Orthopedic Treadmill Belts: Friend or Foe?


Almost all treadmills offer orthopedic belts on at least a 1/3 of the models, if not more. Many people are not aware that this is an option, and not a must when purchasing a treadmill. Treadmills now offer orthopedic belts and/or decks and all is not what it seems when choosing these options.

The Orthopedic belts one the market are said to cushion and protect joints of connective tissues of you hip joints, ankles, and knees. Treadmills like NordicTrack offers DuraSoft Cushioning belts which are said by NordicTrack to reduce joint impact on joints by as much as 19 to 33% as compared to road running. NordicTrack also offers a belt that has a 5 position adjustable cushioning. Many people prefer the ability to decide which is best for them at any given time throughout their workout life.

The Smooth 9.17 and BodyGuard treadmills also have treadmills that offer orthopedic belts due to the popularity among many with shin splints and heel spurs. Most often people that only use treadmills as there main source of exercise will occasionally have these aliments occur. The HealthRider that is widely available at stores like Wal-Mart and the large bulk stores offer the Ortho Belts for the same reason and popularity that have many thinking that these are much better for them.

Proform offers a Quiet tread belt on several models that is just a regular tread belt, but the do offer a ProShox Impact Reducing Deck that states it will reduce joint impact by 28% compared to road running.

Many service technicians hate to see people purchase treadmills with Orthopedic belts due to the fact that they will wear out the motor very quickly compared to regular tread belts. The fact that Orthopedic belts are much thicker than regular tread belts means that they cause excessive heat on the belt and wear on the bearings within the rollers.

The fact that the heat is caused due to the thickness of the belt directly correlates with the fact that the motor and all other parts are working harder, therefore causing the motor to wear out much quicker than normal. Many critics of the belt would tell consumers to either purchase a good pair of running shoes with extra support or that the positive effect you are feeling is all in you head.


Orthopedic belts are really not worth the additional money unless you have a major physical condition that any extra cushioning will be a benefit. If you do choose to purchase a treadmill with an ortho belt, please take into consideration that you should be ready for extra maintenance and the fact that the motor will wear before a regular belt. Also, remember that with an orthopedic belt to choose a treadmill with rollers that are at least 2.4 inches in diameter to insure that the belt and motor will have as much room as possible.

If you are just a normal consumer looking for a good treadmill and you have no prior problems, just stick with a regular treadmill and tread belt.

Brady Freeman is a regular contributor at Tradmill Doctor. A site where you can find an unbiased Treadmill Review.
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