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Stairs, Slopes And Going To The Cinema Really Hurt My Knee

Knee Pain Stairs

Just as I thought everyone’s knee’s were holding out gliding through the marathon training season at the start of the year with minimal knee issues walking through the door at the clinic, I’ve suddenly been hit by a spree of knee pain hassled people... I’m sure it’s contagious – stay safe! 😉

The summer has been slightly delayed this year in comparison to last year but now we’re there it inspires us all to get out and about and active. Combine that with the events currently on our TV screens, particularly the women's football world cup and Wimbledon sweeping the nation activity levels take a spike.

Whether it be picking up a racket and trying your hand at tennis or badminton, the football pre-season is starting again so getting to building your fitness levels back up or taking to running – couch to 5km or starting your training for the Autumn marathons, training levels or intensity should be gradually exposed to the body.. usually a trick that’s missed through such excitement and motivation.

For the more sporty population of clients I work with, gym work such as squatting or jumping will really exacerbate their knee pain symptoms but by no means is knee pain a sportsperson specific problem.

I have lots of clients explaining symptoms such as finding their knee painful during commutes to work or after cinema trips with their kids. If you think about the position of the knee when sitting the knee is slightly bent and what this does is causes extra pressure around the front of the knee and knee cap, so it’s no wonder the symptoms present.

Issues with prolonged sitting aren’t the only thing that I get clients explaining to me. The action that most of my clients explain is one of the worst is when they are going down slopes, stairs or down hills. Again the knee is in that slightly bent angle during all these activities whilst trying to control your bodyweight so you don’t collapse to the floor. Maybe not even directly at the time but later that day or maybe even the day after new clients are coming to clinic complaining that their knees are really playing up.

So here's the thing.....

Anything where the knee is going into a bent position will highlight the WHY we get front of the knee pain issues. Ultimately what’s causing it is a muscle imbalance between the inside and outside front thigh muscles called the quadriceps muscles. In a perfect world where we as humans move in perfect ways the knee cap should glide smoothly through the groove it sits in on the thigh bone (your femur).

However this is not a perfect world and we as humans do not move as the textbooks tell us we should and this is where the muscle imbalances occur. What happens is because the muscles around the knee are not working equally the knee cap is be being pulled one way or another which causes friction of the cartilage on the back of the knee cap against that groove on the thigh bone (femur) which over time gives us pain.

Have you ever noticed your knee grinding or cracking? Mmm…I bet most of you have. Well this is due to the knee cap not sitting perfectly in the groove. The body can tolerate this for quite some time but over the weeks, months and years of this happening the cartilage gets roughend causing the grinding, clicking and pain.

So let’s go back to those pesky quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh….. although we know they predominately are a cause of anterior knee pain but more often than not it’s not as simple as the quadriceps alone causing the problems. Often there are other structures involved and these include the troublesome IT band (outside of the thigh), poor Glute control through movement (bum muscles not working as they should) and/or calf muscle tightness. All or some of these can be contributing factors.

So What Can Be Done About Knee Pain?

To help manage your condition please don’t stop activity completely. Time alone will never get rid of your knee pain and why you got it in the first place. My advice is to reduce the volume and intensity of your activity to a manageable pain level and build up from there.

Apply ice to your knee for 10 minutes, particularly after exercise to     help with pain management.

The body is great at avoiding pain so it can carry on with life. How does it do this?.... The human body is very clever what it does is alter it’s movement patterns (the way we move). This is ok short term but then what body part will be next on the injury list due to this change in loading on the body? I can guarantee that short term gain of your body moving differently to avoid knee pain will equal long term pain elsewhere! I've seen it hundreds of times before.

Get Specialist Treatment

It is important to see a specialised therapist in treating your knee pain due to getting to the bottom of why the pain occurred in the first place. As mentioned above there are many potential contributing factors that cause knee pain that we need to rule out.

A specialist therapist will assess not only the physical aspects of why your knee pain occurred but they will be able to give you a plan of ways to move forward to get out of pain. As part of this plan they will advise and work with you on training activity levels/intensity to build you back to where you want to be.

With any pain/injury in the body it’s not a one size fits all in terms of treatment and rehabilitation programmes as there are too many variables such as age, gender, bony anatomy to name a few that we need to take in to consideration. To say all knee pain responds the same a one size fit all treatment programme is ludicrous. So if you are currently struggling with knee pain then a tailor made plan just for you is the only way to get you back firing on all cylinders we can promise you that!

For more tips like this to help ease pain and stiffness in your knee visit here: www.wdcphysio.wpenginepowered.com/physiotherapy/knee-pain – to get your free copy of my knee pain report which reveals 7 simple ways to end it to help get you exercising again.

Knee Pain Free Tips 

Knee Pain Guide

Download our FREE Guide: "7 Simple Ways To Stop Daily, Annoying Knee Pain"

– by lead Physiotherapist Wendy McCloud



Wendy founded WDC in September 2006. She has worked in both the public and private sectors. Within the NHS, Wendy worked as a Senior Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist and an Extended Scope Practitioner Physiotherapist as part of an Orthopaedic Consultant’s team specialising in Shoulder Pain. Wendy has treated royalty for Shoulder pain through referrals from her close links with a top Orthopaedic Shoulder Surgeon. More recently, Wendy has been the sole choice physiotherapist for all Essex-based referrals from London Shoulder surgeon Mr Matthew Sala. Wendy also worked within the national rugby union as the head physiotherapist for Southend Rugby Football Club. She led the medical service at the club for 11 years, working with players who achieved county honours and representative honours for various countries such as England, Samoa, Australia, and New Zealand.
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