FEELING GREAT: Running is not the only cause of arthritis

To the runners of Hartlepool, I must apologise.

After last week’s column where I questioned whether or not we were born to run and the accelerated rate of arthritis runners risk, I got questions.

In fact, via my email and from one or two patients in clinic, I faced some serious quizzing from runners defending their thing.

Which is great.

Because I always think if people care enough to ask and debate, then they’re much more likely to be in a position to make the best decision for the sake of their health.

And when it comes to a future with or without hips and knees, it pays to be informed as best as is possible.

My job as a physio sometimes means that we’re exposed to things much more frequently that others would see. And that can influence our thoughts.

A bit like the uptight policeman who doesn’t like his teenage daughter spending anytime with any boys.

And why would he? Each of the teenage boys he comes in to contact with every day, well, they’re not the kind he wants sitting at his dinner table or taking his daughter out to the cinema.

And it’s the same in my world.

We see the always bad effects – the knees swelling, hips stiffening and backs weakening, and we hear the cause.

Running for 20-30 years on the hard surfaces is without doubt the chief villain. But it’s not the only one. Running has a few partners in crime.

Gasp, but swimming is one of them! Did you know that breaststroke is bad for your knees? In the long term, it definitely is. And it’s all to do with the rotation of your knee as you kick.

See you’re knees are not designed to twist or turn. The irony is, they’re only designed to move straight up and down, such as when we run or walk.

So even in the “non-weight bearing” environment of the pool, just a fancy way of saying that your joints are under no stress, there are still issues to be aware of.

And what about high heels? Wearing those can add up to 10x the impact through your knee and hip joints.

The trainers you wear? Well, if you get this choice wrong, you’ll fall in line as a victim of knee and hip pain too, and choosing fashion and looks over comfort and cushion will put you to the front of it.

And last but not least, a dependency upon those miracle supplements you see advertised.

Sure, you might get some periodic relief, but don’t bank on them working in the long term.

Better to question the negative impact of the false sense of security they lure you into while you’re not doing the real hard work like strength exercises or wearing the right footwear.

Now hopefully me and the runners of Hartlepool are friends.

Running is NOT the only chief villain responsible for accelerating knee and hip joint pain.

There are many factors that will contribute to it and now you know a few of them you can spread the risk.

You’ll never win the arthritis and stiffness battle, but knowing how, you can slow it down and dodge it for a few more years yet.