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The Dangers of Treadmill Injuries

With the ever-growing popularity of home fitness equipment, treadmills have become a staple in many households. However, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, more people are injured by treadmills than any other piece of exercise equipment. Typical injuries include slips, sprains, and strains, but treadmills can also cause serious burns, concussions, broken bones, and even death, although the latter is rare.

As Clark Stevenson, owner of Treadmill Doctor, a treadmill repair company based in Memphis, Tennessee, explains, “There are all kinds of dangers with treadmills because they’re machines.” A study conducted at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio highlighted the severity of treadmill burns in children. Nurse practitioner Noffsinger revealed that these burns were often very deep and hard to heal, with some exposing bone and tendons. Even after healing, there’s a significant risk of scarring that can limit hand function for the rest of a person’s life.

Tips for Safe Treadmill Use

The good news is that it’s relatively easy to use a treadmill safely. To help minimize accidents and prevent injuries, follow these expert tips:

  • Keep a safe distance from the console: Walking or running too close to the console increases the chance of accidentally slipping on the belt.
  • Choose an appropriate speed: Don’t set the speed faster than you can handle. Start slow and gradually increase your pace as you become more comfortable with the machine.
  • Maintain clearance behind the machine: Ensure there is enough space behind the treadmill to allow for any unexpected slips or falls.
  • Use silicone lubricant on the belt: Applying silicone lubricant according to the manufacturer’s recommendations can help reduce friction and wear on the belt, resulting in safer operation and an extended lifespan of the machine.
  • Keep children and pets away: Never use a treadmill when unsupervised children or pets are in the room. They could easily get too close to the moving belt, posing the risk of injury to both themselves and the person using the equipment.

Treadmill Safety Recommendations for Children

While there is no set age recommendation for treadmill usage, children aged 12 and older should generally be able to safely use a treadmill without adult supervision, according to Noffsinger. However, it’s essential for parents to monitor their child’s activity on the treadmill and ensure they follow safety precautions, such as setting an appropriate pace and maintaining proper distance from the console.

Additional Precautions for Treadmill Users of All Ages

No matter your age or fitness level, taking extra steps to stay safe while using a treadmill is always a good idea. Some additional measures include:

  • Wear proper footwear: Opt for shoes with plenty of traction and support to minimize the risk of slipping on the belt.
  • Gradually warm up: Just like with any workout, warming up on a treadmill is essential to prevent injury. Start at a slow pace for several minutes before gradually increasing your speed and intensity.
  • Utilize safety features: Many treadmills come with built-in safety features, such as an emergency stop button or a safety key that will shut off the machine if you lose your balance. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these features before using the treadmill.
  • Listen to your body: If you’re new to using a treadmill or returning after an extended break, it’s crucial not to overdo it. Pay close attention to how your body is feeling during your workout and make adjustments accordingly.

In Conclusion: Stay Safe and Enjoy the Benefits of Treadmill Workouts

Treadmills are an excellent way to reap the benefits of regular physical activity in the comfort and convenience of your own home. However, their widespread popularity has also led to an increase in injuries. By following the safety tips and precautions outlined above, you can minimize the risk of accidents and enjoy a safer, more effective workout experience



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