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How to climb stairs with knee pain

Hi, this blog is for those of you who have knee pain and have stairs in your house which you have to negotiate on a daily basis. Here I am going to share a few tips which would help you to do this activity pain-free and safe.

Before we move on to the actionable let us look at what happens when we climb up

If the step is high we bend the hip and knee to 90 degrees and if low less than that.

With patellofemoral pain aka front of knee pain

The front of the thigh muscles or Quadriceps lengthen eccentrically and the back of the thigh muscles aka Hamstrings shorten. The calf muscles shorten to help bend the knee and place the foot on the step. All of these try to push the knee cap out of the groove in which it sits aka Patellar groove. To prevent this displacement the ligaments tighten and put pressure on the knee cap and the cartilage behind it causing pain and burning.

With medial osteoarthritis

In a normal joint both the lower bulb like ends of the thigh bone femur or medically known as femoral condyles glide and roll forward smoothly on tableĀ  top of the tibia or the shin bone. This bends the knee painlessly. In case of any degeneration or tear the gliding is uneven and painful. When such a knee is loaded more while climbing up it increases the pain.

Climbing down

Front of knee pain

The quads or the front of the thigh muscles shorten actively to straighten the knee to allow the foot to be placed on the step-down. The hamstrings and the calf lengthen. Both these force the knee cap into the groove loading the patella and its joint more. This makes climbing down more painful for those of us who have this kind of pain.

Inner knee pain

As the gliding is not smooth and there is instability there is pain with loading but much lesser than climbing up.

By now you have a brief understanding of what happens and why does it pain lets get to how to do it painfree

1.Always hinge or bend from the hips

Most of us unknowingly curl the spine and flatten the low back while climbing. Be mindful to bend the hips and keep the chest relaxed and down. Keep the weight on the heels.

2. Tighten the buttock muscles or the gluts

To engage the core and the gluts breathe out and gently pull the navel to the spine without rounding the back. Try to tighten the buttock on the side which is lower. Again there should not be any turning of your chest. As you alternate steps you will alternate the contractions

I hope these tips help you to climb pain-free.

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