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Many runners hear from their "couch" friends - you will see, in your old age you will have problems with your joints. Is it true? Are amateur runners taking part in street runs doomed to problems with the traffic apparatus? The myths surrounding this topic are debunked by Ewa Piotrowska-Witek, a physiotherapist and runner.

Every runner, sooner or later, will have problems with his joints - MYTH

Whether the runner has joint problems depends on the way he uses his body. Huge overloads are never advisable, especially when we forget about regeneration. Running 10 marathons a year will not actually help keep your joints in good condition, but it is rather those who do not do any sports who are doomed to problems with the movement apparatus.

A joint is a joint between two bones. Each joint is covered with cartilage on the inside, which is where the bones touch each other. It is a very "slippery" tissue that allows surfaces to slide in relation to each other. He althy cartilage must be hard, elastic, not deformed, it must be very well hydrated and nourished. The substance that nourishes the joint is synovial fluid, produced by the synovium. The synovium is the soft tissue that covers the joint capsule. The goo is produced in motion.

Therefore people, who, for example, have a limb immobilized in a plaster, after its removal have such large limitations of movement, even in those joints that were not affected by the fracture. If there is no possibility of movement, in addition to contracture of the articular capsule, the hydration of the cartilage decreases, the amount of synovial fluid is reduced, and therefore the mobility of the joint is reduced. Only proper rehabilitation, including the stretching of soft structures, i.e. the joint capsule and muscles, as well as movement in the joint, will help to restore full fitness.


In a physically inactive person, the process of dehydration of cartilage and its softening, the so-called chondromalacia, it may occur around 40-50 years of age (it varies individually). Soft cartilage, which is still not nourished and is not loaded, is condemned to further degeneration, until cavities are formed in it. It only hurts when "holes" are formed in the bone. The cartilage itself is not innervated and has no blood supply,that is why it is so difficult to catch the moment when something "does not play" with the joints.

A break in running and taking glucosamine will cure sick joints - MYTH

An amateur runner who goes to the doctor often hears: “Running is unhe althy, you will have a prosthesis in the future. Please stop running and take glucosamine. But taking this dietary supplement will not help you at all. The substance works like a placebo, which can be read in many scientific reports.

If we eat properly, we do not need additional supplements. And they definitely cannot be treated as drugs. Glucosamine, just like any food we eat, must break down into short chains. The supplement cannot penetrate directly into the articular cartilage. Like other molecules, it is captured by the intestinal villi and absorbed into the blood, and then delivered to all tissues.

Running promotes back pain - MYTH

How many runners or people doing sports have you heard that they have back problems? The most common and this process involves "sandwiches". Due to prolonged sitting, the spine becomes in unnatural positions, and the muscles are hardly working and weakened. Now all you have to do is to lift something, twist, bend over and you may experience discopathy, i.e. a falling out of the disc (nucleus pulposus from the fibrous ring). The disc that connects two vertebrae to each other is also a kind of cartilage, and it also needs to be hydrated to be resilient, so that the vertebrae do not lie directly on top of each other, but that there is space between them. Lack of movement within the spine causes the disc to dehydrate and reduce its thickness. This is the disc that is most often damaged.

Runners have problems with their feet - MYTH

Runners rarely have foot problems. On the contrary, the feet of inactive people begin to flatten out due to increasingly weaker muscles. We usually wear shoes all day long and the foot cannot move freely. In addition, people who have genetic tendencies or walk in poorly selected shoes, i.e. narrow shoes or heels, develop hallux valgus, the so-called valgus. hallux vulgatus.

Physical activity prevents joint diseases - TRUE

Why do children have such well-nourished joints? In addition to, of course, a young age, children regularly use their joints throughout their full range of motion. If you look at the hips of babies, you can see that babies crawl, raise their legs high and climb onto tall furniture. All this is conducive to the exercise of movement to the fullest extent possible. Each piece of cartilage is weighted down, slipped andnourished. That is why it is so important to allow ourselves to do all the things that we sometimes forbid children to do.

Especially grandmothers guarding their grandchildren forbid climbing, running, jumping, explaining that the grandchild will fall over or fall. And the child must be able to move freely in order to maintain he althy joints.

The older we get, the more sedentary we live. Even in a school child you can see differences in terms of physical activity. It is influenced by driving to school, sitting in a desk for many hours, going home by car, doing homework at the desk. If you think about it for a moment, you can see that the baby is sitting all the time. He has contracted muscles on the back of his thighs (the ones that straighten the knees), hip flexors (the ones around the groin), stretched abdominal and gluteal muscles, but the joint itself is always in a 90-degree bend position. This means that at all times only one piece of cartilage is under load. And both underload and excessive load expose it to its quick wear.

In a conversation with the elderly, we often hear that they have a worn-out hip joint and are waiting for an endoprosthesis procedure. In addition to the pathologies that may exist in the joint or femoral fractures that older people suffer, the lack of exercise contributes to the wear and tear of the joints.

Intensive specialist training at a young age is conducive to injuries - TRUE

A professional athlete is the extreme opposite of an amateur. If he was well trained as a child and adolescent, it is not a problem. But most often the trainer cares about the results of his mentee at a very early age. The instructors do this for points for the club, and also to get jobs and more students as coaches. Nobody, however, thinks about what will happen in a few or a dozen years. For this reason, a young child or a teenager is often overloaded.

He takes part in several specialist trainings, runs competitions every week, lacks general development preparation, i.e. strengthening and stretching all muscles, and does not pay attention to regeneration and biological renewal.

It turns out more than once that a player who achieved very good results as a youngster now constantly fights with injuries, does not promise, he starts to "fall apart". This is the effect of overloading at the age when the child should be prepared mainly for general development training with technical elements. Otherwise, he will have a short sports career, followed by many years of treatment, surgery and rehabilitation.

Problems with joints in the amateur runner arisedue to lack of regeneration and biomechanical dysfunction - TRUE

Amateurs are an intermediate state between professionals and physically inactive people. This means that most often their organisms are not overloaded, but at the same time they move a lot. At the moment, conscious amateurs are a growing group of people. They read a lot, watch a lot, they know that in order to run, for example, you also need to do general development exercises, strengthen your muscles, and stretch. Their joints work a lot, but within reason. Are they having no problems? Of course they do. But most often to a much lesser extent than the other two groups.

Their problems often result from biomechanical disorders, eg valgus or varus knees, pelvic rotation, etc. Hardly anyone knows about such disorders, until you start practicing sports. We learn about them only when the knee, hip, foot start to hurt. The joint works incorrectly and therefore "something is damaged in it".

The fashion for practicing sports also attracted many people in the mature age, around 40-50 years of age, who had not trained anything before. In them, the risk of injury is actually much greater, because the body is not prepared for the load it undergoes. In the case of mature people, before starting running training, it is necessary to visit a good physiotherapist, check the he althy and abnormal features of the body structure and establish a repair program. Then, slowly and gradually, you can start general development training combined with running. However, you have to be prepared for the fact that in such people the progress will take longer and slower.

Amateur runners in the modern world (eg working in corporations) want to be seen among their friends as "almost" professional athletes. And today running a marathon and bragging about it at work does not make a great impression, what else if we say that we did a triathlon, eg Iron mena (almost 4 km of swimming in an open water, 180 km of bike and 42 km of running). It just makes an impression. Rarely, however, wonders at what cost for the body has managed to achieve such an effect. Of course, there are people who have a motor apparatus in perfect condition and, despite the enormous loads, do not suffer injuries. I know quite a lot of such "types" from my experience, but in all others, such a large training load (plus work and household duties), means that at some point they never stop recovering from injuries. we will see that they are not made for professional sports, so sooner or later they would have to damage the systemtraffic.

What application? You have to move, run. It's the best medicine ever and whoever invented it. But you need to use moderation and common sense.

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