Physical and Occupational Therapy

Does Knee Pain Have You Going Down the Stairs Sideways?

knee pain steps

It’s common to have knee pain when going up or down stairs or inclines.  This doesn’t mean that anything major is wrong with your knee.  Your knee-joint is composed of 3 main types of structures:  muscles/tendons, ligaments/cartilage, and bone.

knee anatomy

It’s much more likely that your pain is being caused by some common soft tissue (muscle/tendon/ligament/cartilage) issue that can be easily solved with a few stretches and strengthening activities.  Try these 4 exercises and stretches twice a day for the next 2 weeks to significantly reduce your knee pain.

heel slides

1.) Heel slides: in a seated position using a towel, belt, or strap pull your heel towards your bottom until a stretch is felt in your knee.  Hold the stretch for 5 slow seconds and then slide your heel back out until your leg is straight.  Repeat this process 10 times. 

2.) Quad sets:  In a seated position with your leg out in front of you, push your knee down into the table and tighten the muscles on the top of your thigh.  Hold them tight for a slow 10 count then relax completely.  Repeat this 15 times.  If this hurts your knee place a small towel roll under your knee when pushing it down.

quad set

3.)  Quad stretch:  On your stomach, loop a dog leash/belt/strap around your ankle and pull your heel toward your bottom until a stretch is felt in the top of your thigh.  This should not be painful but may be slightly uncomfortable.  Hold this stretch for 45-60 seconds.  Repeat 3 times.

prone quad stretch

4.) Straight leg raise:  On your back with one knee bent and the affected leg straight, tighten the muscles in the top of your thigh and lift the straightened leg to the height of your other leg.  Hold for 3 seconds and lower leg.  Repeat this 20 times taking one break if needed.


You don’t have to live with your knee pain.  In many cases a few simple stretches or exercises done consistently can significantly reduce your knee pain.  Check out this article:  Top 10 myths about knee pain

If your knee pain doesn’t resolve in two weeks, make an appointment with physical therapy.  This is another non-invasive way to successfully treat your pain.  Rehab Associates has 2 outpatient facilities in Newark, OH and Dresden, OH that specialize in knee pain treatment.  Call us today for your personalized assessment: (740) 345-2837

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