here is what I see... injuries happen a lot in the just getting started group who are not in shape and try to do too much too soon. Then on the opposite end of the spectrum is the hi performance bodies. They get injured but from doing too intense an activity for too long or too hard. Now as you read the last to reasons for injuries you realy see the same thing - people increasing the intensity of their work outs to quickly! Fat or Skinny. My middle group, I call the moderators, they just want to have fun and get in shape. They do not get hurt as often or as bad as the first two groups because they plug along a a pace comfortable for their bodies. Hmmm.
We also have to take a serious look at genetics. Bad knees do run in some families. Pun intended.Taya Pointed out something important, overweight people use their bodies differently. Women especially put more weight on in the hips first - this forces them to spread their legs apart more as they walk (waddle). This gate shift puts a lot of strain on medial knees surfaces and trochantic glide points FRICTION! We all know where friction leads. I spend a good bit of time teaching people about their bodies so they can choose how to use or abuse them. I love tennis players - money in the bank - knees don't do well with constant lateral torque.
Comment by Mike Hinkle on August 20, 2009 at 6:20pm
Yep, that's me!
Comment by Taya Countryman LMT on August 20, 2009 at 2:01pm
With over 30 years of experience I find that wear of cartilage has more to do with the articulation of the feet, lower leg, and knee. I have a patient who has been training and running marathons for 25 plus years. He finally had a minor complaint about heel pain at the achillies attachment. Overweight people use their feet, legs, and hips differently and are usually not articulating with ease. Taya Countryman
Comment by Erik Dalton on August 20, 2009 at 7:06am
Won't be long until FDA approves a new artificial cartilage that may help you. My genetic-researcher son-in-law believes they're very close to growing a persons own cartilage in a petrie dish and injecting back into thinning areas covering the femur.
Contrary to popular belief, the knee's cartilage is not a pain's the highly innervated subcondral bone beneath the cartilage that causes much of the pain (and the joint capsule's synovial membrane).

Civilizations have used the deep squat position for centuries to work, eat, deliver babies, etc. As our population has transitioned from an active group of movers to a bunch of sitters, we've become a flexion-addicted society and now many of us can't squat without pain. During walking and running, at heel strike, the tibia must internally rotate and the IT-band and vastus lateralis are designed to restrain this movement. However, lower quadrant muscle imbalances wreak havok on the patella and surrounding tissues. Please visit to view a Massage Today article titled "Patella Pain" that discusses runners knee and other related conditions.

Good luck with those knees Felicia. Hope your therapist keeps your soft tissues and joints aligned and functioning properly until the artificial cartilage hits the market.
Comment by Felicia Brown on August 20, 2009 at 3:48am
Thanks for sharing this link, Erik. As a nearly 40 year-old runner, the article gives me hope. As a former figure skater who literaly pounded the ice hundreds and hundreds of times with one knee or the other when missing jumps (not to mention all the impact from the ones I landed) and then later injured both knees in a car accident, I worry about having real knee problems down the road. But in relation to the squatting issue - I can run on the treadmill twice a week for about an hour - no pain while running, mild soreness afterwards at times. But if I squat deeply for 15 seconds, I am hobbling like an old woman and can feel it all day long. That's gotta tell you something.
Comment by Erik Dalton on August 19, 2009 at 6:45pm
Great story Mike. That opens a whole debate on the issue of deep-squatting. Anyone have any thoughts pros & cons of squatting. Serge Gracovetsky certainly has strong (controversial) opinions on the subject and proper lifting habits as well.
Comment by Mike Hinkle on August 19, 2009 at 5:57pm
Neat article. Okay, what I got was: if you run - don't stop, if you are over-weight - lose the weight, before running and if you have an injury it will effect your ability to run most likely! With no previous injury and continuous use, I say "NO" it ill not damage the cartilage. Test them again in 10 more years!

I was a cross-country runner in middle school and in high school. I played catcher in baseball and linebacker in football. At twenty five, I stopped from the pain non-stop sports had done to my lower back and knees. I suffered tremendously for twenty years. In massage school, my fear was my back would never last. An acupuncturist came to our school and two days later, he work on me. One session has made me "Pain Free" for five years.

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