Recent studies have shown that, contrary to what your mother and that guy in the next cubicle might tell you, running does not lead to damaged joints. In fact, a long-term study of runners conducted by Stanford University has found that running is beneficial to the joints of elderly patients.
Personally, I don't need studies to confirm this. I've met scores of older runners would never have joint issues. But it seems as though every time a high profile older runner does develop a bum knee or need a hip replacement, the naysayers rear up once more and say, "Told you so."
It's certain to happen again now that Amby Burfoot, the former Boston Marathon winner and longtime Runner's World writer, has undergone surgery for a torn medial meniscus. A-ha! Must have been all that running. Well, no.
In fact, in this post, Burfoot writes that he's run 45 years and logged more than 100,000 miles without a significant knee issue. "And my knee films showed lots of good news-no arthritis to speak of and great joint spaces. You could drive a truck through my knee joint," he wrote.
Remember, it's the people who don't use their joints, who don't exercise, who tend to have the arthritis later in life.