A number of years ago, I was running on a treadmill and tripped. My neck fell right into the handle bar causing me to jerk my head and hit it against the interface. This made my entire body fall onto the tread and because the machine was moving, my body moved backward and then plopped onto the floor. Not only was this embarrassing, but painful. I could barely move from the neck injury.
I am hardly alone. Recently, the treadmill-caused death of David Goldberg made national news as he was someone of high profile. This has brought treadmill safety back into the spotlight. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, only 30 reported deaths from the use of treadmills occurred between the years of 2003 to 2012. However, injuries are quite common.
In 2014, injuries associated with treadmills numbered 24,400 and caused the largest amount of injuries than any other piece of exercise equipment. A New York Times article states, “the vast majority of injuries from sports equipment were related to overuse — for example, an injured tendon from a long run on a treadmill.”
How can you prevent an accident?
Most injuries stem from errors of the user. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Pay attention. If you are the type of person who zones out while running, perhaps treadmill running isn’t for you. Losing your balance is one of the most major types of treadmill injuries and comes from people who step off to the side or get back on a treadmill without slowing it down first.
2. Don’t run barefoot. This can cause a stress fracture in the leg. Wearing running shoes will give you better traction for the tread.
3. Stop making funny YouTube videos. I see it all the time at the gym–people videotaping their friends dancing on treadmills or creating pranks to get people to fall.
4. Be aware of the red stop button for emergencies.
It’s common sense, but practice safety always!