Specializing in Spine, Sports & Physical Medicine

Is Soft Ground Better than Hard for Runners? Conventional Wisdom Questioned?

The age old advice from your doctor is that for runners, running on a soft surface is better for you than running on concrete and asphalt. But is this true? Are your knees and hips get less shock on a softer surface and thus be less prone to injury? It makes sense intuitively but there is a real lack of scientific evidence to support it. In an article published in the New York Times, Gina Kolata, a very well respected science writer, has a discussion with Dr. Tanaka, an exercise physiologist at the University of Texas at Austin. It seems that there are no studies to show whether soft surfaces are less injurious to ones body than hard. . The body is able to adapt to whether to harder surfaces by being more shock absorbing- more knee bend and more rigid to softer surfaces. Makes sense…….What do you think? Do you have an easier time running on softer surfaces or hard?

Another good point from the article- if you are used to running on soft surfaces and want to make the switch to hard  then gradually make the shift as your body has to adapt.


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