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Toll of treadmill on Knees

Running on treadmill is quite useful when going out is not feasible. But before using a treadmill, make sure either you go through proper training, or you hire a trainer. Otherwise, it may result in some serious injuries to the knees.

It is believed that every pound of your body weight exerts five pounds of force on your knees. Therefore, treadmill has to be used with proper guidance and precautions to avoid knee injuries.

If you are experiencing knee pain after running on a treadmill. Try below tricks and tips.

Why treadmill cause Knee pain

When you run on a treadmill, your knee joint gets adapted to the same terrain. After continuous running on this plain surface, it will start exerting pressure on knees. This may cause knee pain and other injuries to the knee. Running on a treadmill may not be preferable for few.

This does not happen with the outdoor running. Since in the outdoor running the surface is not symmetrical. It will give enough space for knee joints to adjust and remain flexible. Thus, averting the knee injuries. So how to run on a treadmill, without knee pain or injuries.

How to protect your knees while using a treadmill

a) Do not land on heels:
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Try to minimize the use of your heels while using a treadmill. Instead, use the middle part of the feet while running on the treadmill.

b) Use knee pad or band:
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If you cannot avoid putting pressure on knees, use knee pad or band. This will give support to your knee muscles and help you to keep your knees strong.

c) Start with a slow pace:
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When you start running on a treadmill, do not pick up high speed instantly. Always start with a slow pace. Once muscle warms up, you can increase the speed gradually.

d) Take a proper stride:
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While using a treadmill, make sure that you take a proper stride. Some people takes longer stride which sometimes get dangerous. It put extra pressure on hip and knee, throwing the body alignment off. Always try to take a stride that is not too short or not too large.
e) Balanced body posture:
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A proper body posture is very crucial while running on the treadmill. It is advisable to keep your body slightly incline towards the treadmill control panel. While running on treadmill, one should kick out to the side and let the feet spread out a little.
f) Use Anti-gravity treadmill:
Anti-gravity allows significant unweighting of person weight. This exerts less pressure on knees. Some research has claimed that using Anti-gravity treadmill, one can decrease the joint forces. A person can unweight up to 80% of its total weight. It is the best treadmill for a patient with knee pain.
g) Underwater Treadmill Exercise:
The underwater treadmill can be helpful for people having knee pain or osteoarthritis. Research have suggested that an aquatic treadmill positively arthritis-related joint pain.

Even after following above safety measures, if knee problems persist. There are treadmills available in the market designed in particular for people with knee problems.

One such model is Oriter. This model (Oriter) comes with a soft surface, putting less stress on your knees. It gives an impression of walking on the sandy beach.

Another treadmill model available in the market is (Alter G Anti-gravity M320). It lightens ups your weight by 80% lifting your body in the bubble of air pressure. This type of treadmill usually used by athletes to rehabilitate their injuries.

Alternate exercise for bad knees

  • Swimming: Swimming is an excellent way to stay fit if you have bad knees. Cycling and walking movement under water are best for bad knees.
  • Moderate Jogging: If the knee is still capable of bearing your weight, moderate jogging will be helpful. Exercises like leg extensions, hamstring curls, and light leg presses can also be considered for weak knees.

Common Mistakes while using a treadmill

  • Doing same thing over and over: People who does the same exercises over and again are more prone to injuries. Try to bring variation in an exercise routine.
  • Skipping the warm-up:Warm up before treadmill is necessary. It activates all your muscles and gives mobility. Which result in fewer injuries.
  • Holding bars: Holding bars is the common mistake people make when they get exhausted while running on a treadmill. Holding the bars will not allow your body to move freely and completely.
  • Uncomfortable posture due to distraction:Usually, people prefer to watch TV while running on a treadmill. This compromises their body posture sometimes. It can cause serious knee injury.

Alternatives to treadmill

If the treadmill causes you knee pain while running. It’s better to switch on to other exercise machines. Cardio exercise is a good alternative to the treadmill. Some other popular substitutes for treadmill are

  • Recumbent (stationary) Bikes:

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Recumbent bikes put less weight on your knees. The whole body weight is transferred to lower back of your body.

  • Elliptical Trainer:

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The elliptical machine looks more like a standing cycle. It is designed for lower impact workouts and to put less strain on the joints.

  • Arc Climbers:

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Arc Trainer are similar like Climbing stairs. People with knee problems “arc trainer” is a good cardio exercise. It will have little impact on knees.

  • Rowing Machine:

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The rowing machine is just like a boat replica. It gives the same experience like rowing the boat. It is a good alternative for cardio exercise. But people with knee injuries should seek doctor advice first.

  • Resistance Training Machine:

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This machine allows you to work out on lower body and leg muscles. Not exerting more pressures on knees, it is a good alternative to the treadmill

Tips for using a treadmill

  • Warm up with a slow walk before using treadmill
  • Keep variation in speed to have more efficient workout
  • Mix treadmill exercises. Do an alternate five minutes jogging and one minute of sprinting. Studies have suggested that graded treadmill walking can be helpful in the patient going through knee Rehabilitation
  • Walk two to five minutes to prevent muscle cramps and return your heart rate to normal
  • For a variation increase the incline of your treadmill
About the author

    Dorothy Gusmus

    Hi, I am Dorothy Gusmus. Chief editor at HealthUnify.