Quite a sizable number of people experience knee pain going down or up the stairs. Though it is easier to go down the stairs, it causes more pressure on your knees than climbing up the stairs.
Studies show that going down a fleet of stairs causes pressure on your kneecap that is 3.5 times your bodyweight. Meaning if you weigh 50kilograms, you exert a pressure of 175Kgs on your knee cap when you go down the stairs.
This is a lot of pressure when you compare it with the pressure exerted when you go up the stairs, which is only 2.5 times your body weight.
But squatting causes the most pressure on your kneecap because it is a whopping 8 times your body weight.
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All this pressure on your knee cap could cause you pain when squatting, going up, or going down the stairs. However, today we shall expound on some of the reasons you experience knee pain going down the stairs.
You are not supposed to feel knee pain going down the stairs. So if you experience any sort of pain, then it could be your cue to see a doctor for some checkup.
REASONS YOU EXPERIENCE PAIN GOING DOWN THE STAIRS
There are many reasons you could be experiencing knee pain going down the stairs, but here are five key reasons.
This is a condition where the cartilage that anchors your knee breaks down or deteriorates, which causes your bones to move unevenly. This causes a lot of friction in your knees.
Some of the symptoms you experience when you have knee osteoarthritis are pain, inflammation, rubbing, or snapping in your knee as you move. Your knee can also become stiff, especially after sitting for long periods.
Knee osteoarthritis can be treated using invasive and non-invasive treatments.
PATELLOFEMORAL PAIN SYNDROME
This is the leading cause of knee pain going down the stairs. Patellofemoral pain syndrome occurs when your bones move unevenly, causing some tears on the soft tissues in your knee joints.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome is also referred to as runner’s or jumper’s knee.
Sometimes patellofemoral pain syndrome can mean you have chondromalacia patella. The latter happens when the articular cartilage below your kneecap degenerates, leading to inflammation and pain.
One way to tell if you have chondromalacia patella is if you feel rubbing or snapping in your knee as you move. The condition can also result in swelling or pain in your knee cap.
Some of the leading causes of patellofemoral pain syndrome are flat feet, muscle feebleness, or body structure deformities.
Knee pain going down the stairs can be caused by something minor such as a muscle strain. Therefore, if the muscles around your knees are the ones that have been strained, then you are likely to experience some knee pain going down the stairs.
IT BAND SYNDROME
Scientifically referred to as the iliotibial (IT) band syndrome, it occurs due to your knees’ regular bending when you are biking, running, or hiking.
Because it is closely intertwined with your knee, you will experience very excruciating knee pain going down the stairs if it gets inflamed.
KNEE LIGAMENT INJURIES
If you have injuries in your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or medial collateral ligament (MCL) and they are sprained or torn in the process, you will experience knee pain going down the stairs.
You may require surgery to correct a knee ligament injury.
HOW TO FIX KNEE PAIN WHILE CLIMBING STAIRS
If you are experiencing knee pain while climbing stairs, here are treatment methods that will reduce your pain and inflammation.
This simply means rest, ice, compress and elevate your knee.
Rest and relax your knee and avoid any form of activity that has been causing you knee pain.
Place ice on your knee for 10-20 minutes thrice a day. This method is only effective if done immediately after an injury or activity that led to pain.
This will stop not only the pain but also the swelling. Once the swelling disappears, you can turn to heat.
Compress your knee by bandaging it as this will control the swelling. Ensure the bandage is not too tight.
Observe your knee for several days and if the pain doesn’t go away, go and see a doctor.
Use some pillows to elevate your leg and knee when you are seated. You could also raise your foot above your chest if you are lying down.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are some of the best painkillers when you have knee pain. However, they only help you to manage the pain for a short time.
So, if the pain persists, see a doctor.
MANAGE YOUR WEIGHT
It is important to maintain a good weight so that you don’t strain your knee. Therefore, take a healthy diet and maintain a good weight, and you will avoid knee pain.
PERFORM PHYSICAL EXERCISE AND THERAPY
If you are experiencing knee pain when climbing up the stairs, try doing some exercises or physical therapy. This will give your knee more strength, offer more stability and help you walk with ease.
You can begin with water therapy and slight stretching.
GET SOME SUPPORTIVE AIDS
To reduce knee pain when climbing stairs, try supportive aids like therapeutic taping, walkers, or braces and splints. Ensure you consult a health specialist on the best support aid.
BIOMECHANICAL (MOTION) DEVICES
Biomechanical devices improve motion and reduce the amount of weight on your knee. This, in turn, helps in managing knee pain.
A biomedical device was tested for two years and found to reduce knee pain significantly. These devices were tested on people with knee osteoarthritis, and after eight weeks, the improvements were at their peak.
These improvements remained stable for the next two years as long as the treatment was maintained.
VISIT A DOCTOR
If your knee pain persists even after taking painkillers, then it is time to visit a doctor. The doctor will give you painkillers, corticosteroid injections, or medicine to reduce inflammation.
WHY YOUR KNEE POPS WHEN CLIMBING STAIRS
Most people experience a knee pop when climbing stairs because the process stretches the tendons in your knees. If the knee pop doesn’t happen often, then there is no cause for alarm.
But if you experience knee pops together with some pain, you could be having an injury or a condition that needs medical attention.
Here are some of the reasons why your knee pops when climbing stairs.
Sometimes, gas can accumulate in your joint area. This results in the formation of gas bubbles in the synovial fluid (the fluid that lubricates the joints).
Therefore, when your knee bends, several bubbles burst. This is quite normal, and most people experience it.
This process does not cause any pain.
STRETCHING OF LIGAMENTS AND TENDONS
When you go up the stairs, the ligaments and tendons in your knee area stretch as they pass a small bony lump. Once they assume their normal position, you’re likely to hear a snapping sound in your knee.
Your knee can pop because of an injury like a fall. Note that a fall can damage your kneecap or the surrounding parts of the knee joint.
Your knee can pop because of the following injuries:
According to WebMD, the meniscus tears are a section of cartilage in your knee that protects and stabilizes your joints. Therefore, when you twist or rotate your knee forcefully, your meniscus can tear.
This tear causes a popping sound as you walk. This type of injury often occurs among athletes.
Chondromalacia patella – this results from damage to the cartilage that covers the kneecap. It causes a slight ache behind the kneecap.
Patellofemoral syndrome (runner’s knee) – it happens when you insert excess pressure on your patella. As you walk, you will see or hear a painful crunching or grating sound.
Runner’s knee can lead to chondromalacia patella.
If you can hear your knee popping and feel pain as you walk, you could be battling osteoarthritis. Also called ‘wear and tear’ arthritis, it mostly occurs among people in their 50s.
It happens on the joints used regularly, such as the knee—osteoarthritis results from the tearing of cartilage that protects the joint.
This results in pain and inflammation, which can cause the joint to make popping and crunching sounds as you walk.
You can also experience a popping sound in your knee after surgery, either because of the changes that happen or the new features of a joint replacement.
After studying 5,000, researchers concluded that a knee pop after a knee replacement does not affect a person’s quality of life.
Because no two bodies are the same, some people’s kneecaps may move more than others.
There may be variations in the components and tissues that compose a knee either due to age, injury, birth, or life events.
All these variations make one person’s knees make more noise than another person’s knees.
Knee popping or cracking is common and is not a reason for concern. However, if you experience pain when climbing up or down the stairs, you should see a doctor.
Nonetheless, taking a healthy diet, exercising, and managing your weight can help you to manage the symptoms and prevent further damage to your knee.