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Biomechanical Question


On my off days I typically do either sprints outside or HIIT on a treadmill. My question is that lately I've been getting a burning/ache in my left knee, mostly on the outside but slightly inside the actual joint, but only on the treadmill, not doing sprints outside. The other aspect which confuses me is that my knee feels fine during squats, leg presses etc but gets acutely worse as the duration of my HIIT sessions continue. Any ideas? The only thing I can think of is my IT band...


Don't remember if I read it here or elsewhere, but there was an article that mentioned how treadmill running is different from "normal" running (where you're actually propelling your body through space) in that it involves the hams much less, thus leading to imbalances and knee injuries. Don't know that this directly addresses your concern, but since you say it only bothers you on the treadmill...

Personally, I hate treadmill running. It's always felt much less natural to me than running outdoors. Not to mention that the scenery never changes.


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Thanks for the responses. So what do you think BBB, foam rolling?


I recall reading that article too and if im correct the way to avoid the knee strains is adjust the Mill to a slight incline which like above stated creates more of a balance for ur knees and more work implied on the hams....


Yeah, unfortunately I set the incline at it's maximum.


I had ITBS pretty bad when I used to compete in triathlons. What helped for me was of course the good ol' RICE protocol, as well as strengthening my glute medius muscles.


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I had a bout of knee pain a few months ago. As far as I can figure, it was the result of jumping into using Anderson squats without progressing sensibly. The pain never bothered me when squating etc. Rather, I would get a dull ache under and to the outside of the knee cap.

I started using a foam roller on my IT band. The roller is high-density foam and stiff. For the first week I was literally in tears on several occasions. For me, in order to get deep I had to have my knees bent while I was on my side working the roller. If my leg was straight there would be a tendency to flex as the pain level increased and prevent the roller from working it's magic. If I hit the right spot on the ITB I could actually feel a sensation under my knee cap. Not quite a tingle but something was happening.

My knee was better in about 3 weeks.


Thanks guys. Today the pain came back and I had to stop my HIIT because a serious injury felt imminent. Time to let it heal; ice, ibuprofen and rolling it out.


Im thinking this:

Since its only occuring on the treadmill, its probably something changing in the mechanics of your stride. The big difference would probably be that on a treadmill you dont have to use nearly as much concentric hamstring and glute action. The treadmill propels your foot back and you basically lift it and bring it forward.

Im not an expert on this, and dont really have an idea about how to fix the problem.

My best suggestion would be to not do your sprints on the treadmill. Maybe just do sprints outdoors, and if you have to use the treamill, try incline jogging/walking HIIT.

Good luck.


Some thoughts:

Bushido Boy there knows more about this stuff, by far, than I do. He says roll the IT band, then try it. See what it does for you. You could also try (and I'm curious as to your take on this, Bushy) doing some backwards walking/slow jogging on the treadmill to counteract the ham-light forward running. BUT, if you don't find relief from your apparently treadmill induced symptoms before long, reevaluate just how necessary it is to your training. I tried riding one of the exercise bikes w/seats designed for hippy (as in broad, not mellow) soccer moms at the Y a couple of years back to warm-up an injured knee. Seat felt funny and made my penis numb. Didn't need to try that twice. Found another way to get it done.

Many treadmills aren't designed to accommodate a very long stride. If you're having to shorten up artificially -- well, I don't know if it would account for the symptoms you face or not, but it can't be good. I wonder, too, what the ratio is of your outdoor to your treadmill running.