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Reasons for Knee Pains While Going Down Stairs

Have you noticed that you've started experiencing knee pain while going down the stairs? If it is so, chances are that you are having a problem with your patella or knee cap and the way it moves.

A kneecap is a very small bone in the shape of an upside down triangle. The kneecap is placed on your front knee’s patella groove. It glides both up and down when your knee moves.

When you indulge in daily activities, your knee goes through a lot of stress. Consequently, your patella’s back is lined with a very thick layer of cartilage. It has been specifically designed to combat huge compressive forces.

These massive forges get further magnified if there is interference in the movement of your patella or if something is affecting your kneecap’s cartilage lining. This will in turn cause knee pain when you go down the staircases.

Causes of knee pain while going down the stairs

Your knee pain while going downstairs can be caused due to three common reasons. They are as follows:-

1. Runners knee

The condition is also referred to as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome or anterior knee pain. It is the most widely known cause of knee pain (like the pain you feel when you do down staircases). It is basically an issue with the way the movement takes place in your patella.

Runners knee can occur due to an abnormal anatomy, flat feet, muscle weakness or tightness. It can happen to anyone irrespective of the age group notwithstanding the fact that one is physically active or not. About 25 percent of all the knee injuries in any sports injury clinics are due to Runners knee.


Any person who suffers from Runners knee has weak quad muscles and buttocks. When these muscles are strengthened, the weight on the knee decreases, leading to reduction in pain. Reduction of muscle tightness can also bring down the friction caused on a kneecap.

2. Osteoarthritis

It occurs due to wear and tear or degenerative changes in your cartilage and knee bones. Some of the symptoms include reduction in your knee movements, grinding or clicking, swelling, pain and morning stiffness. The condition might aggravate when a patient takes rest for a prolonged duration, after cold weather, activity and stairs. It is most prevalent among women above the age group of 50.

3. Chondromalacia patella

This is a condition that occurs when the cartilage is damaged on your kneecap’s back. Some symptoms include grinding/clicking, swelling and achy pain in the knee cap. Some activities that can aggravate this condition are getting up from a sitting position, pressure on the kneecap, climbing stairs and sports. It can affect mostly young and healthy people but is more commonly seen in women.


Doing stretches and kneecap exercises may be helpful. General strengthening exercises can also help. You can also wear a knee strap under your kneecap. This will take some pressure away from the joints, significantly bringing down the pain. Use ice regularly as it helps in reducing pain and swelling.