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Myth: Running on a treadmill puts less stress on your knees than running on asphalt or pavement. (Read 383 times)

pedaling fool


    Not that I really care, but more out of curiosity. What am I missing here? Why is it a myth that running on a treadmill is less stressful on your knees than running on pavement?

     

    Of all the treadmills I've run on, I could feel the "give" or flex on the platform as my foot came down...So again, what am I missing here

     

     

    http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/top-9-fitness-myths-busted

     

    Excerpt:

     

    Fitness Myth No. 1: Running on a treadmill puts less stress on your knees than running on asphalt or pavement.

    "Running is a great workout, but it can impact the knees -- and since it's the force of your body weight on your joints that causes the stress, it's the same whether you're on a treadmill or on asphalt," says Todd Schlifstein, DO, a clinical instructor at New York University Medical Center's Rusk Institute."

      I don't buy it either.  Seems to me the fact the TM gives a little with each step indicates the impact is being lessoned.

        While that statement might be factually true (the forces acting on your knee are close to the same for both surfaces), I think you are more likely to get injured on the road or trail due to landing wrong and forces being applied to the knee at an angle it wasn't designed for.  That being said, all the knee problems I have gotten from running have been due to overuse and not landing hard or wrong.

          I have given this topic some thought in a more general sense.  There is a boatload of advice out there about what surface is best for running:  dirt, grass, trail, concrete, asphalt, treadmill.  There are people who swear that asphalt is softer than concrete, and dirt is preferable to asphalt, and so on.  On top of that (literally) is the cushioning provided by the shoes.  Is there no limit to the amount of cushioning that is desirable?  Would six inches of foam rubber be even better?

           

          Over the years, I am coming to the conclusion that the most sustainable, injury-free running is achieved by cultivating the best possible running form, and that the biomechanics of the legs and feet are what really provide the best cushioning.  If you practice running on "soft" feet, ankles, and knees, your joints and muscles over time will develop the ability to handle any surface.  If concrete theoretically is jarring to your bones and joints, that doesn't really matter because you have an elastic form to take out the jolts.  It's possible that a little irregularity might help you develop and maintain your strength better than a surface that never changes, i.e. a treadmill or perfectly flat concrete trail.  Anyway, you have a built-in system, beginning with the nerves in your feet, that automatically responds with every footstep to the angle and feel of the surface.  Let that system do its magic and you're on your way to being a better runner.

           

          What do you think?

          Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

            Which causes a higher impact force:  falling out of a tree onto concrete or jumping out of a tree onto a trampoline?  I think the rate of deceleration plays a role in the equation.  Running on concrete is harder on my joints (particularly the feet) than asphalt, dirt, or the mill.  My joints thank me when I hit the occasional treadmill instead of the usual roads, especially when logging higher monthly mileage.

             

            I agree with the last point about the benefits of variety: variety of surfaces, speed, incline, and even shoes all help.

            2014 goals:   •  1st Marathon  •  3,000 miles

              But too much cushioning is bad also.  It would absorb the energy need to launch you into the next stride and you are less efficient.

               

              I think the knee can handled the stresses of running just fine as long as good form is used on most surfaces.  I am a severe overpronator and I do notice that when my shoes wear out that I feel a twinge in my left knee (my weaker leg).  The loss of support in the shoe causes the stresses from running to be applied to my knee at different angle.  It doesn't seem to matter if I have been running a lot on the treadmill or the roads.  Then again, it could all be in my mind since I track the mileage on my shoes and know about when they normally wear out.

                Anyway, you have a built-in system, beginning with the nerves in your feet, that automatically responds with every footstep to the angle and feel of the surface.  Let that system do its magic and you're on your way to being a better runner.

                 

                What do you think?

                 

                I agree to a point. Having strong feet that are responsive to the terrain underfoot is important, but I am not so sure the key to good running form comes from my feet. For me, it has more to do with my spine. If I keep my back straight and my pelvis in a neutral position, my feet tend to take care of themselves.

                 

                As for the original question, I suspect the stresses on your knee are pretty similar whether you're running on the treadmill or the road. As others have said, the hardness of the surface is only one factor.

                Runners run.

                  Since he’s talking about the knees and not the foot or lower leg the author probably needs to insert the word “significantly” into his sentence and it might be correct.  Any method of spreading the impact force over time will reduce peak force applied to the joints.  Softer shoes, softer surfaces (I suppose including the t’mill) will do this but the vast majority of impact force spreading, as I understand it, is due to the movement (pronation) of the foot as well as the flexing of the muscles/ tendons in the foot and lower leg.  I think the reduction of impact force TO THE KNEE due to the ‘give’ of the running surface is insignificant compared to the motion of the lower leg and foot.


                  Gang Name "Pound Cake"

                    Well I don't know about knees specifically, but I started out just treadmill running, then after loosing 15 lbs, began transitioning to the road. i was always very sore after the road days until my body adjusted to it. This suggests that road running is somewhat more stressful than a treadmill with a deck that is flexing under your weight. I believe this article is fundamentally false.

                    - Scott

                    2014 Goals: First Marathon - BQ2016 <3:40 (3:25:18) - 1/2M <1:45 - 5K <22:00

                    2014 Marathons: 05/04 Flying Pig (3:49:02) - 09/20 Air Force (BQ 3:25:18) - 11/01 Indianapolis Monumental


                    Feeling the growl again

                      Well I don't know about knees specifically, but I started out just treadmill running, then after loosing 15 lbs, began transitioning to the road. i was always very sore after the road days until my body adjusted to it. This suggests that road running is somewhat more stressful than a treadmill with a deck that is flexing under your weight. I believe this article is fundamentally false.

                       

                      I've run a crapload of miles exclusively outdoors....a good number of years ~4000 miles or more...and more recently years where I have >1500 miles on a treadmill.  Yes, the treadmill is easier on the body in general, at least for this experiment of one.  But it is also a very uniform experience that does not give proper development to the full range of muscles....I run outdoors and especially on hills/trails every chance I get (which is not as much as I want).

                      "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                       

                        I agree to a point. Having strong feet that are responsive to the terrain underfoot is important, but I am not so sure the key to good running form comes from my feet. For me, it has more to do with my spine. If I keep my back straight and my pelvis in a neutral position, my feet tend to take care of themselves.

                         

                        As for the original question, I suspect the stresses on your knee are pretty similar whether you're running on the treadmill or the road. As others have said, the hardness of the surface is only one factor.

                         

                        Well, I agree with you completely, that the spine and pelvis are vital to good form.  Probably a crucial omission on my part.

                        Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.


                        Gang Name "Pound Cake"

                           

                          I've run a crapload of miles exclusively outdoors....a good number of years ~4000 miles or more...and more recently years where I have >1500 miles on a treadmill.  Yes, the treadmill is easier on the body in general, at least for this experiment of one.  But it is also a very uniform experience that does not give proper development to the full range of muscles....I run outdoors and especially on hills/trails every chance I get (which is not as much as I want).

                           

                          Makes perfect sense to me. I believe that treadmill running can provide great training. But of course there are no treadmill races. If you plan to race, then you do need roadwork to strength or harden the body to that surface. I would think trails racing would be the same thing. Wow, 4000+ miles on a treadmill and your mind still functions well enough that you can type on a computer. Does the drooling make the keyboard messy? Smile

                          - Scott

                          2014 Goals: First Marathon - BQ2016 <3:40 (3:25:18) - 1/2M <1:45 - 5K <22:00

                          2014 Marathons: 05/04 Flying Pig (3:49:02) - 09/20 Air Force (BQ 3:25:18) - 11/01 Indianapolis Monumental


                          Feeling the growl again

                             

                             Wow, 4000+ miles on a treadmill and your mind still functions well enough that you can type on a computer. Does the drooling make the keyboard messy? Smile

                             

                            The 4000 mile years were all outdoors...but I likely have >10,000 treadmill miles in the past six years.  I know the first treadmill I busted had >7000 miles in 3.5 years.  With a flatscreen TV, DVR, and Bluetooth headphones, it's not so bad.

                            "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                             

                            Gustav1


                            Fear is a Liar

                              But wouldn't the treadmill be the ultimate form of repetitive motion - same surface, same incline, same footfall, etc.

                              I'm so vegetarian I don't even eat animal crackers!


                              Feeling the growl again

                                Yes, that's basically what I said....and that's not a good thing if you want developed support muscles.

                                 

                                But wouldn't the treadmill be the ultimate form of repetitive motion - same surface, same incline, same footfall, etc.

                                "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                                 

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