Joint Protection Tips for Runners

joint protection for runners
Athletic Training General

Written by: AnnieWall

If you are new to running, you may just be starting to appreciate how important it is to protect your joints. To continue enjoying the sport, one of the most important things that you need to is to look after your joints and tendons.

The issue of best joint protection for runners is rather complex. Any sports injury which eventually leads to joint damage may not start in the joint. In fact, you are much more likely to notice other warning signs such as tendonitis and Plantar Fasciitis before your notice joint pain. It is worth pointing out that it is as important to look after your tendons and feet as it is to look after your joints.

Common Joints Problems in Runners

The most common joint problem seen in runners is bursitis. It is unlikely you would have heard about bursitis before you took up running, and to understand what bursitis is, and how it can affect you, it is important to understand the physiology joint.

Inside every joint in the body, you will find a fluid filled sack. This is known as the bursa. If your joints did not have a bursa, they would quickly start to become painful and friction would occur. In fact, the bursa protects your joints from wear. But when the bursa becomes inflamed you can quickly go on to develop bursitis.

In runners, the most common areas affected are the bursas located in the knee, hip, and ankle joints. However, it is not uncommon for runners to develop bursitis in other parts of the body. When bursitis occurs, the joint will become painful and the skin may even look red on the outside of the affected joint. Knowing the warning signs such as a slight stiffness and soreness in any joint area will help you to identify the condition and maybe even stop it in its track. Prevention is still better than cure and you should be looking at ways to protect your bursa.

Can Diet Prevent Bursitis?

The right kind of diet and supplements can go a long way to help any runner protect him or herself from joint problems. If running is your go-to sport, you should consider adding oily fish and shellfish to your daily diet. The essential fatty acids in cold water oily fish will help a great deal. Unfortunately, it may not be enough, and most runners find a supplement of Omega essential fatty acids will help.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are essential when it comes to better joint protection. But there is a big but – you should always avoid citrus fruit. They are packed with citric acid which can on its own cause inflammation of the joint and even arthritic conditions which runners are more exposed to than other groups practicing a sport.

Avocados, nuts and sunflower seeds can help to prevent many joint problems. They are packed with both healthy oils and vitamin E. The other food group you should take a look at are grains. Whole grains and cereals are rich in selenium which is an essential micromineral. Eggs are another important source of selenium, and you should try to eat two eggs per day.

Best Supplements for Runners

Zhou Nutrition Fish Oil - Max Strength Omega 3 Fatty Acids with EPA and DHA from Purified, Sustainably-Sourced Fish Oil- Heart, Joint and Brain Health Formula
  • Heart-Healthy Omega 3'S. Omega 3 fatty acids are unsaturated fats (the good kind) found in fish and help support overall cardiovascular health. Omega 3 fish oil is a great way to support your heart and add vital EPA and DHA into your diet.
  • Joint Comfort & Flexibility. Omega 3 fish oil helps keep you moving comfortably, helping to support the cartilage in and around the joint. This "cushioning" effect of fatty acids helps support improved flexibility, mobility, and less stiffness.
  • Memory & Brain Health. Omega 3 fatty acids are abundant in your brain cells. Taking fish oil supplements may help support memory and brain health. Omega 3 can also be taken as a prenatal fish oil, giving moms-to-be vital DHA and EPA fatty acids.
  • Ultra Refined & Burpless. Zhou's wild-caught fish oil is purified using molecular distillation (a fancy name for the process of removing heavy metals, pesticides and PCB) to give you the cleanest, highest-quality fish oil possible.
  • What Sets Us Apart? At Zhou, we use only the highest-quality ingredients in a facility following GMP (good manufacturing practices). Plus, we test everything at our lab in Utah, so you can be confident that you're fueling your body with the very best.

The best supplements for runners are the ones which are rich in antioxidants. Vitamins are some of the best antioxidants for runners, and you should consider making sure you get enough of vitamins A, C and E. All three are particularly important if you are predisposed to joint problems.

The One Supplement All Runners Should Take Every Day

Smarter Nutrition Curcumin - Potency and Absorption in a SoftGel - The Most Active Form of Curcuminoid - 95% Tetra-Hydro Curcuminoids, 1 pack of 60 capsules - 30 Servings (Packaging May Vary)
  • WE’VE CRACKED THE CODE FOR BIOAVAILABILITY | You can’t get any benefits from turmeric curcumin unless it is fully absorbed and active in the bloodstream. Our breakthrough formula solves the bioavailability problem by using bioactive curcuminoids, smart bioenhancers, and a unique oil-based delivery to maximize absorption and unlock the full benefits of curcumin.
  • MOST ACTIVE FORM OF CURCUMIN — 250X MORE POTENT | Curcumin is the active ingredient that gives turmeric root its potency. But our formula goes beyond even this level of potency. We use a patented form of curcumin with 95% tetra-hydro-curcuminoids — that’s the most active form of curcumin in the body — 250 times more potent than regular curcumin!
  • UNIQUE OIL-BASED SOFTGEL FOR QUICK, EASY ABSORPTION | Most turmeric curcumin supplements are just dry powder in a capsule. But curcumin is a fat-soluble nutrient — it can only be absorbed in the body through fat or oil. Our unique liquid softgel suspends curcumin in black seed oil — a healthy fat known for its antioxidant and immune-boosting benefits.
  • CLINICALLY PROVEN BIOENHANCERS INCREASE UPTAKE 92% | Our formula includes AstraGin, a patented herbal complex that’s clinically shown to boost absorption of curcumin by 92%, plus ginger extract, a traditional bioenhancer that works in synergy with curcumin to enhance its effects. We don’t use black pepper extract, which can irritate the stomach.
  • CURCUMIN FIGHTS FREE RADICAL DAMAGE | Thousands of studies show that turmeric and curcumin have significant benefits for joint health, heart health, brain health, digestive health, immune health, healthy aging, and more. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that fights against oxidative stress to reduce aches and stiffness and slow the effects of aging.

Is there one supplement all runners should take every day? I have been running since I was 15 years old and I am still running at 52. During that time I have tried many different supplements and must admit that I have been able to avoid significant injuries. But, I have to be honest and say that I have a slight advantage. A degree in biochemistry tells me what works and what does not work. During all of my years as a runner, rower, and tri-athlete, I have found a supplement of curcumin has helped me the most. It is a natural herb, but eating the herb is not enough as you don’t absorb enough of the active compound diarylheptanoid.

This is the compound which is responsible for the yellow color of curcumin. As a chemical, it has the ability to both reduce and control inflammation.

Compression Sleeves – Do They Work?

Knee Compression Sleeves Support for Athletes, Runners, Joggers for Joint Pain Relief, Arthritis, Injury Recovery. Two (2) Copper Infused Wraps with Silicone Anti-Slip Borders (Medium)
  • AMAZING! Compression effect of our integrated 3D Slim Heat Flex technology promotes better performance and prevents any further injury. It allows you to protect your knees from injury just like the best weightlifters, runners, athletes do.
  • FUNCTIONAL! Copper infused material helps you to prevents odor, and release of positive ions promotes health and wellness - Just Like Pro Weightlifters, Runners and Athletes Do.
  • A FRESH APPROACH! Compression effect of our integrated 3D Slim Heat Flex technology promotes better performance and prevents any further injury letting you to protect your knees from injury with Slim Heat Knee Compression Sleeve in one easy step.
  • BREAKTHROUGH! Silicone anti-slip borders gives you the power to avoid annoying sleeve roll ups during workout and practice sessions.
  • DOES THE TRICK! Choice of size (S 14.5-17 inches/M 17-19.5 inches/L 19.5-22 inches/XL 22.5-25 inches) helps you to find the perfect fit for your body type for ideal compression In A Flash. It is Suitable for all sports activities and makes it easier to prevent injury and aid in recovery, runners & jumpers knee, arthritis and tendonitis With Ease.

As a runner, you should not only rely on supplements, diet, and vitamins to protect your joints. Physical aids such as compression sleeves are just as important. It is a good idea to use them every time you go for a run. Many runners only use them when they are pain or have a specific problem. Using them all of the time will help to reduce injury and protect the joint on a long-term basis.

There are different kinds of joint support, but compress sleeves are great because they do not only protect the joint. They also protect the tendons and the muscles which support the joint.

Ice Packs – Do They Work?

Knee Ice Pack Wrap by TheraPAQ: Hot & Cold Therapy Knee Support Brace - Reusable Compression Sleeve for Bursitis Pain Relief, Meniscus Tear, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Injury Recovery, Sprains & Swelling
  • SOLVE ALL OF YOUR KNEE PROBLEMS: Are your knees constantly swollen or inflamed and your joints always stiff? Do you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and other knee problems? There’s no need to spend a fortune on a physical therapist, nor take heavy medicines that have side effects. The ice pack knee brace will help your knees recover and it will increase the joint mobility. This is a therapist approved knee therapy device that will solve all of your problems!
  • SAY GOODBYE TO PERSISTENT PAIN: There are many reasons why your knee joints may be in pain. It is very likely that you have a meniscus tear, bursitis pain, or you have strained your knee too much. The cold compression knee sleeve will provide you relief and help you deal with your chronic knee pain. This hot and cold therapy device is also ideal for post-surgery recovery, since it will help your knee heal faster and you will be able to walk again without suffering!
  • USE IT FOR BOTH HOT AND COLD THERAPY: The TheraPAQ ice pack knee wrap can be used for both cold and hot therapy, based on your needs. If you need it for cold therapy, all you have to is place the ice treatment pack in the freezer for at least 90 minutes. For hot therapy, place the gel pack in the microwave. The hot and cold knee support brace will increase the blood circulation in the area around the knee and repair your hurt knee joint and muscles.
  • THE MOST COMFORTABLE AND SECURE FIT: Are you ready to wear the TheraPAQ ice pack knee wrap? The adjustable straps of the knee brace will allow you to control the compression level and achieve the most comfortable fit! At the same time, the knee sleeve will stay in place even if you start running or jumping. Finally, the ice therapy knee wrap will not impede your movements, since it’s designed to be flexible. This knee brace will never fail you.
  • IDEAL GIFTS for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Prime Deal Day or Christmas.

Ice packs are another physical aid you should consider having on standby as a runner. You may not need to use them all of the time, but if you feel the slightest pain or discomfort, you should place an ice pack around your knee. There are other ice packs which will help to protect the rest of your joints. In general, it is mainly the knee and perhaps the ankle which benefits from an ice pack.

Joint protection for runners has turned into a bit of a science in recent years. New products have flooded the market, but there are only a few that really work. Many blended supplements do not benefit your joints as they are not high strength enough to do so. It is better to go for a stand-alone supplement than to purchase a mixed supplement.


Physical aids will always help runners, but you need to make sure that they are practical. Some are too heavy and awkward to use. Try to go for the more traditional physical aids which use modern innovations such as lightweight compression sleeves. Having a variety of protective aids and supplements is really what will benefit you the most as a runner and make the best joint protection for runners.

Last update on 2021-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API