Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Exercise and Fitness

Knees and Treadmills

11/09/2010

Question:

Should I use a treadmill if I had knee surgery in the past? Will it add to my problems?

Answer:

The use of a treadmill is actually advised for walking exercise if you have had a recent knee surgery.

A treadmill offers a few advantages over walking outdoors as you begin your way back to increased physical activity. First and foremost is that a treadmill offers a consistent and even surface to walk on. Not having any uneven surfaces creates a situation where walking can be safer and you are less likely to stumble and aggravate a recovering knee joint.

Secondly, treadmills offer a much softer surface to walk on compared with sidewalks and roads. The extra cushioning underfoot will be welcome by your knee joint. Compared with walking outdoors, treadmill walking will feel somewhat easier physically because the “ground” is being pulled underneath your feet. Unlike when you are outside, there is no wind resistance inside on a treadmill. 

Walking outdoors requires more energy since you are propelling your body forward with each stride. We know from research that in order to accurately simulate the same pace you walk outside, you need to make sure the treadmill you are working out on is set for a 1.0% incline. A 1.0% incline will make up for the lack of wind resistance.

For more information:

Go to the Exercise and Fitness health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Steven T Devor, PhD, FACSM Steven T Devor, PhD, FACSM
Associate Professor of Sport & Exercise Sciences and Physiology & Cell Biology
School of PAES
The Ohio State University