What Are the Causes of Knee Pain from Treadmill? [6 Causes & Tips to Prevent It]

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Running on a treadmill is similar to running outdoors on the ground. Therefore, it also falls under the category of high-impact exercises.

Its indisputable nature explains the various causes of knee pain from a treadmill. Remember that your feet will be coming into contact with its deck.

In the process, there is force emanating from this impact. So your joints must react and absorb the shocks during these workout sessions.

Out of the affected joints, the ones around the knees suffer the most. That’s why people usually experience knee pain over time after using a treadmill for a while.

Wouldn’t it be great to know why your knees are experiencing such excruciating pain during or after treadmill sessions? Fortunately, this piece sheds light on this matter.

Some of the reasons why your knee hurts after treadmill workout sessions include the following;

Runner’s Knee

First, not just treadmill use can lead to this issue. Runner’s knee is officially known as the patellofemoral pain syndrome.

If you have this condition, expect the front of your knee to experience dull pain. It has several causes, including the following;

  • Muscles overuse
  • Excessive training
  • Weak quadriceps muscles
  • Incorrect foot support
  • Achilles’ tendons
  • Tight hamstrings

It is advisable to stop running as soon as you realize you have a runner’s knee. Fortunately, several weeks are usually enough to resolve it if you don’t strain your knees.

In the meantime, indulge in exercises with low impact on your knees. Your options include walking, rowing, and swimming.

A professional physical therapist can also assist you with the condition.

A Bad Treadmill

Like a great treadmill offers effective workout sessions, a bad one brings problems, including knee pain. It explains why you should choose a low-impact treadmill wisely.

For instance, trouble may arise if the treadmill deck lacks enough cushioning.

If it doesn’t offer ample workout area, it may compromise your strides as the compactness makes them unnatural.

Tight Muscles

Are your iliotibial bands and quads tights? That’s one of the common causes of knee pain from a treadmill.

Under such circumstances, the kneecap or patella will most likely misalign. Consequently, your leg experiences instability, thus straining your knee joints.

It is advised to note that tight iliotibial bands cause additional friction. It is often responsible for the swelling and pain in your outer knee.

Excess Incline or Decline

People use an incline since it strengthens various muscles, including glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. However, too much of everything is poisonous, including excess inclination and decline.

For instance, an incline that’s too steep can lead to overuse injuries. Runners can easily develop a runner’s knee and regular knee pain.

Since your ankle joints won’t be moving much due to the incline, the knees propel your body uphill. Such strains often lead to knee pain from the treadmill after some time.

Remember that fate is the same even when moving downhill. Therefore, even excess decline is one of the causes of knee pain from the treadmill.

Wearing Wrong Sneakers

People assume comfortable shoes are important when running to prevent foot pain and blisters. Whereas that’s one of the reasons for it, shoes do more than that.

It revolves around shock absorption and support, preventing shin splints and knee pain. Remember to wear flexible shoes with ample cushioning.

Maintaining Poor Posture

Other major causes of knee pain from the treadmill are incorrect mechanics and poor running form. After all, they minimize even the contribution of impact from running.

Under such circumstances, joint pain can be inevitable. Your feet should land under the hips when running on the treadmill.

If yours lands in front of your hips, there is a high chance you will experience knee pain from the treadmill.

A good running posture ensures you don’t strain your knees. After all, it maintains natural impact while producing force enough to push you forward.

How to Prevent Knee Pain from Treadmill

The fear of experiencing knee pain shouldn’t stop you from using the treadmill. After all, there are various ways of preventing the pain, including the following;

Maintaining a Good Running Posture

Did you know there is a posture you should maintain when running on a treadmill? That’s popularly known as the good running form.

For instance, ensure you engage your abdomen. Remember to keep your spine straight and tall.

Relax your shoulders away from the ears for that ideal posture. Otherwise, a contrary form misaligns your joints, thus compromising how they absorb shock following the impact of running.

Body parts that suffer from that include back, knees, and pain. Therefore, maintaining the right posture can prevent knee pain from the treadmill.

Wearing Comfortable Shoes

Unlike normal shoes, running shoes are light to ensure you don’t struggle running in them. There is also the extra cushioning to handle the impact that arises as you run.

Any discomfort could indicate that the sneakers aren’t fit for the job. Failure to do so can lead to your joints dealing with the excess force the deck exerts on your feet.

Remember that knees often suffer the most when joints are affected. So, spare them this trouble by preventing knee pain from the treadmill.

Stretching Often

It is advisable to stretch your muscles daily for an hour or even half an hour. It has proven effective in improving your body’s balance.

One side of your body is likely tighter than the other. That’s usually due to certain repetitive tasks that often demand more from one side than the other.

An excellent example is someone who hits the gas pedal for the better part of the day. Since such a repetitive routine often relies on the right foot, the tightness of one side is usually inevitable.

Remember that repetitive exercises can also increase your body imbalance further. Such activities include walking and running on a treadmill.

Under such circumstances, it becomes hard to distribute the impact of the exercises on your joints. Pain and injuries can easily arise.

You can prevent this eventuality by stretching daily. It will eliminate the one-sided tightness.

Performing the Right Strides

Injuring your hamstrings and knees is easy if your strides are too long. After all, it means your feet land in front of your body instead of landing under it.

When the feet land in front of you, the force you need to propel your body can strain your knee joints. So, avoid the long strides at all costs.


It turns out there are various causes of knee pain from the treadmill. Some involve the machine, whereas others revolve around your running practices.

Other causes have to do with what you wear. Fortunately, there are various ways of preventing this pain.

You don’t want to stop treadmill running; hence, stopping anything that can jeopardize that is important. Otherwise, you will miss out on its health benefits, which is unfair.


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