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Why Does My Knee Hurt When I Go Up Stairs

How To Beat Knee Pain On Stairs

How To Instantly Fix Knee Pain When Going Up And Down Stairs

Whatever is causing your knee pain going downstairs or upstairs, dont despair. There are loads of simple things you can do to make it easier to get up anddown the stairs and to reduce your knee pain.

For example, did you know it can make a huge difference which leg you leadwith as you go up and down. It might also be that increasing the strength or mobility in your kneehelps or that changing when or how you use the stairs makes a real difference.

Check out the How To Beat Knee Pain On Stairs article forour top 10 tips on how to do stairs with knee pain.

Anatomy Of The Knee Joint

The large femur sits atop the tibia, much like two pillars stacked on top of each other. The smaller fibula bone is on the outside of the tibia in the lower leg. The fibula provides some weight bearing, but not nearly as much as the tibia does. At the end of the femur are two large condyles with rounded edges that allow for the rocking or hinging motion associated with knee movement.

In between the femur and the tibia are fibrocartilage shock absorbers, or meniscus. Several large stabilizing ligaments on the inside and outside of the knee prevent excessive forward and backwards movements. These stabilizing ligaments include the Anterior Cruciate Ligament and Posterior Cruciate Ligament .

The patella bone sits in front of the femur and slides in a groove. The backside of the patella is covered with hyaline cartilage along with the front side of the groove on the femur, which minimizes the friction as the patella slides. The patella is a large sesamoid bone, which means it is surrounded in muscle or tendon. Sesamoid bones act as a pulley system to change the direction of forces, in this case from the quadriceps muscle to the tibia.

Treatments For Knee Pain

People who have symptoms of knee pain from chondromalacia should seek out early treatment to prevent further damage and alleviate pain. If chondromalacia isnt treated, it may lead to patella-femoral arthritis.

This occurs when the cartilage becomes worn away by harm. The most important thing to understand is that when the cartilage is lost, it cannot grow back.

If you or somebody you know who is currently dealing with frustrating knee pain, below are four easy things you can begin right away to help:

1). Do Lighter Exercises

Low-impact exercises such as swimming, Pilates, cycling and at times walking on level surfaces are good choices to keep the muscles strong without worrying about knee pain.

Make sure you stick to exercises that are comfortable. This may help prevent further damage.

If knee pain is caused by performing any of these activities we recommend you avoid these activities and follow tip #2.

2.) Physical therapy

Consult a physical therapist who performs a thorough assessment and works with individuals to perform the appropriate exercises and stretches for your specific problem.

3.) Working toward a healthy weight.

Being obese can be detrimental to your knees. Losing weight may alleviate pressure on the knee joint.

As always, consult your health care provider before beginning any weight loss program.

4.) Alternative injections.

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What Causes Pfp Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is an overuse disorder. These happen when someone does the same movements that stress the knee over and over again.

In PFP syndrome, repeated bending and straightening the knee stresses the kneecap. It’s most common in athletes.

Some people with PFP syndrome have a kneecap that is out of line with the thighbone . The kneecap can get out of line, or wiggle as it moves along the thighbone, because of muscle weakness, trauma, or another problem. If this happens, the kneecap doesn’t glide smoothly over the thighbone when the knee bends and straightens. The kneecap gets injured and this causes the pain of PFP syndrome.

How To Climb The Stairs When Your Knees Hurt

Why do my knees hurt when I go down stairs?

One of the questions I get asked all the time in my Denver personal training sessions is “how can I climb stairs with my bad knees?” Stair climbing is a challenging move, even with perfectly functioning knees, because it involves balancing on a single leg, lifting the whole body weight against gravity , shifting the weight to the other leg, and coordinating the movements of three joints and lots of muscles in each leg.

Worn out knee cartilage makes stair climbing downright painful for many people, but a few changes in your approach can ease the pressure on the joint and make stair climbing more manageable.

As always, please see your doctor before you attempt these exercises. Knees are complicated, and what works for some people might not be appropriate for your unique situation.

With your doctor’s ok, give these four techniques a try.

Stabilize the knee joint. Lack of muscle stability allows joints to move out of alignment which causes excessive and unusual wear and tear on the cartilage between the bones. In a weight-bearing joint like the knee, a lack of stability in the surrounding muscles means the joint itself, rather than the muscles, is bearing all the weight and pressure of the body. A few simple moves like the ones in this exercises for knee pain video can help stabilize an unsteady knee.

Learn good climbing mechanics. Once you have developed some strength and stability in the muscles that are going to do the work, it’s time to look at alignment and mechanics.


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Stay In The Groove To Avoid Knee Pain When Climbing The Stairs

Similar to other activities, proper form is necessary when climbing stairs, especially if your knees are tender. But, as we were learning to climb stairs as children, our parents were more focused on preventing falls than teaching us the proper stair-climbing technique.

If climbing stairs causes pain, assess your posture and the alignment of your feet and legs. Here are three tips to remember.

  • Align your knee over your second toe.
  • Dont lead with your foot, lead with your body. Bend your torso forward to redistribute the force of your weight from the knee to the hamstrings at the back of the thigh.
  • Place the heel of your foot on the step before you step up.
  • Repeat the steps for each stair you climb.

    If your knee pain increases or lasts for more than two weeks, its time to contact your orthopedic specialist. Continuing to walk on a sore knee can cause significant internal damage to the tendons and ligaments inside your knee.

    Lifestyle Tips To Manage Chondromalacia Or Knee Pain

    Usually, the first line of treatment for chondromalacia includes resting, stabilising, icing the joint to help reduce the pressure on the kneecap. However, the following tips may help alleviate the symptoms of chondromalacia and other knee problems:

    Diet: Eat a healthy diet consisting of a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains that will ensure a balance of nutrients and boost your overall health. Reduce your intake of foods high in added sugars, unhealthy fats. A balanced diet will also help you maintain a healthy body weight, which is one of the best things you can do for your knees and joints.

    Exercise: Include low-impact activities such as walking, swimming in your fitness routine as this type of exercise can help strengthen the legs and keep the muscle healthy without putting stress on the knees.

    Avoid triggers: Avoid activities that can cause or worsen the pain. For instance, if climbing stairs or squatting make the pain worse, you should stop doing them, instead, focus on activities that are good for you.

    Sleep: Getting enough sleep every night is important to help reduce pain and fatigue.

    Orthotics: Usually, doctors prescribe these special shoe inserts to help treat or support foot, leg and back problems.

    Some people also use pain relief drugs such as ibuprofen to help reduce discomfort. The good news is, whether you have chondromalacia or knee pain, you can still lead a healthy, active life with proper treatment and lifestyle modifications.

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    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.

    Can Someone With Pfp Syndrome Play Sports

    My KNEE HURTS when I walk up and down STAIRS

    Most people with PFP syndrome need to cut back or stop sports for some time. Follow the health care provider’s instructions on when it’s safe for you to go back to sports. This usually is when:

    • Hip, leg, and core strength is near normal.
    • Flexibility, especially in the hamstring muscle, has improved.
    • There’s no pain with everyday activities, such as walking and going up/down stairs.
    • Any pain with activity is very mild and goes away within a few minutes of starting the activity.

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    Going Up And Down Stairs May Be Painful If Youre Living With Arthritis In Your Knees But These Strategies Can Help

    If you live in a multi-story home or walk-up apartment, you know just how painstaking it can be to walk up and down stairs if you have arthritis in your knees. It may have gotten to the point of your avoiding the stairs altogether or dreaming of moving to a one-story home.

    Walking up and down steps causes pain in tender knee joints because of how your weight shifts between your legs as you climb.

    Climbing stairs causes more force to go through the leg than walking does, says occupational therapist , an Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. That can irritate already inflamed joints.

    Knee pain with stair climbing is so common that it can be one of the first clues that someone actually has osteoarthritis in the knee. In a 2014 study published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, researchers reviewed the pain ratings of nearly 5,000 participants with or at high risk of osteoarthritis when walking, using stairs, in bed, sitting or lying down, and standing up.

    The activity that caused them to cross the threshold from no pain to some pain most often was going up and down stairs.

    Knee pain is most likely to first appear during weight-bearing activities that involve bending of the knee, such as climbing stairs.

    However, there are a few important ways you can make using stairs a little easier on your joints without forever swearing off stairs. Follow these strategies to make navigating stairs easier and less painful.

    What Causes Chondromalacia Patellae

    The most common causes include:

    • Excessive use of the knees: This can result from running, jumping, or any activity that requires heavy use of the knees. Chondromalacia is often called “runner’s knee” for this reason. It occurs in people of any age and is common in young, active athletes.
    • A kneecap that is out of alignment: If the kneecap is not in the proper position, the cartilage will not be able to protect it from rubbing. Some people are born with a misalignment of the knee that can cause this issue.
    • Weak muscles in the thighs, hips or calves: The leg muscles help support the knee and keep it in place. If they are not strong enough, the knee may not track appropriately. Even a slight misalignment can gradually wear down the cartilage and cause pain over time.
    • A knee injury: An accident, fall, or blow to the knee can throw the kneecap out of proper alignment, damage the cartilage, or both.

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    Go Up With Your Stronger Leg And Down With The Other

    When youre climbing up stairs, lead with your stronger leg . As you go back down the stairs, lead with your other leg.

    When youre going up the stairs, you have to shift your entire body weight against gravity, so you want to have the strongest leg ready to transfer all that weight onto, says Dorsey. When youre going down the stairs, you want to lead with your weaker leg because you have the advantage of gravity.

    Causes Of Knee Pain When Going Up Stairs

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

    1. Knee Arthritis

    Arthritis takes many forms and the most common are osteoarthritis and autoimmune arthritis. The tissues breakdown, cartilage wears thin or tears and inflammation further increases pain. Bone spurs can develop as well. Autoimmune arthritis results when the body attacks itself and damages the joints and their supporting tissues such as cartilage, ligaments and synovium. The joint becomes inflamed, painful and swelling is noted. Warmth when feeling the joint is common in both, but the autoimmune variety generally produces more redness, swelling and warmth.

    Treatment: treatment is directed at reducing inflammation by using over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, Tylenol or naproxen. Common sense home remedies such as rest, ice and elevation should be utilized. Physical activity must be reduced so that the pain is tolerable and further inflammation is avoided. Autoimmune arthritis requires consultation with a doctor who can discuss prescription medications for pain and to modify the immune system’s attack on the body.

    2. Patellar Tendinitis

    Patellar tendinitis is very common in those who participate in jumping and running activities. The patellar tendon connects the kneecap to the shin bone . Any activity that involves extending the knee, running or jumping can result in pain with activities such as going up stairs. Pain can progress and interfere with sports and even normal daily activities such as walking.

    3. Knee Bursitis

    4. Runner’s Knee

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    What Causes Knee Joint Pain

    Most cases of knee pain are related to injury, aging, or chronic stress on the joint. Some of the most common knee injuries are sprains and strains, which involve damage to the ligaments. Acute trauma can also cause cartilage tears and fractures.

    If you’ve suffered an acute knee injury, you likely have some sense of what happened. You also probably have symptoms beyond knee pain walking up and down stairs.

    Maybe, though, you can’t recall an injury. And maybe your knee pain is isolated to specific circumstances.

    Perhaps you experience knee pain above the kneecap when walking up stairs. Maybe you only have knee pain walking up stairs and not down. On the other hand, maybe you feel a stabbing pain in the knee when walking down stairs.

    What can cause this kind of knee pain without injury? And what can cause knee pain specifically on the stairs?

    Knee pain not associated with injury usually involves damage related to aging or overuse. When knee pain occurs with bending, squatting, and climbing stairs, this damage is usually centered on the kneecap.

    Pain in the kneecap region is referred to as anterior knee pain, or pain in the front of the knee.

    However, “anterior knee pain” is a description, not a diagnosis. So you’re still left wondering, “What is causing my knee pain?”

    What Are The Causes Of Front Knee Pain When Walking Up Steps

    Knee pain can significantly affect your ability to move around, particularly when you need to climb stairs. Pain in the front of your knee is typically related to your patellofemoral joint, where your kneecap sits in front of your thigh bone. Stair climbing increases compression at this joint. “Patellofemoral pain syndrome” is a term used to describe different conditions that commonly cause pain in the front of your knee. See your doctor to accurately diagnose your knee pain.

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    What Causes That Knee

    As mentioned earlier, most causes of knee clicking are no cause for concern. Here are some of the reasons why your knees might pop and click while you walk up or down stairs, squat to pick something up, or when you extend your leg.

    Cartilage rubbing: There are a number of pieces to your knee joint that are required to keep it healthy and protect it, one of which is cartilage. Cartilage is tissue that lines and protects the bone, but over time this cartilage can grow unevenly. When you bend your knee, the cartilage rubs together and if its uneven, it can result in a popping or cracking sound. This becomes more common with age, but is no cause for concern.

    Ligament tightening: Your bones are connected by ligaments, and they lengthen and shorten as you move. Sometimes the ligaments can tighten, but not so much that they are at risk for injurythis can result in pops and cracks.

    Synovial fluid: With all the moving parts that make up your joints, there is a lot of rubbing together. And although the feeling of raw bone-on-bone friction can be extremely painful, this is not the case when the joint is intact with strong ligaments and cartilage. The smooth glide between ligaments is aided by synovial fluid. Synovial fluid protects bones from rubbing together and is made of carbon dioxide, oxygen, and nitrogen. When you stretch or bend, these gases can escape the joint, resulting in a popping or cracking sound. Once again, this is no cause for concern.

    Get Up To Move Regularly Throughout The Day

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    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.

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