Knee Pain Climbing Stairs

Knee Pain Climbing Stairs is a very common ailment. If you have ever had knee pain climbing stairs there could be several different reasons why. Despite being a common daily activity climbing stairs puts a surprising amount of pressure on your knee. If you experience pain when climbing stairs this is often a sign of an underlying knee issue you may not have been aware of. Here are the most common knee ailments that cause knee pain climbing stairs and various ways to approach treatment.

Knee Pain Climbing Stairs Common Causes And Treatment Methods

  • Runner’s Knee: or Patellofemoral Syndrome is one of the most common knee ailments. As the name suggests it does affect runners but they are far from the only people who can have this condition. Runner’s knee tends to be a condition that builds up over time with pain becoming more noticeable. Causes can include tight muscles pulling at the kneecap, weak muscles putting more stress on the knee joint, knee bones not lining up correctly, and posture related causes such as foot position and the angle of your thigh bone. Symptoms include inconsistent pain, grinding noises, swelling, pain when using stairs, stiffness after sitting or laying down, and notable pain when performing strenuous activities. Treatment can include PRICE (an acronym standing for protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation), knee braces, stretching, strengthening exercises, moving around more, not overexerting yourself, over the counter pain medication, and very rarely surgery. Runner’s knee, in general, does not point to structural damage to the knee and is more caused by irritation and joint overuse. With that said healing can take from as short as a few weeks to as long as six months depending on cause and severity.
  • Chondromalacia Patella: is related to runner’s knee but constitutes its own condition despite being similar. The key difference is Chondromalacia Patella is accompanied by a weakening or damaging of the knee cartilage. It is commonly found in younger people who are athletically inclined with women tending to suffer from it more often. Causes include a badly aligned kneecap, flat-footedness, imbalanced muscles chiefly in the leg area, and physical overexertion. Symptoms mirror runner’s knee with swelling, mild pain, grinding noise, stiffness, and pain when using stairs. Treatment options include PRICE (see above), strengthening exercises, knee braces or supports, pacing of physical activities, anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, and very rarely surgery. In general with rest and exercise recovery can be made in a few months.
  • Pes Anserine Bursitis: is not technically the knee itself but does cause pain in the general area of the knee. Located just a few inches below the knee joint Pes Anserine Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa sac and tends to affect women more than men. Causes can include poor workout techniques such as not properly warming up, repeated stress to the knee, being overweight, injury, and tight muscles (typically hamstrings). Symptoms can include swelling, pain, tenderness to the touch, a reduced range of motion, and difficulty sleeping. Treatment methods include anti-inflammatory medication, rest, strengthening exercise (with proper stretching), and use of ice. More severe symptoms may require physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, and rarely surgical removal of the bursa sac if symptoms do not improve.
  • Arthritis: joint pain when climbing stairs is one of the most common symptoms of arthritis. In general the majority of arthritis is defined as osteoarthritis. The causes of osteoarthritis is a lifetime of wear and tear on your joints. As you age the cartilage in your knee breaks down, knee bones thicken, and bone spurs occur as knee bones grow. As a condition osteoarthritis generally affects those over the age of 50. Common symptoms include pain, a reduced range of motion, knee stiffness, and swelling. As a condition osteoarthritis is a permanent degenerative joint condition and cannot be fully recovered from. However, proper treatment methods can reduce the severity of osteoarthritis symptoms and their impact on your overall quality of life. By increasing exercise, making use of heat and ice, wearing a knee brace when symptoms flare up, improving your diet, and making use of pain medication you can limit the impact of osteoarthritis. In the case of stairs leading with your stronger leg and adding a handrail can greatly reduce the pain stair use can cause.
  • Osgood-Schlatter Disease: is a disease that commonly causes knee pain in young people between the ages of 9 and 16. It is an inflammation of where the knee meets the patella tendon. Affecting one in five adolescents it is more common in boys and tends to affect those more include to athletic or physical activity. OSD is caused by ‘growth spurts’ wherein the bones of the leg increases in length far faster than muscle growth can keep up. This results in very tight muscles which pull at the knee tendons. Symptoms include tenderness, inconsistent pain, pain when performing physical activities, and a bony lump just below the knee. Treatment options include common treatment methods such as braces and support devices, anti-inflammatory medication, PRICE, and rest. However, OSD is a condition that can flare up even after a recovery in which case treatment should be undertaken again. Luckily, OSD is an ailment that most surfers grow out of by the age of 16 but some adults have reported continuing issues.


Knee pain climbing stairs does not indicate a specific knee ailment or the severity of any underlying issue. Indeed you can have the exact same knee ailment as someone else and make use of completely different treatment methods. Your health, age, existing medical, concerns, the type and severity of your knee injury all affect treatment. With so many factors that have to be considered always consult a medical professional before starting any at home treatment regiments. Proper examination assures you are aware of the type and scope of any knee issues you may have. A doctor can also specify treatment methods that work best for your unique life situation and current health needs.