Why do stairs hurt my knee?
It’s always interesting what prompts people to take action. What one movement that hurt which made them make an appointment.
Interestingly many people are unbothered that their knees hurt when walking long distances but, when they start to have pain going up and down stairs – this is a big problem.
So why are stairs a problem?
When we are walking on a flat surface our knees don’t have to bend or straighten too much, in fact we often “cheat” by changing how our feet and back move and limping.
But when we go up or down stairs we have to bend our knees farther and extend or straighten our knee more and this can cause more discomfort. Especially if we aren’t very good at getting our knee straight usually!
The deeper movement in squatting, kneeling, or sitting with the knees bent greater than 90 degrees (like a low chair) may also cause more pain, a “cracking or grinding sensation” or a feeling that the knee will “give way”.
Hips, Knees and backs
One of the “cheats” that the body uses when the knee can’t move very well is to make the hips work harder. This means we can end up with hip pain which is actually coming from the knee, this is called Referred Pain.
Top Tip if you think you have hip problems but get more pain on stairs, get your knees checked too!
Your back can also get involved in this “cheating” and you can end up with lower back pain because you aren’t using the muscles in your legs correctly.
What to do
Make that appointment!!! And when you do make sure that you get your knees, hips and back checked – on both sides. You can get the best treatment in the world, but if it’s in the wrong place you won’t get better.
Do your knee straightening exercises – here’s the weird thing about knees, if you can get them straight, they’ll bend. It seems backwards but if you train your knee to straighten completely the bend will come back quick and easy.