If you are experience knee pain going down stairs but not upstairs, you’ve come the right place. There is a vast amount of information about knee pain on stairs in general and on knee pain going up stairs, but a lack of information specifically tageting knee pain going down stairs.
While all of the main causes of knee pain can be applicable to situations where you have knee pain going down stairs but not upstairs, there are usually just a couple of likely causes and they are easy to remedy.
Believe it or not, going down stairs actually puts more weight or force on your knee cap than going up stairs. It can be as much as 4x your body weight. So, if you weigh 200 lbs, the force on your knee cap when going down stairs can be as much as 800lbs! That’s a lot of force and that’s why your knee cap has the thickest layer of cartilage in you entire body on the back of it.
It is almost always damage to the knee cap or the cartilage on the back of it that causes knee pain when you go down stairs but not up.
The most common cause is a condition called runner’s knee. This is caused by prolonged periods of repeated, stressful, activities – such as running, jumping or even standing and twisting on your knees.
The second most common cause of knee pain going down stairs but not upstairs is a condition called Chondromalacia Patella. Patella means knee cap. You can determine this is the condition that you have by moving your knee joint. Most often, you’ll here clicking and/or grinding in the knee. This noise / feeling combined with knee pain only when going down stairs is the combination of conditions that indicate Chondromalacia Patella.
The really good news is that no matter what the cause, the solution is the same to fix the issue. R.I.C.E. — that stands for:
Because these conditions are both caused by your activities you need to take a break from those activities.
Applying ice to you knee reduces the swelling and stops the pattern of inflammation, pain and damage.
Tightly wrapping your knee can caused relief of pain and help reduce swellings.
Raising your knee slightly while laying down will also help reduce inflammation, swelling and pain.
For more details visit our more detailed page on knee pain going down stairs