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Why Does My Knee Hurt Going Down Stairs

Why Is My Knee Pain Not Improving With Rest

Why does my knee hurt when going down steps | Total Performance Physical Therapy | 215.997.9898

I put the knee cap in a stubborn injury category, this I think is because of two things, firstly, if we are honest with ourselves the symptoms may have been there for a long while but not enough to stop us so that by the time it comes to getting help the problem is really ingrained. Secondly, because the knees are always being used its very hard to give it the relative rest. Finally, building the strength often needs to work in positions that can cause pain so its sometimes hard to progress.

The Elevated Wall Sit Exercise

Stand with your back to a wall. Step out about two feet from the wall. Slowly slide down the wall until your knees are at a 45-degree angle. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds.

Repeat 3 times.

If you have knee issues, I recommend starting at a 45-degree angle first rather than a 90-degree angle. This will help you build strength around your knee and prepare you for stair climbing. This exercise is weight-bearing so it helps build stronger bone density and strength. But since its an isometric , it puts less stress on the knee.

These Two Issues Can Cause Knee Pain When Walking Up Stairs

Walking up and down stairs, walking, running. The knees move repetitively during all these activities, and such repetitive tasks can lead to issues with your knees. In some cases, people may even start to feel knee pain when walking up the stairs. Several issues can lead to this type of pain, and there are two in particular that are commonly treated by physical therapists.

  • Muscle imbalances
  • Muscle imbalances are one of the most common sources of knee pain when walking up stairs. There are several reasons that this issue could lead to pain during this activity, and one of them is the effect that muscle imbalances can have on the kneecap. The kneecap is supposed to slide along a v-shaped groove at the end of the thighbone. Muscle weakness in the thigh or calf muscles can pull the kneecap out of position, and this means it could rub against the bone as the knee bends while going up stairs. In turn, the rubbing causes pain signals to be sent out from the knee.

    Knee muscle imbalances can also lead to other symptoms in addition to pain. Some patients might have more difficulty bending the knee normally or other range-of-motion issues. Unbalanced knee muscles can also cause the knee to feel unstable, making it more difficult to climb stairs, walk or get up from a chair.

  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Also Check: Can Arthritis In The Knee Be Cured

    Why Does My Knee Hurt Going Down Steps

    If your knees are sore on steps or you find yourself going down sideways to make it easier, this article is for you.

    Whether you have stairs in the home or not, climbing steps in everyday situations is unavoidable.

    Whether its a set of steps or stepping down from a curb, this everyday task can be challenging. Surprisingly, some individuals can climb steps pain-free, but the going down hurts.

    Why? Compared to going up a step, going down actually places greater strain on the knee. This is especially true at the undersurface of your kneecap, known as your patellofemoral joint. Walking down steps puts 346% of your body weight into the kneecap, while going up a step puts 316%.

    To put this into perspective, a person weighing 185 pounds is placing nearly 650 pounds of force through the kneecap while going down a step. Unfortunately, the strain to the knee gets worse when other areas of the body, mainly the ankle and hips, are either weak or tight.

    The range of motion required for stairs is much greater than other daily tasks like walking. Loss of motion due to tightness or previous injury can cause your body to compensate and increase the strain on the knee

    Lack of strength in the hips, knee, and ankle can also cause the knee to compensate while on stairs. Research suggests knee pain during stair negotiation is consistent with altered activity and weakness of an hip muscles.

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Meniscus Tears
  • Patellofemoral Pain
  • You Might: Lack Eccentric Leg Strength

    Knee Pain Going Down Stairs?

    When you walk down stairs, you have to control yourself against the pull of gravity every time you step down, Canham says. This is eccentric strength, or the ability to handle force when your leg muscles are in a stretched position. It’s different from the concentric leg strength needed to push through your feet to walk up a flight of stairs.

    If you lack the strength needed to control your descent, you’ll plop down hard, which adds stress to your knee joints. Over time, that stress can cause pain in the front of one or both knees.

    Fix It

    The next time you walk down stairs, notice how your foot lands with every step. Ideally, you want to land softly. If you find you cant control your landings , you could stand to build some eccentric leg strength.

    To do that, Canham suggests practicing eccentric single-leg chair squats. Heres how to do them.

  • Begin standing facing away from a chair, feet hip-width apart.
  • Lift one foot off the floor. Then, bend your standing knee and sit back into your hips.
  • Keeping your weight in one leg, lower yourself to the chair on a 4 count. Try to sit with control instead of plopping down.
  • Once youre seated, use both legs to return to standing.
  • Repeat for 6 to 12 reps on one leg before switching to the other. Aim for 3 to 4 sets per leg.
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    Why Does My Knee Hurt When I Climb The Stairs

    Self Care, Exercise, Arthritis, Knee

    Joe asked himself that question every time he stood at the bottom of the steps and looked up at the landing. The stairs had become a physical endurance test. Each step caused searing pain in his knees no matter how slowly or carefully he climbed. The pain, which started in his right knee, now affected his left. Most of the time, Joe avoided the stairs by sleeping on the couch in the den and storing his clothes in the desk drawers. But, today he needed his suit from the bedroom closet.

    Has knee pain ever caused you or a loved one to avoid activities?It may be due to damaged cartilage in your knee. The clinical name for the condition is chondromalacia patellae, also known as Runners Knee.

    How Is Knee Cartilage Damaged

    Knee cartilage fails for many reasons. Accidents, injury, genetic deformities, overuse, and age are five common reasons for chondromalacia.

    Fractured bones or lacerated muscles can cause an imbalance of strength in the leg and pull the kneecap to one side of the groove or another. The added stress can cause misalignment and pain.

    Overuse injuries cause damage to the cartilage, especially in young athletes. Growing bones and excessive stress create a recipe for a chronic condition. If young athletes complain of knee pain at practice or during a competition, they should stop playing. Prolonged knee pain after activity indicates a more serious condition than normal muscle soreness from a strenuous workout. If you experience knee pain after practice or a game that does not diminish in 72 hours, you may need medical attention. Call your primary care provider, sports medicine physician or an orthopedic specialist.

    Genetic deformities and age are risk factors you cannot change, but you there are some things you can do to avoid damaging the cartilage.

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    Do Simple Exercises To Strengthen Your Legs

    There are also targeted exercises you can do to strengthen your leg muscles, which will make it easier to climb up and down stairs.

    The bones on each side of your knee joint are like metal rods, and youre supposed to have cartilage that acts like lubricant between them, but the cartilage wears away over time, says Dr. Minhas. As a result, you feel pain when they rub against each other. Strengthening the muscles that support your joints will anchor your bones, so theyre not hitting each other as much.

    A number of exercises can help to strengthen your legs. Dorsey recommends these two simple exercises, in particular:

    • Tippy-Toe Raises: Rise up on your tippy-toes for 10 to 15 seconds as you hold on to a counter or dresser for stability. Lower back down. Thats one rep do 10 reps total.
    • Leg Raises: While standing and holding on to a counter or dresser for stability, raise one leg a few inches off the ground by bending at the knee . Lower your foot back to the ground. Thats one rep do five reps on each side.

    Both of these exercises will build your strength and balance. Of course, the reps listed above are only suggestions, and its important to do whats right for your own body. For instance, you might rise up on your tippy toes for just five seconds to start or you may want to increase your leg raises to 10 on each side.

    Speak to your doctor before starting a new workout regimen to make sure the exercises you are doing are appropriate for your condition.

    What Causes Knee Pain When Going Down Stairs

    My KNEE HURTS when I walk up and down STAIRS

    There are various reasons why you might have knee pain going down stairs. Here are some common ones to consider:

    1. Chondromalacia Patella

    Chondromalacia patella can cause knee pain when you are going down stairs. It happens when there is injury to the underside of the patella or knee cap in the area of the cartilage. It is usually seen in women as well as in teens and children. Getting up from sitting or going down stairs can cause increased pain.

    Common symptoms of this problem include a swelling around the knee cap, aching in the area of the knee cap, and a sensation of a grinding or crepitus when you move the knee.

    2. Osteoarthritis

    Osteoarthritis happens when there is excessive wear and tear on the knee joint so that bone can rub against bone, causing knee pain when going down stairs. It is most common among those older than fifty and those who always do activities that stress the knee, such as working in cold weather, certain physical activities, and climbing stairs.

    The main symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain and swelling about the knee, stiffness of the knee after getting out of bed or off a chair, a grinding sensation beneath the knee cap and aching of the knees even at rest.

    3. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

    Common symptoms of knee pain from patellofemoral syndrome include grinding sensation in the knee area, generalized knee pain, and a bit of swelling about the knee.

    Recommended Reading: Inversion Table Knees

    What Are Some Potential Causes Of Knee Pain That Occurs When Climbing Down Stairs

    While you should never self-diagnose and treat an injury, learning about potential causes can help you take a more active role in your treatment while helping you to be more engaged with your care provider.

    Here are four potential causes of knee pain that can cause pain when climbing or descending stairs:

  • Muscle strain Although usually a minor injury that can improve with time, strained muscles around the knee can make it difficult and painful to go down the stairs.
  • IT band syndrome The iliotibial, or IT, band is a long tendon that runs from the pelvis to the top of the shin, over the side of the knee. Inflammation of the IT band can cause severe knee pain when walking, running, climbing stairs and other activities.
  • Ligament sprain or tear Ligaments like the ACL and MCL that help join the knee can become sprained or even torn, causing pain that manifests when climbing stairs. These injuries can become serious conditions that require surgery in some cases, so prompt diagnosis and treatment is critical.
  • Compensatory injury Foot and ankle injuries can alter our natural biomechanics and put additional load on the knee when going down the stairs, causing painful sensations.
  • For these and other causes of knee pain, one method of treatment that can be particularly effective is physical therapy.

    Knee Pain When Climbing Stairs

    Many conditions can cause knee pain when stair climbing. Pain in the front of the knee/knee cap is a common complaint from knee pain suffers when they climb or descend a set of stairs. Stair climbing places additional stress on injured knee tissues such as tendons and cartilage.

    View the top 3 causes of Knee Pain Going Up Stairs

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    Get Up To Move Regularly Throughout The Day

    When youre stiff, its more difficult to tackle everyday tasks like climbing stairs. Thats why its important to get up and move regularly, especially during COVID-19 when you may be spending more time at home than usual.

    Sitting a lot turns your knees inward, so practice opening up the hip area during the day to keep that area more flexible, says Dr. Minhas. Itll be easier to go up the stairs because you wont feel as tight.

    Simply sitting at the edge of a chair and dangling your legs back and forth can be a helpful exercise.

    Its important to get joint fluid to the knee area, says Dr. Minhas. Moving through your range of motion by swinging your legs back and forth can help.

    In general, getting enough physical activity can increase your strength and flexibility, reduce joint pain, and help fight fatigue, according to the Mayo Clinic. That, in turn, can help make climbing up and down stairs feel less overwhelming.

    Moment Arm Going Down Stairs

    Why Do I Have Knee Pain While Going Up and Down Stairs ...

    Now lets take a look at the moment arm length when going down stairs. In this instance I am stepping down from the step to the floor.

    As I start to step down my bodyweight presses down through the front of my back foot. Once again, the ground reaction force works upward from the point of contact .

    We work out the external knee flexion moment arm length out in the same way as the two previous examples. The green arrow points from the centre of the knee back to where it meets the ground reaction force line.

    Straight away you should be able to see that the moment arm in green is much longer than in the previous two examples. Remember a longer moment arm is like a longer lever, it places more force through the knee.

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    When To See A Doctor

    If any of the following occur, contact your doctor.

    • Any sign of infection such as increasing redness or fever
    • Severe unrelenting pain
    • Numbness, loss of strength or tingling of the leg
    • The foot or leg appears pain, cold or blue
    • Symptoms are not improving with common-sense home treatment
    • The pain becomes severe and increases in frequency

    It’s The Climb: Taking Steps To De

    Experiencing knee pain on the stairsand sometimes only on stairscan be frustrating. This is especially true when you can’t pinpoint an injury that explains your pain.

    If you haven’t suffered an acute injury, what causes knee pain when going up and down stairs? Conditions like chondromalacia, osteoarthritis, and ITBS are common culprits.

    Fortunately, chondromalacia and ITBS are treatable. While osteoarthritis is degenerative, conservative and surgical measures can control symptoms.

    Finally, changing the way you navigate stairs can also relieve pain and prevent re-injury.

    As you manage pain in your knees or elsewhere, count on PowerRebound’s blogs for the best advice.

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    What Causes Chondromalacia Patella

    Chondromalacia patella often occurs when the undersurface of the kneecap comes in contact with the thigh bone causing swelling and pain. Abnormal knee cap positioning, tightness or weakness of the muscles associated with the knee, too much activity involving the knee, and flat feet may increase the likelihood of chondromalacia patella.

    Internal Knee Extension Moment

    Knee Pain Exercises: Eliminate Pain Going Down Stairs

    Without an opposite force to the external knee flexion moment our knees would continue to bend underneath us until we ended up in a heap on the floor.

    This opposite force comes in the form of the contraction of the quadriceps muscles in the front of your thigh. Your quadriceps contract to create the internal knee extension moment.

    Any force created by the quadriceps muscles results in pressure through the front of your knees and through the patella tendon .

    The amount of force that is created by the quadriceps will determine how much pressure is placed through your knees. The length of the external knee flexion moment arm influences the force required from the quadriceps muscle.

    A longer moment arm will place more force through the knee than a shorter moment arm. Imagine a lever in the form of a wrench. A longer lever has the ability to create a larger force with less input.

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    Video: Scar Tissue Treatment With Graston Technique For Muscle Pain

    Cold laser is another effective treatment at decreasing pain and inflammation, while improving function. Class IV cold lasers emit specific wavelengths of energy that enhance the body’s healing mechanisms while decreasing inflammation around the knee. It also helps decrease activity from pain sensors that are sending excessive pain signals to the brain. Cold lasers are commonly used to treat knee injuries and damage to leg muscles.

    Pain In The Front Of The Knee

    Patellar tendon issues are the most common cause of pain in the front of the knee and this pain can be worse with activities that increase loading of the knee, such as walking down stairs, down a slope, or a hill.

    If the pain is new, there may be inflammation or irritation of the patellar tendon attachment to the tibia called tendonitis. If the pain has been present for longer than several weeks, there may not be any more inflammation or irritation and in these cases, we see more scarring or failing healing in the tendon that we call tendin-osis .

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