View Full Version : Treadmill bad on Knees???


Brian Golden
Thu, March 24th, 2005, 11:24 PM
I was told by a nursing student at my school that running on the treadmill is very bad on your knees. She referenced professional athletes needing to get knee replacements because of all the damage they did to their knees running.

I enjoy running on a treadmill much more than running on a stationary bike or elli, but should I switch over for the sake of my legs 10 years from now?

Right now, I do cardio 5x a week. I do a combination of steady cardio one day and sprint intervals the next. I imagine the sprint intervals are much worse on my knees and joints...

jtchen22
Fri, March 25th, 2005, 01:51 AM
a treadmill is low impact running, mostly because it is cushioned (has springs to absorb the shock). from that perspective, compared to running on harder surfaces, you actually give your knees a BREAK!

i use a treadmill to recover from injuries, because running on asphalt or concrete (always rated one of the worst surfaces, which is bad because most people run on sidewalks) is pretty high impact.

according to runner's world, too, they also say the treadmill gives the knees a break. http://www.runnersworld.com/cda/article/0,5033,s6-52-0-0-5915-3-1X2X3X4-5,00.html

of course, there's always someone who's going to injure themselves some way or another, on any machine or surface, regardless. just take her comments with a grain of salt and know that most seasoned runners use treadmills to take breaks from running on hard surfaces. i know i do.

Savyart
Fri, March 25th, 2005, 08:34 AM
I am always amazed at the people who are anti-running. When I had an ITBS problem, I went to a sports MD, and he came in with a massive belly, powdered sugar on his moustache, and said without preamble "running is the worst thing you can possibly do" :mad:

In general, if you run - you pretty much have to ignore a LOT of the medical professionals out there. They are usually against it unless you find one who actually DOES it.

As far as the treadmills, there are SOME problems in relation to your knees:

* the cushioning isn't the same as running outside, so you don't get the same bone benefits. (but you do get a little bit of a break, as was stated before)

* the pull of the treadmill on your ankles. Even though it is very very slight and you are jogging along just fine, technically, with the "ground" moving, it creates a slight pull against your ankle joints. It is possible that this can affect your knees or anything else up the chain as well. I know this because I saw a physical therapist and she said it was also one of my problems (I did a lot of the marathon training on my treadmill, because it was -17 outside :eek: )



In the end, some professional athletes need to get knee replacements. And so do some couch potatoes. If your knees are hurting or you are developing problems, then consider the possibility of dropping running for a while. As always, cross training is a must.

jsbrook
Fri, March 25th, 2005, 10:16 AM
I am always amazed at the people who are anti-running. When I had an ITBS problem, I went to a sports MD, and he came in with a massive belly, powdered sugar on his moustache, and said without preamble "running is the worst thing you can possibly do" :mad:

In general, if you run - you pretty much have to ignore a LOT of the medical professionals out there. They are usually against it unless you find one who actually DOES it.



Yes, as an athlete, it's so important to find a doctor with a background in sports rehabilition who specializes in working with athletes. They'll use their expertise to get you back to your training. Too many of them are out of shape themselves and work primarily with new weekend warriors who come in with injuries from jumping into exercise full throttle and the wrong way after being sedentary for years. More than likely, they'll just tell you to stop that activity. Running can be hard on the body, but as said, a treadmill is one of the best options to minimize injury. If you're concerned, you could incorporate some biking or elliptical to have a few cross-training days and give your body a break from the pounding without actually giving up running. But it's not necessary if you're not having any problems. Pay attention to your body and be on the lookout for any nagging pains. Make sure and ice your knees if they're sore and consider taking a day or two off or cross-training. Just be sensible. Sure, injuries are bound to increase when training at a very high level. But note that many of the people who get running-related injuries are fairly overweight and don't have their diet in check. They have a lot of stress on their body and joints when exercising from the excess weight.

Brian Golden
Fri, March 25th, 2005, 11:14 AM
For the sake of actually giving numbers, this is what I did this morning.

21 minutes (Run 2 minutes at 9 mph / Walk 1 minute at 4 mph)

I finished it off with 7 minutes at 3 mph, which I slowly turned up to 4.5 mph. I am rushing into it so to speak, but haven't had a serious problem so far.

Ate an hour before and about 10 minutes after. Had another meal a little before 2 hours after.

I do know I need to get better shoes because my current shoes are terrible...

But, it seems to me that both arguments are valid, and a lot of it depends on the context of the individual. You wouldn't want some who is 50 and 100 lbs overweight to start running 5 miles a day...So, really it all comes down to working your way up.

Knee replacements in sports - If you have a football player who is say 300 lbs, constantly doing sprints for 10 years+, chances are he is going to hurt himself because his body is going to be hurting from the extra weight he needs to carry due to the nature of his sport. Factoring in his weight, he is hurting himself a lot more than someone who is say 150 lbs who runs 60 miles a week whether it's at a constant rate or sprint intervals.

How does my conclusion sound?

Skoorb
Fri, March 25th, 2005, 11:17 AM
Running is bad on the knees, but a treadmill lessens that. I think most runners (at least those without a child's skeleton body) have had knee issues during their time running. It's rough as hell, especially if you're fairly heavy.

xXSuPeRhErO_gIrLXx
Tue, March 29th, 2005, 10:33 AM
"Professional athletes" is the key words here...most athletes extending from high school to professionals train very rigorously...lifting weights 5+ times a week to running sprints and performing agility excercises is most likely the major cause for knee problems...try to think of the effects of sudden start and stop movement...i.e. a basketball player or a baseball/softball player taking a lead off of a base...this is a lot of force on the knees...

As mentioned earlier...think about it...a treadmill is similar to running on asphault...

In my opinion...I've experienced more discomfort in my knees when riding a stationary bike than I do when I run outside or on a treadmill...even after a fairly major knee injury during the beginning of my last season back in March of '03...I have done more running on a treadmill than ever before...no problems thus far...

A rule of thumb..."If it hurts, don't do it!"