A physiotherapist's advice on how to protect your joints while running

Love running? Invest in some good running shoes and load up on these ingredients to safeguard your joints

Joint health while running
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Running is a great workout. Whether you're just starting your journey by following our Couch to 5K Plan, or you're a seasoned runner with many hundreds of miles under your belt, running is a great way to incorporate a cardio workout into your day and get outdoors, away from the screens, for your daily vitamin D fix. 

However, running on concrete has long been thought to be hard on our joints. Osteoarthritis and patellofemoral pain – sometimes called runner's knee – can crop up in committed runners and serious athletes. But don't let this put you off: you can run safely, with a little help. 

Physiotherapist Sammy Margo says: “Joint stiffness or pain, especially in the load-bearing joints such as the knees or hips, could be a warning sign for the start of something more serious and can affect anyone at any age or ability. 

"Young adults are just as at risk of developing joint conditions from repetitive injuries or over usage as an adult that experiences arthritic conditions due to their age.”

Running joint health

(Image credit: Getty Images)

To avoid these problems, you need to invest in your footwear. The best running shoes for men and best running shoes for women not only help you run faster with less effort, but they also properly cushion your feet and adjust your gait. For example, if you're prone to overpronation, moving your foot too far in one direction as you run, extra support in your running shoe can help counteract this to ensure you continue to run in safety.

Margo also says: “Early intervention is key, especially when enjoying high impact sports, and adding a supplement to your daily routine, alongside maintaining a well-balanced and varied diet, can offer additional support to achieving optimal joint health."

The addition of ingredients like ginger and red chilli into your diet can help curtail inflammation, as they have an anti-inflammatory effect. Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in oily fish, can also help alleviate inflammation in the joints – as well as protecting against cancer and heart disease.

Ginger extract can be found in supps like the GOPO Joint Health Plus range, while extracts from these ingredients and others, like rosehip, can also be found in our best supplements for joints and best fish oil supplements guides.

Matt Evans
Matt Evans

Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and Channel Editor at Fit&Well. He's previously written for titles like Men's Health and Red Bull, and covers all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. 

Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen kickboxer and runner. His top fitness tip? Stretch.