Health blog

Knee hurting when you’re going down stairs? One of these issues could be the reason why

December 20th, 2021
Knee Hurts When Going Down Stairs

We’re often encouraged to take the stairs more often. Generally, walking up and down stairs helps us pack more physical activity into our day, yet going down stairs can also be an activity that causes some people’s knees to hurt. 

Fortunately, physical therapy can help you address many of the issues that can cause your knee to hurt when going down stairs. First, though, you’ll need to have the cause of your pain diagnosed. Physical therapists can help with this, too. 

4 issues that can cause your knee to hurt when going down stairs

Physical therapists can use their musculoskeletal system expertise to pinpoint the cause of your knee pain. Some common issues they may uncover when your knee hurts while you’re going down stairs are: 

  1. Knee osteoarthritis — Knee osteoarthritis affects 10% of men and 13% of women over 60; this makes it the most common joint disorder for Americans. It occurs when the cartilage in your knee wears out over time. Worn-out cartilage may allow the bones in your knee to rub against each other. This can create pain when going up or down stairs. 
  1. Chondromalacia patella — This knee condition primarily affects the kneecap cartilage. Your kneecap has a layer of cartilage on its bottom and sides. Chondromalacia patella occurs when this cartilage softens or breaks down, which can allow the kneecap to rub on the thighbone. This bone contact is especially likely when doing tasks like walking down stairs because such tasks put a lot of strain on your knees. 
  1. Patellar tendon injuries — Your patellar tendons have a vital job. They help hold your kneecap in the right position while your legs are moving or at rest. Inflammation or tearing of a patellar tendon can cause you significant pain. This pain is most likely to occur when you’re putting a lot of strain on the injured tendon, such as when you’re going down stairs. 
  1. Knee ligament injuries — You have ligaments at the back and sides of your knee. Their job is to help support your knee. A knee ligament injury can errode knee support and make walking up or down stairs and other tasks painful. One medical study found that anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are the most common knee ligament injury. That study reported that 20.3% of the knee ligament injuries it recorded were ACL injuries. 

Knee hurting when you’re going down stairs? Rehab Access can help

Our Rehab Access Physical Therapy clinics are places you can turn if your knee hurts when you’re going down stairs. Here you’ll have access to free screenings that can pinpoint the source of your pain. You’ll also find our dedicated physical therapists, and they can create a treatment plan that’s intended to: 

  • Reduce pain.
  • Improve joint range of motion. 
  • Boost strength in knee-supporting muscles. 
  • Increase your ability to do normal daily activities. 

Contact our team today for more information about how we can address your knee pain or to schedule an initial appointment with us to start treating your pain.