While knee pain is a common complaint among runners, is running bad for your knees? Orthopaedic surgeon DR JAMES WEE sets the record straight, and offers his top tips on running safely. Plus, he talks treatment options, including partial and total knee replacement surgery, if a running injury does occur.
Will running damage my knees?
Running is not bad for your knees, if you’re running the right way, says Dr Wee of Oxford Orthopaedics. He is the only dual-subspecialty trained orthopaedic surgeon in Singapore for both hip and knee surgery, and foot and ankle surgery.
In fact, he says multiple studies suggest that regular running can actually strengthen the joints.
“Running helps you stay at an optimal weight, which lessens the stress on your joints. In turn, this lowers your risk of osteoarthritis – wear and tear of the knee joint, including cartilage and the muscles around it.”
Running the wrong way, he says, can lead to pain and eventual osteoarthritis. This may involve swelling, stiffness and difficulty walking.
But, while it’s true that most knee injuries are caused by running and overuse injuries, Dr Wee says the benefits of running far outweigh the risks if you’re running with good form.
“Running has many benefits and shouldn’t be halted for fear of injury. However, adopting the right practices and a healthy routine are key.”
Protecting your knees from a running injury
To protect your knees from a running injury, Dr Wee suggests:
- wearing good quality running shoes that provide good support;
- making sure you have sufficient rest and recovery between runs;
- mixing up your routine to include other forms of exercise (cross-training) such as cycling or swimming; and
- if you are new to running, increasing your distance gradually.
If a running injury does occur
In the event that you do happen to suffer from a knee injury, don’t worry, says Dr Wee. “There are treatment options that can get you back to running and doing your favourite sports in no time.”
For milder cases of osteoarthritis, physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory medications and activity modification are prescribed as the first line of treatment. For more serious cases, total knee replacement surgery might be necessary.
Partial and total knee replacement surgery
“Total knee replacement surgery allows patients to return to their daily activities with reduced knee pain, improved stability and enhanced range of movement.” However, if a patient is eligible for a partial knee replacement surgery, that would be the best route to take, he says.
“Partial knee replacement surgery offers the significant advantage of quicker recovery, which allows patients to return to their active lifestyle sooner, and participate in sports that they might otherwise not be able to do with a total knee replacement,” explains Dr Wee.
The Oxford Partial Knee Replacement uses minimally invasive surgical techniques that involve smaller incisions, causing less injury to the soft tissues. It also involves resurfacing the damaged compartments of the knee while preserving the healthy segments.
Additionally, partial knee replacement surgery offers a more natural-feeling knee, compared to other methods.
To find out more about proper running techniques, the Oxford Partial Knee Replacement and other types of knee surgery, visit oxfordortho.sg
• #10-08 Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, 3 Mount Elizabeth | 6631 8911
• #06-70 Mount Alvernia Medical Centre D, 820 Thomson Road | 6255 5122
This article first appeared in the March 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!