Does the elliptical hurt anyone else's knees?



  • becjovincent
    becjovincent Posts: 25 Member
    I think its all different for everyone - how your body works & what your knee pain is.

    I have runners knee & an elliptical is so much better on my knees then a treadmill... but if you have other knee issues, maybe just that motion is what's so tough.

    Have you tried cycling? Does that hurt as well?
  • rnprincess
    rnprincess Posts: 103 Member
    I have very bad arthritis in my knees, which I am sure my weight does not help. However, my orthopedic doctor banned me from the treadmill because it was too much weight bearing. I have no problem walking up stairs, but when I go down it hurts and I have to do it sideways. With that said, I have no problem with the eliptical at all. When my knees were at their worse I was able to build up to an hour.
  • drchimpanzee
    drchimpanzee Posts: 892 Member
    Not sure if it will help or how you do it already but have you tried peddling in the opposite direction? For me backwards was always more irritating than forwards. Everyone is different though.
  • I was having the same issues, knees, hips, numb feet, and then I did some research: Are you leaning forward and bouncing while using the elliptical? I was, because that felt like the fun, natural way to do it. Turns out that's completely wrong. I switched it up and sat back on my heels, moved my legs only and concentrated on keeping my balance with my core, all the pain went away. It's about 20X HARDER, and I can only go about 20 minutes instead of 45, but I have zero pain now. It's very tempting to slowly go back to bouncing and leaning forward, but that's what's killing your knees and numbing your feet.
  • darkguardian419
    darkguardian419 Posts: 1,303 Member
    I'm the same way. Elliptical hurts, but treadmill I feel fine (for a while) recently the stationary bike has been hurting my knee as well. I blame the elliptical on the short ROM, and thinking the bike could be similar. I'm 24 and "relatively" healthy, so I'm doubting that it's my joints.
  • ami5000psu
    ami5000psu Posts: 391 Member
    No but it makes my feet go numb after about 15 minutes.

    Same thing happens to me.
  • rabbyduby
    rabbyduby Posts: 123 Member
    I no longer use the elliptical because it does hurt my knees. I find that the "foot pedals" are too far apart compared to my normal stride which puts weird pressure on my knees and makes my feet not feel like they are where they belong.. does that make sense?

    Totally agree. Kills my knees. and i thought i was the only one.
  • OneDimSim
    OneDimSim Posts: 191 Member
    I find that all the ellipical machines seem to be different in how much resistance they put up, the size of the eliipses (SP?) etc.....

    For instance, my one @ home puts GREAT resistance and is hard to push the pedals on the lowest setting while the one @ the gym i cannot even break a sweat on the lowest setting (plus size of ellipses very small) - b4 you totally give up, try a few different ones.

    There are also some elliptical-like machines out there - like one that is almost like a combo elliptica/stairmaster where you do a sort uphill ski action - one where your legs go out to the sides, etc.

    I also have knee issues - patellar tracking - which i am pretty sure was brought on by WALKING on the treadmill @ incline + not stretching the IT band. So walking on incline is not something i do much of anymore except for an occasional interval.

    I HATE the stationary bike with a PASSION....some ppl like it!
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,633 Member
    No but it makes my feet go numb after about 15 minutes.

    Numb Feet: Try loosening your shoe laces or even unlace the top few holes of your trainers, quite a few people use the elliptical in socks as this is common problem.

    Knee pain: I wonder if some of the knee problems are caused by splayed feet causing patella tracking issues?
  • alienrite
    alienrite Posts: 366 Member
    Ellipticals are tricky and can be the best and worst machines to use. They are an engineered repetitive fixed motion which is very prone to causing repetitive motion stress issues if they are not properly sized for the individual (similar to carpal tunnel syndrome). I picked the one I own for primary purpose that the stride length is adjustable and the pedal sizes are large enough to allow my feet to sit a good distance apart. I use mine 5 to 7 days a week since last June without any pain and have actually used it to strengthen my legs and correct some stride issues which have helped my newly found attraction to running. This takes a consistent focus and thought about what my body is doing (leg motion, foot motion and pressure, hips, back, etc.) which I cannot do while watching the TV.

    As being a big proponent of ellipticals but you have to be smart about them and which ones you use. Make sure you can adjust the stride length and pay attention to what your body is doing. Using an elliptical without thought and consideration for your own physique can be damaging. It is even worse if you are doing it mindlessly while watching TV or otherwise ignoring the motion you are making.
  • cpaige908
    cpaige908 Posts: 2 Member
    Yes! No one ever believes me when I say the elliptical hurts me more! I've switched to cycling on the stationary bikes, no more pain.
  • It doesn't hurt my knees & my right knee tends to bother me off & on so I'm glad for that. I did start out only a few minutes at a time & worked up to 15 minutes during the 1st week of using it. But like the others said, you do have to keep your feet flat & let your weight go back into your heels. Also, I have the same problem with my feet going numb after about 15-20 minutes every time I use it.
  • coleeli
    coleeli Posts: 40 Member
    There are certain types of ellipticals that really kill my knees and others that I could spend 3 hours on and have no problems. The one in my apartment's gym kind of aims downward with the normal incline. That's the type that hurts me. At the normal gym I go to, they have nicer ones that have a general upward incline. Love those. The incline I'm talking about is not the one you can set yourself (not 100% sure how to explain that, but just the way the machine is set up).

    I am surprised you can run on a treadmill though without any knee issues! That's very interesting to me.
  • umer76
    umer76 Posts: 1,289 Member
    What is the correct foot position while doing elliptical? While pressing down, the heel should be elevated and press down with the ball of the foot Or foot should be flat while pressing down?

    I can do elliptical for 60 minutes and have been doing it 2-3 times a week. But recently I have pain below my right knee, may be it is shin bone (about 3-4 inches in a straight line). I am not sure it this is because of elliptical. But what I am reading from this thread many people have issues with elliptical. I have already stopped running on the treadmill for more than a month.
  • SamanthaClarexo
    SamanthaClarexo Posts: 353 Member
    :grumble: I get numb toes
  • JessMason24
    JessMason24 Posts: 38 Member
    Interesting. My knee has just started bothering me since using the elliptical at a new gym. I had thought the same can this be? the elliptical is supposed to be ok for the knees. I will try adjusting the stride and paying more attention to my foot positioning. Otherwise, stationary bike, here I come.
  • NutritionDivaRD
    NutritionDivaRD Posts: 467 Member
    I also have trouble with my feet getting numb so I'm going to some of the tips I've found here! Thanks!

    I started using the ellipital last summer following recovery from knee surgery. My physical therapist encouraged me to use it along with the incumbent bike to help stengthen the muscles that support knee movement. I was instructed to work on building my quads to help as well. I followed the advice as instructed and my knees feel stronger than ever.

    OP, you've received some great advice in this thread! Even tips I've never heard of and that I'm going to apply to my own workouts!

    Thanks to all of you for your helpful replies!
  • sgv0918
    sgv0918 Posts: 854 Member
    yes it was awful and now I can do 45 min without issue. I started at the lowest setting for 5 minutes and got off then tried to go 6 min. then 10. as i built endurance and lost weight the knee pain left
  • samcat2000
    samcat2000 Posts: 106 Member
    I agree with the posts that have recommended putting your weight in your heels. Also push off with weight in your heels - get those glutes firing and accomplishing a good part of the push off. Be careful though not to hyper-extend. I've got a major bum knee (reconstructed ACL that is now impinged and multiple cartilage tears and repairs). Stairs have been very painful for me until I started doing a lot of lunges in which I really drop into my heels and push off with weight in my heels. When I go up stairs I push off with weight in my heels and have noticed a huge more pain! I apply this to the elliptical. Also, try really focusing on using your core as you engage in each step. Contract your obliques as you move each leg forward (does that make sense?!). This will take some of the work out of your knees too.

    As for numb toes and feet, I've been able to remedy this somewhat by really keeping my toes moving every couple of minutes - i.e. by flexing, curling, wiggling side to side, etc. Sometimes I'll change my stance a little throughout the session. When I forget, they go totally numb.
  • mohanj
    mohanj Posts: 381 Member
    Treadmill hurt my knees. Hence I switched to Elliptical. You have to find a right treadmill for you. From my personal experience I have felt that not all Elliptical are same.