Are you worried you might injure your knee if you run on a treadmill? Are you experiencing pain in your knee and wondering if the treadmill might be the cause?

There can be many questions that pop into your head when you think about treadmill running. Read on to know more. 

A treadmill is an exercise machine with a controllable rotating belt that you can run or walk on. The biggest advantage of the treadmill is its accessibility and various functions like precise control of pace, incline, and intervals.

Here are some of the answers to the questions that may be bothering you.

1. Does Treadmill Running Have a High Impact on Your Knees?

Treadmill running is not higher in impact when compared to road running. The treadmill has a semi-floating wooden board beneath its belt, which will act as a shock absorber to reduce the impact on your heels, knees, and spine.

2. Is Treadmill Running Harder Than Running on The Ground?

Treadmill running is not equal to running on the ground. In fact, it is easier than the latter. The metabolic cost of running on a treadmill is lesser than running on the ground with the same speed and body mass.

Treadmill running is a kind of aided running. As soon as you strike your heel forward the moving belt brings your landed leg behind your body, thereby making the next step easier.

3. Is Treadmill Running Bad For Your Knees?

No, absolutely not. There are many things to consider before blaming the treadmill for your knee pain. Certain intrinsic and extrinsic factors need to be assessed and corrected before you start running.

4. What Are The Factors That Can Cause Knee Pain?

Knee pain can be caused by both extrinsic and intrinsic factors such as:

  • Extrinsic Factors:  Poor running skills, worn-out shoes, and running too much or too fast.

  • Intrinsic Factors

    • Tight or weak calf muscles.

    • Poor gluteus (bum) muscle strength and endurance.

    • Poor balance and proprioception (your body's ability to sense movement, action, and location).

    • Overweight/Obesity.

    • Lack of intrinsic foot muscle strength.

    • Flat foot (collapsed foot arch) or rigid foot (high arch).

5. What is Better, Running on a Treadmill or Running Outside?

Both have their pros and cons. Whatever you choose, either running outside or on a treadmill, it will benefit you physically and mentally.

The best form of running for you would be the one you enjoy and will stick to for a long time.

Also, there are certain things you need to do before you start running to avoid injuries.

Things to Keep in Mind if You Run

  • Understand, accept and work on your intrinsic limitations.

  • Always increase the duration/intensity gradually.

  • Low load long duration stretch (>1min) for prime muscles (hip flexor, glute, quad, calf) is the key to preventing knee pain.

  • Keep doing lower body muscle strength training.

  • Learn “Running Techniques” from experts.

  • Never run daily. Give some time for muscle and joint recovery.

  • Change your running shoes yearly or after every 800 km. 

  • Start core stability training to avoid back pain.

There are many factors to consider before you begin to run. Do not simply blame the treadmill for causing your knee pain. If you experience extreme pain while using the treadmill, discontinue and consult your doctor immediately.

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.