Why Marathon Runners Rarely Suffer Knee Pain

Why Marathon Runners Rarely Suffer Knee Pain

Marathon runners might use their legs the most out of any group of people on earth. However, studies have shown that most long-distance runners don’t suffer from a lot of knee pain. Why is this? How can they use their legs and knees so much on hard surfaces and not have knee issues? The answer is surprisingly simple. 

Marathon runners have very little knee pain, even after multiple marathons. With all those miles under their feet, you would think that they would hardly be able to walk. However, long-distance runners have some of the healthiest knee joints around. The lack of knee pain isn’t despite all the running these athletes do; it’s because of it. 

The Secret to Keeping Your Knees Pain-Free

To keep your knees pain-free, use them more. That’s it: that’s the secret. Moving is what creates synovial fluid and causes it to flow through your joints. This fluid helps to heal the effects of impact on your knee joints and makes them stronger. The more you exercise, the stronger your joints become. 

A lack of synovial fluid will cause joint pain and inflammation. It will only get worse as time goes on without consistent movement. If your joints are in pain while you exercise, start gently and wear knee braces. You can take it as slow as you like and work on endurance and speed over time. 

However, joint pain could also indicate a more profound illness such as gout or arthritis. If you suffer from consistent or sharp pain while exercising, check with your doctor. While there are genetic illnesses that cause knee pain regardless of movement, most people should decrease their joint pain by regular exercise. 

Joints and muscles work the best when they work consistently. This pattern is why marathon runners suffer less knee pain than the rest of the population: they use the joints and muscles surrounding the knee bone more than most of us. Of course, you don’t have to run marathons to avoid knee pain--just keep moving. 

Movement is essential for your knees to stay limber and pain-free. While you don’t have to run twenty miles a day (and shouldn’t, if you haven’t trained for it), you can go on consistent walks and get your legs used to moving every day. Start small, and soon you’ll be able to go longer distances and work out more. 

Even if you never make it to a full marathon, using your legs consistently will help you decrease pain and increase overall health. If you feel as though even a short walk or run is too much, start with simple leg exercises. There are plenty of workouts you can do at home with no equipment. 


You don’t have to be a marathon runner to avoid knee pain; you only need a consistent exercise routine. Your body was made to heal itself, and the best way to do that is to keep it moving. Whether it’s fifteen minutes or fifteen miles, your knees will thank you for following this simple practice. 


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