Everything You Need To Know About Running & Scoliosis

“Is Running Good for Scoliosis?” is one of the most common questions we are asked at our Spine Clinic in Birmingham. To quickly answer the question – yes, running with scoliosis is feasible and is also considered beneficial. But Scoliosis is a complex progressive condition so any answer with regards to this condition needs more nuance. So with inputs from an orthopaedic surgeon and spine specialist Mr Jwalant S Mehta we answer some of the most common doubts around Scoliosis and running in this blog here to help patients understand the relationship better. So let us dive in:

Running & Scoliosis

Lack of physical activity decreases functional mobility and tends to worsen scoliosis. Staying active and remaining physically fit improves is encouraged for every scoliosis patient. And there is no other physical activity that is as simple as running in improving functional mobility, cardiovascular fitness and overall health.

So running is often recommended for scoliosis patients – but only if they can run comfortably without worsening their scoliosis curve.  We say this because running sometimes may affect the health of the spine and its curvature when necessary guidelines are not followed.


Does Running Affect Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a complex condition that varies from individual to individual. While the curvature of the spine is a characteristic feature, the curve’s angle, intensity, progression and imbalances it causes vary from person to person. Scoliosis can affect the ability to run in a few cases due to the following reasons:

  1. Leg length discrepancy: Severe spinal curvature tend to cause leg length discrepancy where one leg appears shorter than the other. This can disturb the running mechanics and will need consistent practice to get over this problem.


  1. Muscular imbalance: Running is a physical activity in which almost every part of the body chips in to make the activity possible. Muscular imbalance can be a chink in the armour does reduce the total running output.


  1. Reduced lung capacity: Spinal compression in severe scoliosis cases reduces the capacity of the lung which is the engine room for running. This naturally reduces the long-distance running capacity of scoliosis patients.


Along with the above, any other physical limitations brought on by Scoliosis can further impact the current spinal condition. Scoliosis also increases the risk of spinal injury when the patient gets on running in haste without following basic guidelines.


Scoliosis & Running – Basic Guidelines:

  1. Do not run in haste. Know the right running mechanics optimized for your body.
  2. Know the muscular imbalances and limitations put by scoliosis on the body and avoid pushing the body hard.
  3. Gradually pace the build-up of the running program in stages. One can start with walking and gradually graduate to running.
  4. Address muscular imbalances with a specific set of exercises to strengthen the body. Strong joints and core musculature further decrease the risk of injuries too.

Scoliosis will not stop you from running if you are able and want to run and improve your overall fitness. But the onus is on the individual to know their current health status and their ability. If you are a Scoliosis patient living in the UK and want to know more information about running with scoliosis, you can contact Children and Adult Spinal Surgeon Mr Jwalant S Mehta .