The Common Running Mistake That Might Be Causing You Knee Pain

Contrary to what many believe, running won’t ruin your knees. But if your form is even a little off, it can put stress on your joints.
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Running is a fantastic form of cardio that can help improve long term heart health, our quality of sleep, and even our overall mood and mental health.

However, for many of us, running is difficult or even painful, making us wonder if our bodies simply aren’t built for this kind of high-impact workout. But could we just be running wrong?

The unfortunate reality is that many of us are.

Running isn’t inherently bad for our bodies and, contrary to what many believe, it won’t ruin your knees. But if your form is even a little off, it can stress out your joints and cause short or long term pain. So as fun as it can be to demonise the exercise itself, too often we’re the problem. It’s us.

“There are specific things that you do when you are running that can lead to increased risk for injury,” Heather Milton, exercise physiologist at NYU Langone Health in New York, recently told us, Raj Punjabi and Noah Michelson, hosts of HuffPost’s “Am I Doing It Wrong Podcast?”

Listen to the full episode by pressing play:

“So it’s more about catering your running form rather than avoiding running because it hurts your knees,” Milton said.

Milton, who served as our trusty expert on the latest episode where we discussed working out safely, told us that many people who experience knee pain from running are doing something called “overstriding.”

“If you’re running and your heel lands outstretched first, and your leg is in front of you, that generally means that the toe is pointed up towards the sky a little bit more and that actually causes increased forces up your whole body,” Milton said. “And typically it’s the shin or the knee that’s going to feel that the most. And that then creates more stress on your joints.”

So, if we’re overstriding and that’s what’s ruining our running experience, how do we stop doing it? And where should our foot actually be landing?

“Ideally, you would land with more flexion of your knee — so more of a knee bend, so that your foot is landing almost underneath you,” Milton advised. “And so that then lends toward your muscles, which can withstand way more force because they can actually disperse force, than the joint itself. So let the quads, the hamstrings, and the glutes absorb the force of landing.” In other words, maybe a little less leaping and a little more intentional landing.

Milton also told us why we might be warming up all wrong (and how to do it better), why we should be less worried about our step count and more concerned about how much we’re sitting, and much more.

After you’ve had a listen to the full episode above or wherever you get your podcasts, subscribe to “Am I Doing It Wrong?” on your favourite podcast platform so you don’t miss a single episode, including our investigations of the ins and outs of tipping, how to score the best deals on airline tickets, how to apologise or vanquish your credit card debt, how to find love online or overcome anxiety, online shopping, tips for taking care of your teeth, pooping like a pro, secrets to booking and staying in a hotel, how to deal with an angry person, and more.

Need some help with something you’ve been doing wrong? Email us at, and we might investigate the topic in an upcoming episode.