Any time joints are involved in repetitive and pressure-intense movements, such as running on a treadmill, problems frequently emerge regarding inflammatory or mechanical issues within the joints. Unexpected twisting motions often injure tendons, ligaments and susceptible tissues comprising hip, knee and ankle joints, which receive the most stress from treadmill exercising. As with all exercises, overdoing treadmill running or over-exerting yourself on the treadmill may exacerbate an existing but minor joint problem.
Capable of absorbing large amounts of resistance and pressure, joints are complex, tough and highly flexible. However, cartilage and ligaments connecting the bones of a joint experience stretching, tearing or rupturing if they are adversely twisted or moved during abnormal movements. Sometimes, joint pain from using a treadmill is the result of not walking or jogging in the same manner as you do while outside the gym. Affected by medical conditions such as osteoarthritis, tendonitis and bursitis, joints may experience pain from treadmill use due to other factors, such as ill-fitting shoes and not consuming a diet enhancing joint health.
Benefits of Treadmills on Joints
Researchers concluded in a study published in "Skeletal Radiology: A Journal of Radiology, Pathology and Orthopedics" that participating in regular sessions of running and walking, whether on treadmills or outside running, may actually protect the knees from injury. Another study published in "The Journal of Joint and Bone Surgery" states that moving and loading your knee joint, as you do when walking or running on a treadmill or outdoors, can condition your cartilage to the load ... and might actually help to protect against arthritis.
Problems with Treadmills on Joints
Because exercising on treadmills offers different approaches to joint biomechanics than walking or running on a track, issues with joint pain from treadmills are frequently encountered by both first-time and long-time users of treadmills. For example, stride lengths of individuals who regularly use treadmills appear to be longer than when participating in outside walking, according to Runtowin.com. This naturally stretches tendons and ligaments more, increasing the likelihood of injury and joint problems. In addition, the slightly cushioned but hard surface of a treadmill seems to have a disturbing impact on joints, including the back. However, wearing athletic shoes specifically meant for running could correct this concern.
Reducing Joint Pain
To reduce joint pain from treadmill use, avoid overdoing and overexerting joint muscles. Always stretch before engaging in any type of consistently energetic workout and do knee and hip exercises to strengthen those joints. Maintaining a healthy weight also helps to reduce joint pain when walking or running on treadmills. If pain occurs after a workout on the treadmill, apply an ice pack, take anti-inflammatory medications, and rest, advises LiveMint.com. Before resuming treadmill use, allow your pain to completely diminish.
- "Skeletal Radiology"; Changes On Magnetic Resonance Tomography In The Knee Joints Of Marathon Runners: A 10-Year Longitudinal Study; W.W. Krampla, S.P. Newrkla, et al.; July 2008
- "The Journal Of Bone And Joint Surgery"; Gait Mechanics Influence Healthy Cartilage Morphology And Osteoarthritis Of The Knee; T.P. Andriacchi, S. Koo, et al.; February 2009
- Spine-Health; Treadmills For Exercise And Pain Relief; Megan Tyner, ACE
- Run To Win; Treadmill Mistake: Unnatural Stride Length; Blaine Moore; April 6th, 2006