Impact Forces - Treadmill, asphalt and trails

edited December 2012 in Running Science
Is there any objective science that the treadmill has lower impact forces with the trails next and asphalt last?  I have a recurrence of Achilles tendinitis and I've relegated myself to the treadmill for run/walks while I try to get back to the trails and pavement.


  • I'd be curious.  I always feel like it's a little easier to concentrate on my form on a treadmill, but that's because I think there's less distraction (like oncoming traffic, for example).  I think everyone that uses the treadmills at my gym must pound on their right foot impact, because the treadmill always rattles when my right foot hits and not my left, lol
  • Impact force peaks don't change much, but loading rate (speed at which impact is applied) does change a bit on a softer surface. The big thing that happens is we alter our leg stiffness with varying surface properties. We tend to run with greater stiffness on softer surfaces, and less stiffness on harder surfaces (more bend at the joints. I wrote about this in more depth here:
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