Hi elchau -
Sorry for the delay in reply! And so sorry about your knees! That said, I think it IS possible to run - with good and correct form - with knees that have OA. I too have it, but didn’t know it til I had a serious accident a couple years ago involving a collision with my knee and the end of a bench. I tore the meniscus in a place they can’t operate. I too was told I could not run anymore, but I have been practicing and teaching Chi Running for seven years, so it was a great opportunity to MINDFULLY apply what I’ve learned and taught. While I’m not doing long distances anymore (my favorite was 25K in the mountains), at least at this point, I am able to run three or four times a week, and did pretty well in a local 5K a few months back.
It took a while to let the healing take place, and I did end up getting a Synvisc injection, because the inflammation resulted in lower leg swelling. About the time I was ready to do more than walk, the Chi Walk-Run program was released (http://www.chirunning.com/learn-it/chi-walk-run) and I started following that. I let pain be my guide as to whether or not I could walk-run that day, and continued to build up slowly. I also started practicing qigong (a form that involved a lot of balancing on one leg) and I’m now also doing tai chi. I credit the qigong with gradually giving me my strength back, as well as something to do! In any case, I’m back running - 2-4 miles at a time, with an occasional 5-6 miles on the trails thrown in.
The trick here is alignment, relaxation, not overstriding. A big rule of thumb is don’t step past your knee, and land (load) under your center of gravity. That, created from a slight forward lean (and good alignment) helps alleviate a heel strike, which is one of the causes of runner’s knee. If you have not picked up the book, and or watched the DVD, I highly recommend you do so. And remember there are no quick solutions or silver bullets - you have to do the work. While you may not be able to do more half marathons (never say never!), you CAN run again. But it takes work if you have to unlearn habits that contributed to the knee damage in the first place.
Let us know if you have any further questions. I wish all the best of luck!
Certified Chi Running and Chi Walking Instructor