Is Walking on Treadmill – Bad for Knees?


It’s needless to say that exercising is a crucial part of a healthy regimen and fitness enthusiasts go to any length to keep their bodies in the best of shape and health. For many people, the treadmill is an important part of their workout regimen as it allows them to get an aerobic workout indoors and entails all the health benefits of running. All of these people have one common question


Are Treadmill Workout bad for Knees?

Unfortunately, the answer would be ‘It Depends’  on various factors:

  1. Whether treadmill is easier or tougher on your knees
  2. Whether you already have knee problems
  3. Shoe you are wearing
  4. Amount of time you are walking on the treadmill
  5. The speed of the treadmill
  6. The form of your walking.



    1. A treadmill provides more cushion than running or walking on a road, so it absorbs shock better. As a result, your knees and other joints will not take the same kind of beating when you use a treadmill. On the other hand, a treadmill is harder than other surfaces you could run on, such as a well-cushioned track or a golf course. Bottom line — a treadmill can be a better or worse surface to run on than other alternatives in terms of your knees.
    2. Ideally walking is considered a low impact activity as compared to running. But walking on the treadmill puts a greater impact on knees as compared to walking on the ground as you have to follow the speed of the treadmill irrespectively whether you are tired or not.

If you have a history of knee pain, the chances of you damaging the knee is more on the treadmill due to the bad form.

  1. When you walk on treadmill and try to match the speed of the machine, the point of contact pressure tends to remain on a very limited area of the knee which is repeated every few seconds. On the other hand, when you are walk on a track or on grass, apart from changing your position constantly you also do not try to match the speed of a machine. Changing your position continuously facilitates the persistent change of point contact area on your knee and therefore cuts the chance of wear and tear.


Take Away Message:

While exercising is a very good way to keep your body and joints active and healthy, excessive exercising that tests the limits of your body’s strength can sometimes have negative effects. The key is to start with moderate levels and increase the levels of your exercise regime slowly. But never do it beyond your body’s capacity. So, better walk out in the open field rather than endangering your knee on a treadmill. Even if you have to walk on a treadmill, do not overdo it; do it for shorter spans of time.


Dr. Mansi Parikh,

Co-Founder EndoRush App

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