How dangerous is it for your knees if you run on a treadmill every day? When it comes to your knees, running on a treadmill is not as bad as running outside. When you’re running outside on a variety of terrain, your knees are put under extra pressure since they have to constantly respond to the varying degrees of impact.
Understand how the treadmill impacts knees
Try to pay attention to how you walk or sprint the next time you’re outside. According to fitness expert James Shapiro, you unknowingly absorb hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds of power with each stride.
Your musculoskeletal system bears the majority of the strain when you increase the intensity of your workout by jogging on a treadmill belt.
The more power we have to absorb, the more difficult it is to take a stride.” Knees absorb more injury even if ankles are first point of contact,” he says. “They are situated in the middle of our limbs, making them more vulnerable to injury.”
Jerry Snider, an Exercise Physiologist, believes that most people tend to run on their toes on a treadmill, regardless of their running style.
“When you run on your toes, your knee is bent more when your foot hits the treadmill. Because of this, each step absorbs a lot more force. On a treadmill, running at a constant speed is unnatural. It’s because of this extended tension of each stride that knee injury might occur,” he explains.
With each stride, runners should strive to land on their mid-foot in order to minimise this impact.
Try walking first
That doesn’t mean there isn’t any good news. You can still get a great cardio workout on the treadmill without doing major damage to your lower body by making a few adjustments.
Snider recommends a slow walking session as a good approach to improve your stride. The heel-to-toe strike is very universally practised in everyday walking, according to him.
Unlike this machine, this is better for your knees, and you’ll eventually become used to the sensations.
As your speed increases, you’ll be able to put it into action.
Allows the force generated by a step to be transferred from the ankle and knee to hip via the heel-toe pattern Since numerous joints are involved, the force is dissipated.
Focus on your posture
Katie Dunlop, a certified personal trainer and group fitness teacher, believes that most treadmill workouts fail because people don’t practise appropriate posture.
There is a low probability that you are paying attention to your stomach, arms, and back if you are half-running or watching whatever evening rom-com is on television in front of you (#nojudgement).
“Keep your core engaged, shoulders pulled down away from your ears, and posture tall,” she recommends.
Running on A Treadmill Produces a Lower Impact on The Knees than Running Outside:
- Running on a treadmill resulted in a lower vertical displacement than running on any other surface.
- Running on a treadmill’s less stiff surface is superior for recovery with lower vertical loading rates than stiff overground surfaces in some scenarios, making it an attractive option for training or rehab after a knee injury.
- Treadmill running has been shown to produce higher muscle forces in the gastrocnemius and soleus, which may be useful in the rehabilitation of lower limb stress fractures.
- Because treadmill belt speed (running speed) is typically constant, less stress is placed on your knee joints during treadmill jogging.
- Running on a treadmill results in lower braking forces, resulting in less impact on the knees.
Surface stiffness and impact on your knees
Jogging’s impact on your knees is a dependent variable that is dependent on the independent variable of surface stiffness, regardless of whether you are running on a treadmill or outside. In comparison to some of the other surfaces we run on, the treadmill is a little more gentle on your knees:
- the concrete’s surface
- Field of grass
- A field of weeds
- A rubberized jogging path
If you don’t run in a suitable posture on a hard surface like concrete, your knees will be subjected to more stress and wear and tear. It is less likely that you may sprain your ankle if you run on a level, well-maintained grass or dirt field, but it is still possible. Running on a rubber running track is the best option because it provides excellent traction while still being somewhat gentle on the knees.
Rubber jogging tracks and treadmill decks are both excellent options for a low-impact workout that doesn’t put too much strain on your knees. This treadmill has good traction for your shoes and the treadmill desk, thanks to the high-quality PVC rubber on the upper side and the cotton, mono-filament, and polyester on the underside.
The treadmill belt’s underside is made of cotton, which can decrease the impact on your knees when you’re jogging. By comparison to natural or man-made surfaces like concrete, the treadmill is well-designed for running and quite safe for your knees.
Knee pain on the treadmill but not outside
When running on a treadmill, some people may have knee pain, but not when running outside. Generally speaking, the treadmill provides superior grip and shock absorption than most other running surfaces.
As a result of the tiredness that comes from jogging at a constant tempo without the opportunity to alter your pace or speed, running on a treadmill may result in tighter calves. Knee pain could be exacerbated by muscle exhaustion in some cases, as well as by existing knee injuries.
On the treadmill, a second reason for knee pain is that people prefer to keep their lead leg frozen in place, so the treadmill’s force might get stuck there and produce pain. The foot should land under the body, not in front of it, when running on a treadmill, according to experts.
Does the incline on a treadmill hurt your knees?
Is a treadmill’s inclination bad for your knees? Is it hazardous for the knees to do uphill treadmill running? To put it succinctly, the answer is no. Treadmill inclination settings that are too low or flat might cause knee and leg pain. People tend to land their foot in front of their torso because the tread belt pulls them forward, which can cause knee injury.
Runners on a flat treadmill are more likely to run with very straight knees, according to Scottish specialist Philip Riches. When the knees are straight, they are unable to appropriately absorb impact.
To avoid this, set the treadmill’s inclination to +1-2 percent to mimic running on the ground. It is therefore possible to run in a good posture by allowing your knee to drop naturally under your body. As a result, running on a treadmill at an elevation of 1-2 percent is not harmful to your knees.
Tips for Protecting Your Knees When Running on a Treadmill
Adding an elevation to a treadmill can help alleviate some of the stress on your knees, according to many running experts. Although a treadmill’s recommended elevation is +1-2 percent, there is no one-size-fits-all treadmill incline for everyone. It’s a trial and error to find what incline on a treadmill works better for your knees as long as it’s within a reasonable range.
Running on a treadmill with no elevation is bad for your knees because it simulates downhill running, which is hard on the patellar tendon and the knees.
In contrast to running outside, where you must fight the obstacle, a treadmill propels your body forward. When you use a treadmill with no incline, your muscles have to work harder to maintain control of your motions and prevent a fall. Overuse knee problems can be caused by excessive muscle strain around the knee.
The following tips will help you to protect your knees when running on a treadmill:
- Always set the treadmill’s slope to between +1 and -2 percent to mimic the characteristics of running outside, such as resistance.
- Try to be as quiet as possible.. Less noise means a softer landing on your knees.
- So that your muscles and knee joints can better absorb the impact, make sure you run in shock-absorbing running shoes.
- Running on a treadmill to warm up and cool down helps blood flow around the legs and knees, which helps keep muscles from tightening up when you suddenly stop.