My knee hurts! Should I continue to run on a treadmill or on asphalt?

2020/09/10 Home Education and advice

When the warmer months of the year arrive, many people make the switch and stop running on their home or gym treadmills and begin running outdoors. Have you ever asked yourself if there is a difference between running outdoors on asphalt and running indoors on a treadmill? Well, this is what we are going to discuss in this article! I will be giving some general advice about running as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the two different surfaces.

My knee hurts! Should I continue to run on a treadmill or on asphalt?
Jessica Buonanno Jessica Buonanno Physiotherapist

Here are 3 factors that should be taken into account while deciding the optimal surface for running:

Running Gait Pattern

Your running gait pattern and your running speed tend to be more natural when you run on asphalt. On a treadmill, you might have the tendency to have longer or shorter strides, run faster or slower, and skip during your run.

  • If your knee pain is related to the way you run, it is better to run outdoors on asphalt!

Running Surface

The surface you are running on must also be considered in the decision-making process. The harder the surface is, the less force it absorbs on impact when running. This may be the reason you are feeling pain.  Asphalt is considered a harder surface when compared to a treadmill.

  • If your knee pain is related to the force of impact while running, it is better to run indoors on a treadmill.

Other Factors

It is important to consider the weather conditions. When the road is slippery or the conditions are less comfortable or not safe (cold, rain, snow), it is better to run indoors on a treadmill!

  • If the conditions prevent you from running outdoors, it is better to run indoors on a treadmill!

Despite the tips, I am still in pain. What should I do?

If you feel like you need additional help, whether it is for advice or for an evaluation, we are here for you!  Book an appointment at our clinic with one of our physiotherapists. It would be our pleasure to help guide you towards an active lifestyle in a safe and secure manner.

Make an appointment

Did you know?

We offer a running program, which is the possibility to evaluate your running techniques with our running consultant.  Therefore, if you are not sure about your running techniques, our physiotherapist can evaluate your running patterns and give you personalized feedback to improve your technique.

Make an appointment

I am not sure if physiotherapy can help me. What can I do? 

It is normal to have questions when trying something new. We now offer the possibility to schedule a free orientation call with a physiotherapist to help you decide if physiotherapy is right for you!

Schedule a call

As you may already know, there are advantages and disadvantages related to both surfaces. It is most important to choose what is best for you. It is also possible to choose other options if these surfaces are uncomfortable for you (for example, swimming, elliptical, bike), which are options that have less impact on your knees and allow you the opportunity to stay active!

Find a clinic

Click on your region

Ontario 1 Clinic Open

See all clinics on a map See all clinics on a map