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What should I use if I'd like to run?

I have only been diagnosed with RA for about 3 months and I used to be an active runner. I have been cleared to continue full duty as a law enforcement officer and in the military and I am required to run two miles twice a year for my PT tests. I have flares mostly in my knees but I have the inflammation under control. Are there any runners out there that know if a brace vs compression is better to use with RA while trying to run on pavement? I do not intend on being an avid runner as I once was but I do need to train at least once a week to be able to pass these runs. Or is it recommended not use use anything at all? I don't want another flare but since I have started running these past few weeks I find my knees feel better after 9 months of rest due to flares.

  1. Hello Mindylee,
    I am sorry to hear about the bad news of the attack from RA, but having the inflammation under control is wonderful news. I also suffer from RA and it is well under control. Oh and I also run about 750 miles a year. Don’t be overly worried about exercising as having a healthy relationship with the gym is good when you have RA. Your body will let you know when it is time to slow it down just a bit.
    If you are strong and have good muscle tone in your legs and do not have any existing stability issues in your knees, there should be no need for a brace, but you should ask your Rheumatologist if you are unsure. I do not (as of yet) use a compression knee sleeve, but I do use K-Tape on my knees for the long runs and it seems to help me. I have also found that shortening my stride and slowing down a little has made my knees last longer on an 8 mile run. You can always give a sleeve a try, they don’t cost a lot and just may be the ticket to success.
    It might also help by doing shorter, slower runs or some treadmill time 2 or 3 times a week and see how your knees react. It is going to be a learning thing much like when you first started your running carrier.
    Next I would suggest heading back to your local running store to see if there is a better fitting shoe for your running style. You may want to increase the amount of cushion under your feet.
    Happy running.

    1. I was just diagnosed with RA at age 43. I'm also a runner and have been doing Soldierfit (similar t0 Cross-fit). I was inspired reading these two posts as it make me have some hope about this diagnosis. It's very early for me and they are starting treatment early so hopefully we can keep it from progressing.

  2. TC3120, I am so glad that you have found us here. RA does not mean the end, it just means you need to look at the way you are doing things now and adjust them as needed for you to keep doing them as best you can for many years to come.
    Believe it or not, I started running about 4 years after my RA journey began and other than a few colds and some achy joints from time to time, I am feeling better than I did before RA.
    Don’t give in, don’t give up, don’t let RA beat you.
    If you can, run a mile in honor of someone who cannot run.

    1. Ed,

      Thank you for your message. I know I need to change my mental attitude towards this and I will, I hope LOL!

      I'm currently just taking methotrexate and so far so good. I just hope the side effects don't build up. I"m not the type to hardly even take an Advil if I don't have to, however I have done my research and realize the importance of the early aggressive treatment. I already eat a fairly anti-inflammatory diet as it is.

      I have been doing the Soldierfit (similar to crossfit but less weight and more strength conditioning) and at this point my Dr said to keep doing it since I don't really have any pain. It's my only sanity with a 5 year old and 7 year old !!

      Thank you again for your message...

  3. I was recently diagnosed and I love to run. I have days when it's impossible and other days when I feel great. I'm 44 and attribute some of my issues to normal aging and others to RA. I'm fortunate in that my knees are in great shape. If I did not own a pair of HOKAs I would not be able to run. If you don't know about them I suggest you check them out--running is my salvation and I will have to endure incredible pain before I am willing to give it up. Best of luck to you.

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