Running is a quite physically demanding activity that tends to lead to some lower body impact. However, studies have shown that there is no relationship between running and early onset of bone degeneration.
With that said, I’d like to explore some simple tools to make sure you are running properly and with the right equipment.
If you are running, you should always use shoes specific to that activity. Trail running shoes are for trails just as tennis shoes are for tennis. Not all shoes are created equally just as not all feet are the same. Get your foot wet and step on the pavement, look to see if your arch is maintained, falls in or is high. People with high arches tend to do better with a cushioning type of shoes since their feet tend to be more rigid. If you pronate or your arches tend to fall in with walking, you have a more flexible foot that requires you to wear more of a stable shoe. Studies have shown that a foot with slight over-pronation seems to react better on uneven surfaces like trails more than a high arched, rigid foot.
Shoes that are better suited to a high arch will be straighter when you look at them on the ground. If you pull out the sockliner, the bottom of the shoe will be a softer white padding most often from heel to toe. Shoes for pronated or over-pronated feet should be more of a curved shoe when looking at it on the ground. There should be a gray midsole on the arch of the outer shoe and if you remove the sockliner, it should either be brown board from heel to toe or brown by the heel that is sewn to white foam after the midfoot.
Without the proper supported foot, the constant impact of running can affect the knees, hips and low back as well.
Unfortunately, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of stretching. Some studies have shown that there is little to no affect on athleticism with stretching. However, I disagree with that, as many other health professionals do also. Stretching cold, inactive muscles prior to exercise does increase your chance of strain/sprain injuries. A cold muscle or ligament is rigid and if over stretched can cause future damage. Therefore, if you prefer to stretch early on, always do 5 minutes of a warm up. Stretching post-exercise is beneficial. Runners tend to acquire plantar fasciitis on the heel surface of their foot and the Achilles tendon is part of this structure. The calves of a runner should always be stretched. All muscles from back, arms, and legs should be stretched following a run.
Good posture can increase your athletic ability. We need good lung space to run. Therefore we should always have our head up, shoulders back and a very slight lean forwards. Rolling your shoulders forwards will round your upper back and also put strain on your ability to take nice deep breaths. Some people run more on their midfoot/forefoot that is all the rage right now. With this posture, you will have a slight forward bend to your torso starting at the hip. Midfoot runners will have a smaller stride so they can land on the ball of their foot, which will help to propel them forward.
Overall I would suggest you visit a chiropractor or a sports doctor. Checking the alignment of your knees, feet, shoe wear and general overall health should be a first priority when being physically active. Always make sure that you are doing your sport correctly so you don’t end up hurting yourself more seriously down the road.