I am heavy. Is running bad for my knees?
You want to return to running yet concerned if your body weight will risk yourself from getting knee injuries. What should you do? Can Physiotherapy help? Here is a short article to help us understand if BMI matters
BMI. I’m sure we have all heard about it at some point in our life. Perhaps during a medical checkup or in school?
So what exactly is BMI?
Body Mass Index (BMI) is traditionally used to categorise the population into weight categories: Underweight, healthy, overweight and obese. It is widely used as a screening tool, however, it is not used as a diagnostic tool.
BMI = weight (kg) / height (m)2
☝🏼But how accurate is BMI in determining our body fat level?
Although high BMI is correlated to higher body fat, it may hold true for all. We have to understand that body composition matters too.
An athlete may have a high BMI and fall under the ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’ category. However, we have to take into account that an athlete may have higher lean muscle mass, compared to fat. 💪🏻
Therefore, it is important for us to take into consideration other factors and not rely on BMI alone!
So does BMI matter when it comes to running injuries?
It may sound logical that one with a higher BMI is putting more stress on his/her knee joints during running, which potentially increases risk of getting injured overtime.
But what if this has been a MYTH? 🧐
A comparative study has found that runners with different BMIs had different injury location distributions. Interestingly, the running-related knee injury proportion in overweight and obese runners was lower than that in normal-weight runners.
Then arguably, BMI may influence the runner’s choice of running exposure. A difference in running exposure may then perhaps influence the amount of load applied to the knee while running.
All in all, there is no substantial evidence to show higher risk of injuries in runners with higher BMI.
🏃Can we prevent running-related injuries? How can Physiotherapy help?
Well, runners are generally especially prone to developing overuse injuries. It has been shown that two of the greatest risk factors are previous injury and training volume.
Although we definitely cannot control the former, we can still modify our training volume (i.e. distance, speed, frequency of run)!
It is recommended for runners to participate in cross-training activities (e.g. swimming, cycling) in order to maintain fitness while not overloading the knee. 🚴🏊🕺
Here are some exercises to reduce the risk of running injuries:
Book now or give us a call to schedule an appointment to see our Physiotherapist who will be able to partner you to recovery for your knee pain.
DISCLAIMER: These advise and exercises should not replace the need for a consultation with a Physiotherapist especially if your condition doesn’t improve. Therapeutic exercise should be carefully selected to suit your condition.
- Juhler, C., Andersen, K. B., Nielsen, R. O., & Bertelsen, M. L. (2020). Knee Injuries in Normal-Weight, Overweight, and Obese Runners: Does Body Mass Index Matter?. journal of orthopaedic & sports physical therapy, 50(7), 397-401.
- Kozinc, Ž., & Sarabon, N. (2017). Common running overuse injuries and prevention. Montenegrin Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 6(2), 67.
- Taunton, J. E., Ryan, M. B., Clement, D. B., McKenzie, D. C., Lloyd-Smith, D. R., & Zumbo, B. D. (2002). A retrospective case-control analysis of 2002 running injuries. British journal of sports medicine, 36(2), 95-101.
Filed under: Knee