8 Top Best Treadmills for Bad Knees in 2024

If you are a runner, you know that having sore or injured knees can be a serious problem. Unfortunately, many physical activities that are excellent for overall health, such as running, have high impact and intensity, which may be detrimental to your knees.

Luckily, the best treadmill for bad knees can help you make your running pain-free. Modern technologies have provided us with innovative solutions to train safely without worsening any existing conditions. Whether you’re an amateur runner, hardcore enthusiast, or just trying to stay fit, we are here to help you find the best treadmill for arthritis and knee pain.

8 Top Best Treadmills for Bad Knees in 2024 2

In a HURRY? Skip to Our Pick

The Sunny SF-T7515 Auto-Incline Treadmill will elevating your workout days. Effortlessly customizable incline settings, advanced features, and a sleek design make running a joy. Transform your exercise routine with Sunny!

Learn more about what these models offer and how each of them helps provide relief for those suffering from serious knee issues. We give definitive answers about the best treadmills suitable for users who suffer from weak knees due to illness or injuries. Read on to find out which one will suit your needs!

Our crew, packed with professional runners, athletes, and trainers, went through 15 treadmills for bad knees to bring you the top picks. We judged them based on 5 key factors (adjustability, durability, portability, folding, and value for money) and didn’t forget to peek at what folks are saying online. Out of the lot, only 8 made the cut. After 75 hours of hands-on testing and deep dives, we’re excited to help you find your perfect match. Got something to say or suggest? Hit up the comments section!

A woman is running on a treadmill, which is easy on the knees

8 Top Best Treadmills for Bad Knees Reviewed

  1. Auto-Incline Treadmill Sunny SF-T7515 – Top Pick
  2. Nordictrack EXP 10i – Runner Up
  3. Proform Pro 2000 Incline Treadmill – Premium Choice
  4. Schwinn 810 Treadmill – Most Portable
  5. RUNOW 3305EB Incline Treadmill – Best For Home Walking And Running
  6. Bowflex T22 Treadmill – Best Pro Option
  7. Horizon Fitness T101 – Budget Pick
  8. UREVO Under Desk Treadmill – Best Under-Desk Option

Treadmills can be beneficial for runners suffering from bad knees, as they provide lower impact with adjustable speed settings and cushioning. These models come with various shock-absorbing systems to better protect the user’s knee joints.

Extras like running programs, app control for monitoring heart rate progress, and LED display options add convenience to runners looking to get fit without causing pain in their sore knees.

ProductExpert scoreAdjustabilityDurabilityPortabilityFoldingValue for money
Sunny SF-T75154.94.95.05.05.05.0
Nordictrack EXP 10i4.95.04.94.95.04.9
Proform Pro 20004.94.94.95.04.84.9
Schwinn 8104.84.85.04.84.94.8
RUNOW Treadmill4.84.84.84.95.04.7
Bowflex T224.84.94.74.84.94.7
Horizon Fitness T1014.74.84.94.94.74.6
UREVO Treadmill4.74.84.84.74.84.6

If you’re looking for a reliable and comfortable treadmill to support your weak knees, this list of treadmills has got you covered. All of them are designed with features to give the best performance and cushioning that is tailored for bad joints.

1. Sunny SF-T7515 Auto-Incline Treadmill

Top Pick

Sunny Health SF-T7515 Treadmill

Sunny SF-T7515 Auto Incline Treadmill

Sunny SF-T7515 is an ideal choice among budget-friendly treadmills for those who want a powerful machine without breaking the bank.

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Sunny Health SF-T7515 Treadmill

The Sunny SF-T7515 auto-incline cushioned treadmill is a great option for runners looking to take on durability and comfort as they work out. This automatic incline treadmill offers up to 12 levels of power inclining, allowing runners to find the perfect resistance level that caters best for their desired goals. Its compact design makes it easy on storage space but still brings strong performance while training.

The design is focused on minimizing impact and providing a comfortable workout experience. The shock absorption double deck technology reduces stress on the joints and legs, and allows you to work out for longer periods of time with less wear and tear. Along with being able to adjust the incline, the quick incline and speed buttons allow you to make gradual adjustments, which prevents sudden strain on the knees.

The built-in speakers offer quick access for users so they can listen to music without needing external devices. And with Bluetooth connectivity, you don’t need another device like an iPod or phone plugged in. Simply connect it wirelessly and easily control your choices while running—all within reach!

  • Dimensions: 64.5” L x 28” W x 50.5” H
  • Folded Dimensions: 40.25” L x 28” W x 54.75”H
  • Running surface length: 49.5”
  • Monitor: LCD
  • Incline/decline level: 2.6-12%
  • Speed Max: 8mph
  • Programs: 12
  • Warranty: 3-year structural frame, 180 days other parts and components
  • Additional features: Bluetooth, speakers, device holder
  • Weight: 123.5lb
  • Weight Capacity: 240lb
  • Value for money: Excellent value for money
  • Recommended by Athletes: Ashley Wimoni, Christian Stallings, Stephen Nwaukoni

Pros:

  • Good budget option
  • Knee-friendly incline settings
  • Highly-cushioned deck

Cons:

  • May be too small for users over 240lb
  • Some runners require higher speed

2. Treadmill EXP 10i Nordictrack

Runner Up

Nordictrack EXP 10i

EXP 10i Incline NordicTrack Treadmill

Nordictrack EXP 10i makes an excellent choice of treadmill easy on knees when looking to get both fit and healthy at home or in the gym.

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Nordictrack EXP 10i

The NordicTrack EXP 10i treadmill is a powerful exercise equipment option for runners with bad knees. Equipped with special adjustable deck cushioning called FlexSelect, this machine helps to absorb the shock of every movement. As a result, your joints are protected and comfortable during extended running sessions. This is going to benefit everyone, but people who have knee issues will find it particularly useful because they’ll be able to run noticeably longer before experiencing pain. FlexSelect makes your workout more comfortable and protected.

Apart from the cushioning, the multiple incline settings are also important to have because you can adjust it according to how sensitive your knees are. The 12% incline may be a bit much for bad knees, but it can still offer a lot of versatility if you want to add a dynamic element to your workouts, even if it’s for a short amount of time.

The EXP 10i also boasts Bluetooth connectivity which allows you to access wireless entertainment while you train hard. Furthermore, it offers interactive studio workouts as well as a maximum speed of 12mph, so it’s suitable for experienced athletes as well.

It’s praised for its versatility and multiple incline settings, meaning even those with milder knee issues can customize their workouts accordingly.

  • Dimensions: 70.8” L x 34.09” W x 55.7” H
  • Folded Dimensions: 43” L x 39” W x 71” H
  • Running surface length: 55”
  • Monitor: HD touchscreen
  • Incline/decline level: 0-12%
  • Speed Max: 12mph
  • Programs: iFit programs
  • Warranty: 2 years on parts and electronics
  • Additional features: Adjustable cushioning, Bluetooth
  • Weight: 203lb
  • Weight Capacity: 300lb
  • Value for money: Excellent value for money
  • Recommended by Athletes: Michael Phelps, Alex Morgan, Hunter Woodhall

3. Incline Pro 2000 Proform Treadmill

Premium Choice

Proform Pro 2000 Treadmill

ProForm Pro 2000 Incline Treadmill

ProForm Pro 2000 allows you to enjoy varying levels of intensity without additional load on your knees.

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Proform Pro 2000 Treadmill

The ProForm Pro 2000 incline treadmill has become a popular choice for runners with bad knees due to its spacious folding deck, quick-adjusting motor and interval training workout content.

This full-size folding treadmill provides runners the comfort of running on a non-slip surface that is spacious enough for multiple strides. It reduces the impact on sore knees while ensuring an effective workout.

The ReBound Pro cushioning that is integrated into the spacious deck gives you a soft landing surface that minimizes the impact on sore knees and makes your training session comfortable and effective. The incline range is controlled by a QuickSpeed button and it allows you to adjust the intensity according to what is comfortable and safe. And let’s not forget that taking care of sore knees doesn’t end when you step down from the treadmill. If you need to move your treadmill to store it, it can hurt your knees, which is why the EasyLift design is so great. You can fold and move the treadmill within moments and that’s without putting any stress on your knees.

Woman run on ProForm Pro 2000 Incline Treadmill
Photo by @hannahruns07

To make workouts more challenging and enjoyable, the ProForm Pro 2000 Incline Treadmill also gives users access to their iFit subscription as well as automatic adjustments built into the machine itself.

  • Dimensions: 77.3″ L x 35.3″ W x 59.6″ H
  • Folded Dimensions: 45" L x 35" W x 69" H
  • Running surface length: 60”
  • Monitor: HD touchscreen
  • Incline/decline level: -3-12%
  • Speed Max: 12mph
  • Programs: iFit programs
  • Warranty: 10-year frame, 2-year parts, 1-year labor
  • Additional features: AirFan, AutoAdjust
  • Weight: 262lb
  • Weight Capacity: 300lb
  • Value for money: Excellent value for money
  • Recommended by Athletes: Ashley Paulson, John Peel, Tommy Rivers Puzey

Pros:

  • Longer running surface for pro athletes
  • Higher speed and higher user’s weigh compared to other models
  • Fit programs for varied workouts

Cons:

  • Some users find it too loud while changing incline levels

4. Treadmill Schwinn 810

Most Portable

Schwinn Fitness 810 Treadmill

Schwinn Fitness 810 Treadmill

Schwinn 810 treadmill has a lightweight design that contributes to its superior portability, ensuring you can place your machine anywhere in your house with ease.

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Schwinn Fitness 810 Treadmill

The Schwinn 810 treadmill is equipped with a host of features to provide an active lifestyle at home for runners with sore knees. This high-quality, multi-functional treadmill can reach speeds up to 10 mph and support either walking or running workouts.

The adjustable incline that goes up to 10% allows you to adjust the intensity of the workout without increasing the impact on the knees, and if you try walking or running uphill, you can strengthen the muscles around your knees. This way, you can improv stability and reduce the risk of injury. Just make sure not to push yourself to far and if you don’t really run uphill often, start with a light walk first.

It also comes with SoftTrak Cushioning System, which provides exceptional smoothness for each stride taken on its 20” x 55” running surface. This cushioning system reduces impact on the knees while running, making it an ideal option for people with bad knees seeking comfortable support in their workout routine.

  • Dimensions: 69.1” L x 35.6” W x 56.7” H
  • Folded Dimensions: not specified
  • Running surface length: 55”
  • Monitor: LCD screen
  • Incline/decline level: 0-10%
  • Speed Max: 10mph
  • Programs: 16/JRNY app
  • Warranty: 10 years frame, 2 years parts, 1 year labor
  • Additional features: Air fan and speaker
  • Weight: 155lb
  • Weight Capacity: 275lb
  • Value for money: Good value for money
  • Recommended by Athletes: Diane Kenney, Julian Ferrier

Pros:

  • Built-in wheels for better portability
  • High-quality cushioning
  • Can be folded with one hand

Cons:

  • Some users prefer more powerful motors

5. Incline Treadmill RUNOW 3305EB

Best Budget

Incline RUNOW Treadmill

Incline RUNOW Treadmill

It is an affordable treadmill that still remains functional and doesn’t feel cheaply made, although you won’t be able to mistake this for something more expensive. It’s pretty basic and has no fancy features, but you’ll get a decent workout out of it and its price won’t get you into debt.

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Incline RUNOW Treadmill

RUNOW Incline Treadmill offers a sleek and ergonomic design with various features. The powerful yet whisper-quiet motor is perfect for running or walking while ensuring minimal noise and vibration levels. It’s ideal if you like to watch programs or make calls while exercising.

Furthermore, it comes packed with dual shock-absorbing systems for better protection of your knees and ankles, offering excellent cushioning throughout each stride. This is definitely a standout feature because this system makes the entire workout easier on your knees and workout becomes far more comfortable. Running can seem intimidating for people with bad knees, but if you just make sure to get a treadmill with quality cushioning, you’ll see that everyone can run and benefit from it. Along with the cushioning, you can adjust the incline to your preferences, so the exercise can be as intense as you want, or as intense as your knees will allow it. Customizable workout programs allow users to create their own fitness routine based on personal preferences, making maintaining an effective workout schedule much easier.

For added convenience, you can use Bluetooth connectivity and app control to monitor heart rate and keep track of progress as well. Moreover, assembly is simple enough even for non-professionals — just follow the instructions!

  • Dimensions: 60.4"L x 26.6"W x 55.9" H
  • Folded Dimensions: not specified
  • Running surface length: 49.2"
  • Monitor: LED monitor
  • Incline/decline level: 0-5%
  • Speed Max: 8.1mph
  • Programs: 36 preset programs, 3 user programs, and 1 manual program
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Additional features: Double shock-absorbing system
  • Weight: 110lb
  • Weight Capacity: 300lb
  • Value for money: Good value for money
  • Recommended by Athletes: n/a

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  • Can be folded and moved with ease
  • Double shock-absorbing features
  • Variety of preset programs

Cons:

  • May be too small for pro runners
  • Lacks high speed option

6. Treadmill Bowflex T22

Best Pro Option

BowFlex 22 Treadmill

BowFlex Treadmill 22

Bowflex T22 enables users to find the correct kind of intensity level depending on how their bodies can handle each session without risking further injury.

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BowFlex 22 Treadmill

The Bowflex T22 treadmill is an optimal solution for runners with knee issues. It offers a 20% incline and 5% decline, making it ideal for all-level training options available. You shouldn’t push yourself too much if you have issues with your knees, but you also shouldn’t stick exclusively to just running or walking on a flat surface. Running and walking on an incline can help you strengthen the muscles in your legs, particularly around the knees, and that can help with the pain and sensitivity. Moreover, its 400-pound weight capacity is particularly useful for heavier users who want to access the benefits of this treadmill.

What’s even better is that if you have sore knees, then you should know that Comfort Tech cushioning reduces impact while running as it absorbs shock on your joints. This makes the landing softer and makes the workout more comfortable and supportive.

Additionally, its subscription feature not only provides additional workout options but also helps runners identify what type of program is best suited for their needs. It offers helpful advice from trainers or physical therapists familiar with athletes’ knee problems associated with running on a conventional treadmill.

  • Dimensions: 85" L x 40" W x 70" H
  • Folded Dimensions: 44.5" L x 39.6" W x 70" H
  • Running surface length: 60”
  • Monitor: 22" touchscreen
  • Incline/decline level: -5%-20%
  • Speed Max: 12mph
  • Programs: JRNY app workouts
  • Warranty: Frame and motor: 15 years, mechanical parts: 5 years, labor: 2 years, electronics: 1 year
  • Additional features: Adaptive workouts, streaming options
  • Weight: 336lb
  • Weight Capacity: 400
  • Value for money: Good value for money
  • Recommended by Athletes: Michelle Kalinski, Mike Boorn

Pros:

  • Has increased weight capacity and maximum speed
  • Beautiful scenic run options and streaming features
  • Good customer service

Cons:

  • This product is pricey
  • May be too large and heavy for a home gym

7. Folding Treadmill Horizon Fitness T101

Budget Pick

Horizon Fitness T101 treadmill

Horizon Fitness T101 Folding Treadmill

Horizon Fitness T101 features a cushioned belt, which provides additional padding that can help reduce impact on sore knees.

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Horizon Fitness T101 treadmill

The Horizon Fitness T101 is a great treadmill for budget-conscious runners looking to get their workout at home. This treadmill offers quality engineering and great durability in a reasonably priced package.

Shock-absorption technology helps to protect your joints, while the 10” touch screen offers an intuitive interface and access to pre-set programs.

The unique Variable Response Cushioning deck provides flex and support in all phases of the stride, minimizing impact on sensitive knee joints. This is beneficial for walkers, joggers, or runners because the amount of flex and joint support it offers is ideal. The shock response technology on this treadmill is really good and, although running might not sound that great if you’re dealing with knee sensitivity, all you really need is a good, supportive deck like this one to make running one of the best parts of your day.

Man running on Horizon Fitness T101 Treadmill
Photo by @shafiqzaabar

The T101 also features adjustable speeds of up to 10mph, making it suitable for both beginners and more experienced users alike. Its compact design makes it easy to store, making this an excellent option for those living in smaller spaces who are still looking for some cardio workout.

  • Dimensions: 34" L x 57" W x 71" H
  • Folded Dimensions: 46″ L x 34″ W x 61″ H
  • Running surface length: 55”
  • Monitor: 3 LED monitors
  • Incline/decline level: 0-10%
  • Speed Max: 10mph
  • Programs: 5
  • Warranty: Lifetime frame, lifetime motor, 1-year parts, 1-year labor
  • Additional features: Quiet drive motor technology, pulse grips
  • Weight: 180lb
  • Weight Capacity: 300lb
  • Value for money: Good value for money
  • Recommended by Athletes: Thierry Bessède, Mandy Evans, Elena Dissen

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  • 3-zone cushioning for pain-free running
  • Lifetime warranty for frame and motor
  • Budget-friendly

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  • No wireless heart rate tracker

8. Under Desk UREVO Treadmill

Under-Desk Option

UREVO Under Desk Treadmill

UREVO Under Desk Treadmill

UREVO Under Desk Treadmill is space-saving for use at home or office, offering you an excellent option if you want a device good for sore knees but don’t have enough room.

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UREVO Under Desk Treadmill

The UREVO Under Desk Treadmill has all the features necessary for effective jogging and walking at home. It has a powerful 2.25HP motor, able to support up to 265 lbs weight capacity.

The treadmill has a double shock absorption system that is designed to minimize the impact on joints during walking, jogging, or running. The system includes a spacious track with 5 layers of anti slip belt, 8 silicone shock absorbers, and 2 soft rubber pads. It works great at making the exercise more comfortable, but it does an even better job at protecting your knees from impact.

Moreover, with its remote-control operation and LED display, you can easily track your workout progress while accessing convenient features like speed adjustability and incline/decline options. This treadmill is perfect for reducing impact on the joints and helping with toning muscles without putting too much strain on the knees.

  • Dimensions: 50"D x 20.9" W x 4.7" H
  • Running surface length: 41.3”
  • Monitor: LED display
  • Incline/decline level: no incline
  • Speed Max: 4mph
  • Programs: no programs
  • Warranty: 3 months
  • Additional features: Anti-slip belt, shock absorbers
  • Weight: 45lb
  • Weight Capacity: 265lb
  • Value for money: Good value for money
  • Recommended by Athletes: Joelle McQuay

Pros:

  • Low noise level
  • EVA shock absorption layers
  • Water-resistant surface

Cons:

  • No programs available

How We Choose the Best 8 Treadmills for Bad Knees?

Choosing the best treadmill for joints and knees is not an easy task. We carefully considered a variety of factors while selecting our list of top 8 machines for bad knees. Comfort and convenience are two essential elements we looked at to customize this guide according to user needs.

We evaluated shock absorbing technology, low-impact options, incline/decline possibilities, and speed adjustability features in each treadmill’s design. With these functional features combined with cushioned decks that reduce impact on joints and other approachable technologies, we were able to select the choices most suitable for those suffering from knee pain.

Our recommended products boast curved non-motorized belts that deliver natural movements along with customizable cushioning systems, allowing users to find personalized comfort during their workout session.

Remote-controlled displays provide full control over the duration and settings of your training sessions, ensuring you enjoy every moment spent on these machines.

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Is Running on Treadmills Bad for Knees?

Running on a treadmill is an effective way of exercising for people with bad knees. Research suggests that running on treadmills can be even beneficial for those with unhealthy knees by providing low-impact exercise. It allows runners to work up their aerobic endurance without the significant joint impact and stress associated with other forms of running or free weight exercises.

Moreover, some treadmills allow you to adjust incline, speed, and other training components, which is something that can have a huge positive effect when it comes to your knee health.

Running on a treadmill soft on knees does not place further strain on problematic areas of injured joints but also open doors to potential therapeutic goals related to cardiovascular conditions and strengthening dysfunctional muscles around affected joints.

Walking on a treadmill can help ease discomfort in knees by shortening your stride and decreasing the impact, which can reduce stress on your joints. Additionally, treadmill running isn't bad for your knees and doesn't cause arthritis or accelerate existing knee osteoarthritis, so it can be an appropriate option for those with bad knees.

Researchers have also found that using an inclined surface as part of treadmill exercise further increases muscle activity while minimizing impacts from each step, reducing joint stress even more when compared to walking or running outdoors. Taken together, all data shows that running at moderate speeds at proper form is beneficial for those seeking recreational physical fitness or rehabilitation for chronic knee pain.

What To Look For In A Treadmill If You Have Knee Problems?

You need to look for special features that can fit your knee needs. Read on to learn more about what parameters you should consider when picking a treadmill for bad knees!

1. Slatted Belt For Reduced Impact

Slat treadmills feature a flexible material suspended across the running surface to provide superior cushioning and shock absorption. Since they don’t have rollers or motors, slat treadmills are much gentler on the knees than traditional belt treadmills.

The ridges and elevated portions of the slats make contact with your feet differently at different points in each stride, providing a more comfortable feel. This works together with superior shock absorption to reduce impact on your joints.

In addition, the ride is much smoother since there isn’t any “spike” when your foot comes into contact with traditional treadmill belts. Slatted belt treadmills also require slightly greater energy expenditure while you run thanks to increased feedback from the surface. As a result, it can help give you an extra boost during workouts.

2. Curved, Non-Motorized Belts For Natural Movements

For runners with bad knees, curved treadmills are a great option. These non-motorized treadmills feature a concave belt that responds to the movement of each stride, providing more natural movements and reducing impact on your joints.

Unlike traditional motorized treadmills, which push you forward as you walk or run, curved belts allow users to control their own pace. This way, each step is self-propelled in this more biomechanically correct way of exercise.

Curved treadmill units can also produce shorter strides than regular motors, because your feet don’t have to catch up with the machine’s motion. This makes them suitable for anyone looking for improved balance or reduced knee pain.

3. Customizable Cushion For Personalized Comfort

Getting the right cushioning on a treadmill can make all the difference for runners with bad knees. A customized cushion offers a personalized level of support tailored to your needs, helping to reduce pain and minimize stress on your joints during workouts.

It also provides better balance for smoother movements and improved comfort, so you have more control over the intensity of your runs. With adjustable shock absorbing technology, you’ll be able to customize an experience that is easier on your bad knee while still enjoying optimal results from each session.

4. Easy-Use Features For Safety And Convenience

When it comes to treadmills for bad knees, easy-use features are a must. Rolling side-rail speed and incline controls make it easy to quickly modify your workout as needed, while generous running paths provide ample space for comfortable workouts. Comfort tech deck cushioning ensures that you get an ideal combination of support and softness during every session on the treadmill – perfect if you suffer from knee problems.

Plus, many of the top treadmills come with safety-focused features such as slow start speeds for easier warmup sessions and alarms to keep you safe while in motion. This way, those who experience difficulty due to painful knees can rest assured knowing they're protected by their own exercise machine.

Benefits Of Treadmills For Sick Knees

Treadmills allow users with knee pain or injuries to enjoy a low-impact workout without putting too much strain on the joints. By using a treadmill, they can reduce the risk of further injury while improving balance and enjoying a more comfortable exercise session overall.

People with knee pain or injuries running a low-impact workout on a treadmill
Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva from Pexels

1. Reduced Risk Of Further Injury

Running on a treadmill is an ideal exercise for individuals with bad knees, as it reduces the risk of any potential further injury. Treadmill exercise provides impact reduction on the lower body joints, such as knee and hip pain relief.

With shock-absorbing technology and low-impact options, a special treadmill for knee pain can help reduce stress from your joint. Certain features such as IsoFlex or CushionFlex provide added protection while walking or running on the treadmill, giving relief for anyone suffering from arthritis or issues in their joints.

2. More Comfortable Workout

Running on a treadmill is much easier than running outside, especially for those with chronic knee pain or discomfort. Treadmills with extra deck cushioning help provide a more pleasant and comfortable workout while helping to protect bad knees from potential hazards of the terrain.

The best treadmills for bad knees prioritize comfort through well-cushioned decks and other approachable features like adjustable incline and speed settings. This allows users to make necessary adjustments throughout their run or workout depending on how their joints are feeling.

3. Improved Balance

Treadmill exercises are an excellent option for improving overall balance, aiding safe execution of movements and minimizing the risk of injury. It aids in increasing strength and stability at both ankle and knee joints due to greater activation of skeletal muscles surrounding these areas.

Treadmill activities can also provide improved balance for those with bad posture or poor core strength as its adjustable nature allows users to change speed intervals during their run.

4. Low-Impact Exercise Option

Low-impact treadmills can be a great option for people with bad knees. Running and walking on a treadmill provides an excellent joint-friendly workout, reducing stress on the joints and providing more cushioning than outdoor surfaces.

These qualities allow runners to customize their stride to ease pressure while making it easier to take on regular activity or recover from an injury or surgery. Additionally, decks that offer adjustable incline levels allow users to change intensity as needed depending upon knee pain level.

How To Choose The Best Treadmills For Sore Knees

Consider features that help to reduce the stress placed on your knees while running, namely shock-absorbing technology, low-impact exercise options, incline and decline settings, as well as adjustable speed.

A man protects his knees while running on the treadmill

1. Shock-Absorbing Technology

Shock-absorbing technology is a crucial feature to look for in treadmills, particularly the ones designed for people with bad knees. The concept behind shock-absorption is simple: it reduces the impact of exercise on your joints.

Many high-end and specially designed treadmills incorporate built-in cushioning between the treadmill base plate and belt surface to reduce strain on the hips, knees, and feet as they contact the ground.

2. Low-Impact Options

Low-impact treadmills are designed with the key principle of putting less strain on people's joints during a workout. These machines typically operate with shock absorbing technology, offering customizable cushioning for an extra-comfy run.

They also tend to be outfitted with non-motorized and curved belts, which allow for a more natural running movement without stressing your knees or other joint areas too much.

2. Incline And Decline Options

Incline and decline options are key features to consider when selecting the best treadmill for bad knees. Most treadmills with a motor feature inclines as steep as 15%.

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Pro Tip:

If you’re looking for a machine that can help alleviate your knee pain while giving you an intense workout, look for one with adjustable slope from -3% to 15%.

icon run

Pro Tip:

If you’re looking for a machine that can help alleviate your knee pain while giving you an intense workout, look for one with adjustable slope from -3% to 15%.

Is walking on incline bad for knees? Adjusting the incline grades appropriately helps reduce impact on the lower parts of your body, making running more comfortable and safer.

Although inclined treadmills do carry some dangers, careful setup and technique can make them a safe alternative to other cardio machines. Padding an incline is also recommended if you find yourself going at times too fast during your workout sessions, enabling softer landings thereby alleviating pressure off the injured knee.

4. Speed Adjustability

Speed adjustability is essential for anyone with bad knees or other joint issues when using a treadmill. It allows them to manage the intensity and impact of their workout to keep pressure off the joints without compromising on exercise efficacy.

For example, specific speed settings can reduce strain on the knee when running at faster speeds while still allowing for incline work that builds strength and coordination.

Tips For Using A Treadmill With Sore Knees

Learning how to use and protect your knees as you run on a treadmill can help reduce the risk of injuries and promote better joint health. Be sure to research all safety-related tips before using a treadmill:

1. Start Slow And Gradually Increase The Intensity

Taking care when starting a treadmill workout is especially important for runners with bad knees. One key factor to consider is the importance of starting slow and gradually increasing the intensity. It prevents too much strain being placed on sore knee joints, avoiding potential further damage or injury and helping protect from pain at the same time.

It's also beneficial in terms of aiding muscle strengthening. Taking your time along with breaks between sessions helps develop strength sustainably without overstressing muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Start at a slow speed and increase it by 10% every couple of minutes until you reach the desired speed. Reduce the speed immediately if you feel any discomfort in the knee joints.

2. Use Proper Form And Technique

Understanding the biomechanical principles of leg and knee movement as well as the factors that contribute to knee pain is essential for using proper form and technique on a treadmill.

Proper posture plays an important role in how the body moves while walking or running due to its effect on different muscle groups. Poor alignment can lead to increased strain on areas such as knee joints which can result in discomfort and injury over time. Furthermore, maintaining good balance while running prevents excessive loading on one side of your body, decreasing your risk of joint discomfort and pain.

Using correct movement patterns while exercising helps ensure larger muscle groups work properly, thereby reducing stress placed on smaller muscles, such as those around the knee bones.

3. Listen To Your Body And Take Breaks When Needed

It is important for runners with knee pain to listen to their bodies when using a treadmill. The key is to be aware of any discomfort or pain and adjust the intensity or duration of your workout accordingly.

Additionally, it’s recommended that you take breaks as needed if you use an exercise bike or treadmill for bad knees. It can help reduce joint strain and provide an opportunity for your body to recover or prepare before increasing the difficulty again.

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Pro Tip:

Try setting specific targets, like running for 2 minutes followed by a 1-minute walking break. Repeat this pattern 5 times or aim for 3 sets of 10-20 minutes sessions with a break in between each exercise if you are trying out higher intensities.

icon run

Pro Tip:

Try setting specific targets, like running for 2 minutes followed by a 1-minute walking break. Repeat this pattern 5 times or aim for 3 sets of 10-20 minutes sessions with a break in between each exercise if you are trying out higher intensities.

4. Consult With A Doctor Or Physical Therapist For Guidance

When it comes to using a treadmill with sore knees, consulting with a medical professional is not just helpful. It is essential for maintaining both safety and effectiveness in your workout.

Only healthcare providers can give you tailored advice about your condition. For instance, an arthritis patient may need to opt for lower-impact exercises compared to someone who has suffered a knee injury.

A physician or experienced PT could advise about customized training regimens that reduce the risk of further complications while enhancing activity levels at the same time.

How To Protect Your Knees On The Treadmill

When using a treadmill, it is important to take care of your knees by following the right techniques and finding the ideal equipment. Beginner or seasoned runners alike are at risk for knee pain if they do not properly use their machines.

To combat this potential injury risk, always start with low-intensity runs, as any strenuous high-impact activity can strain your joints more than necessary.

Beyond that general advice, there are suitable features on some treadmills which may further bolster safety while running or walking. When shopping around for a treadmill, look out for slatted belts. They reduce contact pressure when hitting the deck, so your feet’s impact does not hurt your knees during each stride.

Furthermore, custom cushioning ensures personalized comfort and should be considered too as many runners have different preferences over what type of padding works best for their knees.

A man experiences knee pain due to improper use of a treadmill machine.
Photo by Drazen Zigic on Freepik

Frequently Asked Questions About Treadmills Good For Knees

What Is the Best Exercise Machine for Bad Knees?

Low-impact machines help you strengthen your muscles while minimizing pressure on knee joints. The Sunny SF-T7515 Treadmill and NordicTrack EXP 10i both help to reduce impact and cushion the joint while sprinting or walking on a treadmill at full force.

Is Incline Treadmill Better for Knees?

An incline treadmill might offer relief for those looking to ease pain without the risk of further jostling their joints. Inclines on treadmills help to reduce the stress found in running outdoors and instead focus impact onto stronger body parts like arms, shoulders and thighs.

Is Walking on a Treadmill Bad for Arthritic Knees?

When it comes to exercises for those with knee problems, you may be surprised to learn that walking on a treadmill can provide relief and potentially reduce the impact of exercise on arthritic joints. Walking on a treadmill can help ease discomfort in knees by shortening your stride and reducing how hard you hit the ground, which can reduce stress on your joints.

Is Peloton Good for Bad Knees?

The Peloton Tread treadmill is not recommended for runners with bad knees, due to its limited functionality and performance. The lack of cushioning on the running deck can make it difficult for those suffering from knee issues or who are prone to joint pain.

By contrast, the Peloton Tread+, equipped with Runners Flex Deck technology, provides better levels of cushioning. It helps reduce stress and create a smoother experience while running or walking, which is perfect for those with hip and knee problems or long-distance runners.

Final Thoughts on the Best Treadmill for Bad Knees

When making the choice of which treadmill to purchase for bad knees, it is important to consider the parameters like cushioning and adjustable incline and decline options. Shock-absorbing technology can make a low-impact exercise easier on those with existing knee issues.

Low-impact treadmills like the Sunny SF-T7515 Incline Treadmill offer easy-use features that allow you to customize your workout intensity while keeping safety and convenience in mind. Additionally, adjustable speeds let users control their activity as needed if pain or stiffness sets in during a session.

Besides, you should incorporate suitable exercises to protect both healthy and sore joints when running on a treadmill. This includes proper form, technique and proper warm-up practices beforehand.

Ultimately, consulting with professional medical staff is recommended before embarking on any vigorous physical activities if you have an existing problem with your knees. They can assess your condition accurately to outline safer training strategies best suited for long-term health benefits.

Have you tried treadmill running for sore knees? What kind of treadmill do you prefer? Have you noticed any difference in knee pain compared to outdoor running? Please share your experience in the comments below.

Also read:

References:

  1. Bas Van Hooren, Joel T. Fuller, Jonathan D. Buckley, Jayme R. Miller, Kerry Sewell, Guillaume Rao, Christian Barton, Chris Bishop, Richard W. Willy, “Is Motorized Treadmill Running Biomechanically Comparable to Overground Running? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Cross-Over Studies,” Sports Medicine 50, no. 4 (2020): 785-813, doi: 10.1007/s40279-019-01237-z.
  2. Chan-Woo Nam, Jung-Ho Lee, Sang-Hun Jang, “Effects of Treadmill Speed on the Knee Angle and Stance Time of White Rats with Knee Osteoarthritis According to the Treadmill Speed,” The Journal of Physical Therapy Science 28, no. 11 (2016): 3003-3006, doi: 10.1589/jpts.28.3003.
  3. Fikret Veljović, Edin Begić, Avdo Voloder, Reuf Karabeg, Amer Iglica, Nedim Begić, Alden Begić, Adisa Chikha, “Impact of Load on the Knee in Relation to a Treadmill Angle,” Medicinski Glasnik: Official Publication of the Medical Association of Zenica-Doboj Canton, Bosnia and Herzegovina 18, no. 1 (2021): 226-231, doi: 10.17392/1240-21.
  4. Hong-Xin Chen, Yao-Xuan Zhan, Hai-Ning Ou, Yao-Yao You, Wan-Ying Li, Shan-Shan Jiang, Mei-Feng Zheng, Lin-Zi Zhang, Ke Chen, Qiu-Xia Chen, “Effects of Lower Body Positive Pressure Treadmill on Functional Improvement in Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Clinical Trial Study,” World Journal of Clinical Cases 9, no. 34 (2021): 10604-10615, doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v9.i34.10604.
  5. Parisa Sedaghatnezhad, Mohsen Shams, Noureddin Karimi, Leila Rahnama, “Uphill Treadmill Walking Plus Physical Therapy versus Physical Therapy Alone in the Management of Individuals with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Clinical Trial,” Disability and Rehabilitation 43, no. 18 (2021): 2541-2549, doi: 10.1080/09638288.2019.1703146.

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