Are Treadmills Bad for Your Knees?

Are Treadmills Bad for Your Knees?

Estimated read time: 4 minutes.

When running outside in the cold weather or on uneven terrain doesn’t appeal to you, it’s tempting to hit the treadmill instead. But is this a good idea if you have knee pain?

It turns out that treadmills can be helpful for people with knee pain as long as they use them correctly. The main thing to remember is that the impact of your feet hitting the treadmill belt can be hard on your knees, so starting slowly and increasing your speed gradually is essential.

Is It Better To Run On A Treadmill Or Outside For Your Knees?

When it comes to running and knee pain, there is a lot of conflicting information out there. Some say doing a run on the treadmill is better for your knees, while others claim running outside is the best option. So, which is it?

The truth is that both options have pros and cons regarding knee health. For example, treadmill running is often seen as easier on the knees because the surface is more forgiving than concrete or asphalt. Additionally, treadmills typically have built-in shock absorption, which can help reduce the impact on your joints.

However, running outside has its benefits for knee health. For one, running on natural surfaces can help strengthen the stabilizing muscles in the knee joint, which can ultimately help to protect the joint. Additionally, running on varied terrain can help reduce the risk of developing knee problems because it helps to distribute the impact forces evenly.

So, what’s the bottom line? Both treadmill and outdoor running have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to knee health. But ultimately, the best option for you is the one you enjoy the most and can stick with in the long term.

The Impact Of Treadmill On Your Knees: What You Need To Know

You might not know this, but the impact of your feet hitting the treadmill belt can be quite hard on the knees. The constant jarring can cause pain and inflammation, so it’s essential to start slowly and increase your speed gradually.

Knee Injury From Treadmill

When you use a treadmill, the belt moves beneath your feet, and there is a risk of your feet slipping. This can cause you to lose your balance and fall, leading to severe injuries such as a broken bone or a torn ligament.

There is also the potential for the impact of your feet hitting the treadmill belt to cause knee pain. If you already have a pre-existing condition such as arthritis, this impact can aggravate your symptoms and worsen your pain.

That’s why it’s so important to start slowly when using a treadmill and gradually increase your speed. Then, if you experience any knee pain, stop immediately and consult a doctor.

What You Can Do To Prevent Knee Pain When Using A Treadmill

You can do a few things to help prevent knee pain when using a treadmill. Experts suggest the following:

Warm up before you start running on the treadmill

A good warm-up helps to increase blood flow to your muscles and can reduce the risk of injury.

Start slowly and gradually increase your speed

This gives your body time to adjust to the impact of the treadmill belt.

Make sure you have a good pair of running shoes

Running shoes that are too old or don’t fit properly can increase your risk of injury. Also, ensure your shoes have good support and cushioning to help reduce the impact on the knees. These days you can find a variety of specialized shoes for different types of feet, so it’s worth doing some research to find the right pair for you.

Use the handrails

If you feel pain in your knees, grab the handrails and slow down your pace until the pain disappears. In doing so, you’ll help to avoid a fall or other injury.

The handrails can also be helpful if you need to take a break from running and walk for a bit, as this can help to relieve knee pain.

Don’t forget to stretch 

Stretching helps to improve flexibility and can also reduce the risk of injury. After your run, be sure to spend some time stretching your muscles, including your hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves.

When you make it a habit to stretch after using the treadmill, you’ll help to reduce the risk of knee pain and other injuries.

If you’re unsure how to stretch correctly, plenty of resources are available online, or you can ask a trainer at your local gym.

Use an incline

If running on a flat surface is too hard on the knees, try using the incline feature on the treadmill. This will help to reduce the impact and make it easier on your joints.

When you start using the incline, increase it gradually so your body can adjust.

Final Thoughts

If you experience knee pain while using a treadmill, you must stop immediately and consult a doctor. They will be able to determine the cause of the pain and provide you with the appropriate treatment.

Treadmills are a great way to get some exercise, but it’s important to be aware of the risks. By following the tips above, you can help to prevent knee pain and other injuries.


Is walking on a treadmill OK for bad knees?

Walking is a low-impact activity that can help reduce knee pain. However, if your knees are already injured or in poor condition, walking on a treadmill may not be the best option. If you have any concerns, it’s always best to consult a doctor or physical therapist before starting any new exercise routine.

Are treadmills worse for your knees than running?

There is no definitive answer to this question. It depends on many factors, including your knee condition, how much you weigh, your running style, and the surface you’re running on. However, treadmills tend to be more forgiving than concrete or asphalt surfaces.

Is it better to run on a treadmill with or without shoes?

Most experts recommend wearing shoes when doing a run on a treadmill (or any surface, for that matter). This is because shoes provide cushioning and support that can help reduce the impact on the knees. However, if you have any concerns, it’s always best to consult a doctor or physical therapist before starting any new exercise routine.

Joseph Peele