Saturday, May 9, 2009

Stairs - Why does going down hurt more?

Just about everyone with osteoarthritis of the knees gets increased pain on stairs. What most people don't realize is that it is common for descending to hurt more than ascending.

This is because your knees act as the brakes when going down stairs. Your quadriceps muscles provide the braking force that acts through your knees to control body weight. Without this control you would continue to accelerate until things got unpleasant.

This pain in descending is likely to be particularly bad if you have arthritis in your patellofemoral joint.

What should you do?

Again, building quads strength is vital. Weak quads will result in poorly a controlled descent which is likely to aggravate the joint further. Try to avoid stairs only if your arthritis is having a particularly bad flare up. Avoiding stairs makes muscles weaker, not stronger.
Support your knees with strong muscles and they will respond by giving you less pain.

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