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
- 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.
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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
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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?
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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?
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- ☑️ 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!
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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.