Impact on muscles and joints
According to Dr. Baima, the impact running has on your muscles and joints depends on what kind of runner you are: “There are basically two types of runners,” she said. “Those that heel strike and those that mid-foot strike.”
Heel running is the more common way to run since padding in contemporary running shoes may encourage this type of gait. Recent studies have suggested this leads to increased forces at the knee joint. It is not yet known whether this leads to increased injury.
Some people land first on their mid-foot. This usually occurs in people who run barefoot. Since this is thought to cause less wear and tear on the body, it has led to the recent trend in barefoot (or minimalist footwear) in running.
“We used to think running increased hip and knee arthritis because of the frequent pounding, but studies have not proven this,” Baima says. Light to moderate running has no adverse effect. Heavy running may predispose patients to osteoarthritis of the hip or knee. Pace may be more important than distance in hip osteoarthritis. Of note, osteoarthritis is more closely related to obesity, malalignment, or prior injury than running pace/ distance.