Gail’s Ultra Achilles Blog

Why does treadmill running…..

January 25, 2010 · 6 Comments

Hello all.  Sorry long time, no post….but as you know with this website, usually no news is good news.

I am still running and getting stronger every day, but my question for the group is……Why does treadmill running always make my achilles hurt?  (Both the post-op and non-post-op side).  I had done a few hard treadmill workouts during the recent cold snap here in Queens/NYC, and felt great about getting some faster miles in….but now afraid to do it on a regular basis, since my feet always hurt afterwards.

Opinions, advice, and warnings welcome!

Categories: Uncategorized

6 responses so far ↓

  • Gerryr // Jan 25th 2010 at 11:18 am

    Running on a treadmill is not like “real” running. Most people unconsciously modify their gait when running on a treadmill. Are you using the same shoes you would use outside? I personally don’t like running indoors even on a track, but after trying it once running on a treadmill is something I always avoided. If you have access to an indoor track give it a try instead of the treadmill. Better yet, if the streets are not snowy or icy, go for a run outside, even if it isn’t long. Then you will know if it is just the treadmill or it there is something else going on.

  • 2ndtimer // Jan 25th 2010 at 6:53 pm

    I am not an expert on this, but I have a feeling it is not the same movement as running on solid ground.
    The treadmill kind of pulls the rug out from under you. Instead of pushing off and propelling yourself forward pulls your leg back from under you so maybe you stretch the tendon more, before you lift that foot off? Even walking on the treadmill does not feel the same. I refuse to use it, I prefer walking outside.

  • gailaj // Jan 25th 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Thanks, Gerryr and 2ndtimer –
    I guess you’re confirming what I already knew….that it’s not a good idea if it hurts (duh)….I mostly run outside, and maybe run on the treadmill once a week if the weather’s bad….but from what I’m hearing (and feeling) I guess even that’s too much. Oh well.

  • mari // Jan 26th 2010 at 12:26 am

    I was told running on the Treadmill is like downhill running.

  • george // Jan 26th 2010 at 3:39 pm

    If you’re going to run on a treadmill, you should definitely have the elevation set at 1.0 — at 0.0, the effect is downhill.

    Also, unless the treadmill is health-club quality — i.e., firm and not bouncy — it’s really a stress on your Achilles (and the rest of the leg, too).

    I made the mistake five weeks ago, when resuming running, of hopping onto a friend’s treadmill. It was too bouncy.

    My achilles managed fine; a little sore later. But I tweaked a bursa pad in my knee; it became irritated and inflamed. While not a serious injury, it has prevented me from resuming running until the last week or so. And by running, I mean slow running in short increments (following the doctor’s careful, conservative protocol).

    I recognize it might have been a gait problem, that I could have been compensating for the achilles (and thus, that it could have happened on firm ground, not just the treadmill). But I think it was compounded by the too-soft ride of the treadmill.

    I love health-club quality treadmills; could go for miles and miles and hours before the ATR (weird, I know) in a zone on the treadmill. But I’ll probably stay away from much time on them until I get more confident and secure in running.

    Running outdoors on pavement feels pretty good, even though it pounds the achilles and knee.

    Strange, huh? But the firmness is important.

  • gailaj // Jan 27th 2010 at 7:36 am

    Thanks mari — I hadn’t thought of it that way.

    And thank you too, george. When I do run on a treadmill, it is on a “health club” quality one at my local (to my work) gym…I think it’s pretty firm. But it’s true that I never set it at any elevation, always leaving it at 0.0, thinking that this would be easier. So on the rare occasions that I will be forced to run on a treadmill, I will definitely try setting it at 1.0 to see if that makes a difference.

    Otherwise, living in semi-urban Queens, when I am outside I am almos always on pavement.

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