How to Prevent Injuries When Running On a Treadmill?

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While running on a treadmill is effective, it comes with risks, including injuries. So, how to prevent injuries when running on a treadmill should be a priority to ensure you don’t pay a hefty price for its benefits.

Sometimes, this workout routine is responsible for various injuries most athletes have. In other instances, the exercises make existing injuries worse.

Since it would be unfortunate to suffer such fates, you better know how to prevent such eventualities. After all, prevention is a cure.

So, without further ado, let’s give you the answers you seek.

Common Injuries When Running On a Treadmill

Before we discuss how to prevent injuries when running on a treadmill, let’s discuss the common ones. They include the following;

Treadmill Falls

As funny as a treadmill fall may appear, it may have dire consequences, especially as you watch that video. After all, some people have incurred severe injuries following such falls.

It is the leading cause of treadmill injuries. That’s sad, given the simple mistakes that usually cause these falls.

Can you imagine the treadmill throwing your fragile body into a wall after a fall? There is a high chance of experiencing head trauma.

After all, your face and head will most likely hit the treadmill’s running belt. The repercussions of such an encounter can be intense sometimes.

Hip Pain

This injury often arises when running on a treadmill at an incline. Under such circumstances, you usually exert your hips significantly.

Besides, overusing your muscles, which is common during running sessions, can lead to hip injuries. Other causes of this injury are overextending one’s legs and sticking to an abnormal stride pattern.

It is advisable to stop your workout sessions as soon as you experience any hip pain. Remember that its early detection can help treat it completely.

Foot Injuries

It is no secret that foot injuries are quite common when running on a treadmill. It often occurs upon losing your footing.

Besides missing a step, you can also experience these injuries if you overuse your muscles. Incorrect running form and poor quality shoes can also cause the problem.

For instance, one may experience the infamous plantar fasciitis. It involves extreme pain in your heels and feet.

Ways to Prevent Injuries When Running on a Treadmill

Now that we know the common issues let’s discuss how to prevent injuries when running on a treadmill.

Minimizing Your Impact on the Treadmill Belt

It is no secret that the moving belt transfers impact force to your legs.

Minimizing that force as much as possible is important to avoid falling off the treadmill.

You can minimize that impact by lifting your feet throughout the session.

Your strides should also be short and quick.

Ensure you pull your hips together with your legs when running on a treadmill.

It triggers the lower body’s rotation along the vertical axis.

Thus this rotation absorbs most of the shock once your feet hit the treadmill moving belt.

That’s an effective way of minimizing the consequential impact.

Maintaining a Good Posture

The correct muscle conditioning requires you to maintain proper posture.

Besides ensuring your body is in a good posture, overstressing and overextending your joints is discouraged.

The incline shouldn’t be too flat since your legs and feet may suffer.

Such a practice prevents natural running since your knees remain straight instead of soft and bent a little as they should be.

As a result, your feet and knees will experience muscle strain and pain.

It is also hard for your knees to properly absorb shock in such a state.

On the other hand, the incline can’t be too steep since that overexerts your muscles.

Maintaining a 2 percent incline when running on a treadmill is advisable.

It is a perfect simulation of running outdoors.

Since you also don’t want to lose stability, avoid holding onto the treadmill’s front bar or leaning forward for any other purpose.

Choose the Right Treadmill

If you have knee pain sometimes or all the time, you definitely don’t want a treadmill that makes it worse.

The most important feature to look for in a treadmill for bad knees is good cushioning on the running surface, especially if you have knee pain. Look carefully at the treadmill’s belt.

Check if it’s 2-3 layers thick and if the PVC belt is at least 0.8mm thick.

Also, see if there’s any mention of extra cushioning in the design. Think about these factors before you pick a treadmill quickly.

Whether or not incline and decline settings matter to you depends on your plan.

Research also suggests that walking backward downhill can actually strengthen your knees. If you feel comfortable, you might want to try this.

Warm Up

Before you start running on a treadmill, ensure you warm up adequately.

After all, cold muscles are neither flexible nor have sufficient blood flow.

So it is unwise to exert pressure by running on a treadmill under such circumstances.

Fortunately, it isn’t hard to warm up and does not take much time.

You can start by walking slowly for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Afterward, try static stretching before engaging in various motion exercises.

Consider the Incline Feature

Walking or even running on a treadmill for a long time can lead to over-flexed ankles since it is similar to walking uphill.

That’s enough to make your ankles hurt, and injuries may arise.

Once the ankle muscles weaken, you must support them properly to prevent pain, injuries, and further damage.

Remember to do training exercises that strengthen the muscles as well.

Equally important, seeking medical attention sooner upon injuring any part of your body can make a huge difference.

Wear the Right Pair of Shoes

Whereas proper running shoes are quite costly, their benefits make them worth every penny.

So, you must ensure that you only settle for high-quality ones to prevent injuries when running on a treadmill.

It is easy to settle for such a pair if you consider the following;

  • Only settle for running shoes since their design supports the exercise by being relatively light and offering the extra support these sessions demand.
  • Avoid worn-out shoes since they compromise their efficiency. Consider replacing your running shoes after wearing them for 300 to 500 miles.
  • The shoes you chose need to absorb shock as well. Otherwise, the impact on your feet and knees’ joints will be significant.
  • You can also avoid injuring your feet by ensuring the shoes fit excellently.

These considerations reduce treadmill injuries significantly for obvious reasons.

Related: What to Wear When Running on Treadmills?

Pay Attention to How Your Body Feels

Shin splints and strained muscles are inevitable if you overexert your body when running on a treadmill.

Remember how your body handles workout sessions depends on your fitness level.

Learn to start slow and gradually increase your workout intensity, including running speed.

If you increase the treadmill incline or speed quickly, injuries may arise or worsen.

Upon realizing your body doesn’t feel good, stop your workout and rest to rejuvenate for another day.

Cool Down

Did you know your muscles will tighten quickly upon stopping an activity like running on a treadmill?

It could lead to injuries, hence the need to cool down after an exercise.

You can walk slowly for 10 percent to 15 percent of your time on the treadmill working out.

Stretch your lower back, hips, and legs too.


Injuries are highly likely to occur when exercising on a treadmill. Falls, knee pain, hip pain, and foot injuries are the most common.

It is common to experience muscular strains or injure your Achilles tendon. Fortunately, the above discussion focuses on preventing injuries when running on a treadmill.

So, adhere to that for excellent workout sessions that are safe for your body.

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