can exercise wear out my joints

Patients frequently ask me about health studies they have read or heard about and express concerns about the potential risks they’ve just learned of.

The difficulty with many health studies is knowing how to apply information to real-life situations in a useful way, instead of allowing them to scare us.

Impact forces and the joints

For example, recent research demonstrated that the knees can absorb a peak impact g-force of 5 when a person walks in normal shoes. The researches also measured the force at the base of the skull, which measured 0.5 g. This means is a force equal to 5 times the individual’s weight is absorbed at the knee during walking, and as the force progresses up the skeleton to the skull it dissipates to 0.5 g. But still the force is reaching that point.

So as a runner, I begin thinking about all that force being transmitted up my skeleton, and I wonder what is going to happen if joints can’t manage that force in a healthy way. Well, actually, I know what is going to happen—the joints will deteriorate and wear out.

I then have to think about my options—do I stop running so I don’t wear out, or do I keep running? I have decided to keep running, but I try to be smart about it. I do things that reduce the stress of the impact with orthotics and good shoes (and replace them when needed). I get adjusted regularly to help my whole body manage the stress (not only of running but all the other stuff too). I try to get enough sleep to allow my body down time to heal and repair. And I also take the supplements that give my body the nutrition it needs to maintain health and promote healing.

Being Proactive

Now this isn’t a guarantee that I will never have pain, because I do, but it helps me live an active life. I know that at times I have to slow down a little and let my body catch up. I know that I can’t control everything, but I manage and control those aspects of my health that I can. The more pro-active and engaged you are in the process of your health, the better it is going to be and the happier you are going to be with it.

So whether you want to start becoming more active or if pain or health issues are keeping you from living the life you want, please talk to us. We’ll help you come up with a health plan and realistic goals.



Photo credit: Chema Concellón via Compfight