Treadmill Verses Road

We are often asked about treadmill running or walking verses being out on the road. At a glance, the treadmill seems like a good option.

We are often asked which is better - treadmill running or walking, versus being out on the road.

At a glance, the treadmill seems like a good option. It is indoor, warm, and looks easier
on our bodies…

We have found a little science on this and it seems that load and force in the Achilles tendon does go up by over 12% when running on a treadmill verse over-ground. While there was no change at the knee.

The science that is integrated into the big footwear brands often says when a load goes up in the Achilles it goes down in the knee. So it is interesting that pressure on the knee is not changing. 

Running on the pavement

At SHOE SCIENCE we do believe in treadmills and they have a place for sure. Treadmills are popular at the gym and popular at home also.

  • They are great for winter training when it is either too wet or dark to get outside.
  • If you come home from work tired and can't be bothered they are physiologically easy.
  • And if you have very sensitive skin a treadmill does keep you out of the sun.

There are just a few things to be aware of...

  • Don’t use typical gym shoes as they are lower and will stress the Achilles.
  • Rather, use an 8 -10mm offset running shoe for the treadmill.
  • Use a treadmill that has variable terrain settings and use variable pace to break repetition. As we know repetition is the enemy regarding injuries, while variation is our friend.
  • Over 50’s with less flexible tendons need to take care and spend at least some time on the road.

References: Patellofemoral Joint and Tendon Loads During Overground and Treadmill Running. Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy 2016: Vol 46: Issue 8

While we recommend treadmills to our clients our first passion is the outdoors and fresh air. Exercising in the fresh air is good for creativity, mental health, and the soul. 

Craig Taylor - SHOE SCIENCE Crew