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Higher mileage runners linked to less knee injuries than lower mileage runners.

Sounds crazy right??  Everyone tends to have the misconception that running is bad on your joints from all the pounding.  Over the past 5 or more years that I have been studying and treating running it is becoming more and more obvious that running itself is not the bad part.  It’s the training patterns and what we put on our feet.  It’s probably safer to run with nothing on our feet than what most of us tend to put on our feet.  But shoe-gear is not the topic of this discussion. You can read more on shoe-gear by searching on this blog.

Here’s a great article recently published which shows that as we run more, our bodies tend to adapt and find the “groove” for a safer stride that leads to less injury to the knee.  See below.

New research in the Journal of Applied Biomechanics suggests that body coordination differs between lower and higher mileage / more experienced runners. These findings could explain the higher coincidence of overuse knee injuries for lower mileage / less experienced runners.

Results of a recent study showed that pelvic rotation, hip rotation, and knee abduction and adduction angles varied between a low-mileage (less than 15 miles/week) running group and a high-mileage (more than 20 miles/week with at least one year of experience) group.

The relationship between runners’ experience levels and running mechanics is not well understood currently. This and other studies may go far in understanding relative injury risk in runners, especially knee injuries, which are the most frequent types of injuries in runners.


1. J Appl Biomech. 2014 Oct;30(5):649-54. doi: 10.1123/jab.2013-0261. Epub 2014 Jul

The role of running mileage on coordination patterns in running.

Boyer KA(1), Freedman Silvernail J, Hamill J.

Author information:
(1)Biomechanics Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of
Massachusetts-Amherst, Amherst, MA.

Injury rates among runners are high, with the knee injured most frequently. The interaction
of running experience and running mechanics is not well understood
but may be important for understanding relative injury risk in low vs higher
mileage runners. The study aim was to apply a principal component analysis (PCA)
to test the hypothesis that differences exist in kinematic waveforms and
coordination between higher and low mileage groups. Gait data were collected for
50 subjects running at 3.5 m/s assigned to either a low (< 15 miles/wk) or higher
(> 20 miles/wk, 1 year experience) mileage group. A PCA was performed on a matrix
of trial vectors of all force, joint kinematic, and center of pressure data. The
projection of the subjects’ trial vectors onto the linear combination of PC7,
PC10, PC13, and PC19 was significantly different between the higher and lower
mileage groups (d = 0.63, P = .012). This resultant PC represented variation in
transverse plane pelvic rotation, hip internal rotation, and hip and knee
abduction and adduction angles. These results suggest the coordination of lower
extremity segment kinematics is different for lower and higher mileage runners.
The adopted patterns of coordinated motion may explain the lower incidence of
overuse knee injuries for higher mileage runners.

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