Is Running On A Treadmill Bad For Your Knees?

If the weather outside is not practical for outdoor exercise, you may be left with no choice but to do your walking or running on a treadmill indoors.

Not only does running on a treadmill indoors prevent you from looking at some beautiful outdoor views, but some users are complaining that they are suffering from knee pain and other problems after spending some time on a treadmill.

What Do Studies Say?

Some studies have come to the conclusion that aggressive workouts and exercises take a toll on the knees. This is especially true if a person is recovering from an injury; a workout is sure to aggravate it. However, treadmills are known to promote healthy joints.

When you walk, you are capable of absorbing hundreds or even thousands of pounds of force with each step you take. When you escalate your movements to running or jogging, your muscles take the bulk of the impact necessary to move quicker.

What Do Most People Think?

Are treadmills known for doing damage to your knees? The simple answer is “no”. However, they will only prevent injuries from occurring as long as are used in the right ways. If you exercise and feel pain while doing it, then you are doing it wrong. This is not just for running on a treadmill, buy for other workout activities including weightlifting, chin-ups, and more.

Why Treadmills Are Better For Knees

By stepping down harder, however, the amount that a person has to absorb will increase. Even if you walk with your heels as the first point of contact, the knees will be known to take damage. Since the knees are in between the ankle and hip joints, they have a larger risk for injury if something were to go wrong.

The majority of treadmill runners will run with their toes, even though the habit of injury ultimately depends on one’s style of running. When you run on your toes, your leg is shaped so that your knee bends to a great extent when your foot makes contact with the conveyor belt. Therefore, the knee is capable of absorbing a greater force with every step that you take.

When you run outside, you can walk or run as fast or slow as you want. You can change how fast you move right on the fly just by moving your body. With a treadmill, however, the pace is always fixed. You can only move as fast or slow as your treadmill settings will allow. This can be a big reason why some runners feel pain as they walk with their toes touching first.

Treadmill users should try to walk with the middle of their feet touching first. This will help balance out the force when walking so that all of it does not get directed in one place.

The knee pain that one can experience from using a treadmill is not based on the the fact that a treadmill is being used, but how it is being used. If you are experiencing knee pain when using the treadmill, it is very likely that you are doing something on the treadmill that causes this pain, such as walking with toes touching first.

Tips For Healthy Knees

To experiment with different walking habits, try slowly walking on the treadmill first, so that you have time and control over each step you take. The heel-to-toe stride is a tried and true walking method in fitness. You allow your the heel of your foot to make contact with the platform first, and then you lift your foot off of the ground with your toe. This is a healthy way to walk for your knees, and it is fairly easy to learn and do on your own. The heel-toe method distributes the force taken into multiple joints, including the knee, ankle and hip. This makes your walk cycle not hurt any one joint as much.

Be sure to take things easy on the treadmill. If you are aware of a shaky history with knee problems, you would not want to do any forceful running on the conveyor belt. Run slowly and long, rather than try to go as fast as possible. You can find a stride that works for you and one that will not trigger any knee problems.

Another problem you could be experiencing is the kind of running shoes that you might have. It is possible that you may not be using shoes that are ideal for running workouts. If you shop at any athletic footwear store, you can run in any shoes you pick out before you buy them.


To answer the question once more, treadmills are not the main cause of knee pain and have nothing to do with the performance of a user’s knee during workouts. Possible problems could originate with how you are running or what shoes you are wearing that could be giving you pain.

Do you have any further questions or comments? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the feedback section down below.

Be sure to check out our article on best treadmill under $1000.