While walking and other forms of exercise can help strengthen your leg muscles, they can also cause knee pain. Knee pain can be caused by injuries from sports and other activities, as well as by overuse or compression of the knee joint.
In addition, walking and standing for long periods of time can put extra pressure on your knees, which can cause the cartilage to wear down and the ligaments to tear.
Read on to learn more about the possible causes of knee pain when walking and how to prevent it.
What causes knee pain when walking?
There are several possible causes of knee pain when walking.
Injuries and overuse
Injuries, such as a sprained or torn knee, can cause pain when walking. These injuries are usually minor and can happen to anyone. Sprains occur when a ligament is stretched too far and breaks, while tears occur when the knee joint is stretched too far.
Sprained or torn knees can be treated with stretching and physical therapy. However, they can often get better with time.
Kneeling and squatting
Kneeling and squatting can cause pain in the knees. This is because the knees have to work harder to support the body’s weight.
If you are kneeling or squatting often, it can take a toll on the knee joint.
Over time, this stress can cause the cartilage and other bones in the knee joint to wear down, which can cause pain.
Lack of flexibility
In some cases, the muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues in the knee joint can get too tight. These tissues are called tendons and ligaments.
Tendons are thick bands of tissue that connect muscle to bone. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect bone to bone.
When the muscles or tendons of the knee joint get too tight, this can cause pain when walking.
In rare cases, a minor injury can cause pain when walking.
For example, a minor injury to the knee can cause swelling, bruising, and redness. This is called a mild knee sprain.
Severe injuries may require surgery to repair the torn ligaments or cartilage.
In some cases, these injuries can heal on their own. However, they can also cause weakness and swelling in the knee joint.
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience:
- Sharp, stabbing, or shooting pain
- Severe swelling
- A knee that appears deformed
- Any numbness or tingling in the leg
How to prevent knee pain when walking?
Walking is one of the most common forms of exercise. It can also cause knee pain.
Here are some tips to help you prevent knee pain from walking:
- Warm up and stretch the muscles and tendons in the knee before you walk.
- If you are walking on a hard surface, try to walk on a softer surface. For example, you can try walking on a carpeted floor instead of a hardwood floor.
- Use a walking stick if you need to hold yourself up while walking.
- Make sure you rest your knee as much as possible during a long walk.
- Try to walk for short periods of time rather than long walks.
- Avoid walking on uneven or slippery surfaces.
- Avoid running in the same direction for long periods of time.
- Avoid activities that cause your knee to twist, such as ballet.
- Wear a knee brace if you need to support your knee while walking.
When to see a doctor?
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following:
- Pain that changes over time
- Signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or warmth
- Limited range of motion in your knee
- You are experiencing any symptoms that may be due to a serious medical condition, such as a blood clot or heart attack
- Any other symptoms that are not due to an injury
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call your doctor.
Depending on the cause of your knee pain when walking, the treatment for this condition may vary.
For example, if you have a knee sprain or a mild knee injury, your doctor may recommend:
- Resting the affected joint
- Using a knee brace
- Using a splint or cast to support the knee
The treatment for a tear or a severe injury in the knee should focus on reducing pain and swelling.
For example, your doctor may use:
- Immobilization (a cast or a knee brace)
- Corticosteroid injections
- Physical therapy
When to seek emergency medical care?
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following:
- Sharp, stabbing, or shooting bone pain
- Severe knee swelling
- Any numbness or tingling in the legs
- You experience any symptoms that may be due to a serious medical condition, such as a blood clot or heart attack
- You have any other symptoms that are not due to an injury
If you have these symptoms, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
If you have knee pain when walking, you can do several things to help reduce your pain.
- Stretching and strengthening the muscles in your legs, hips, and buttocks.
- Using a walking stick or cane to support your knee.
- Limiting your time on hard surfaces.
- Resting your knee as much as possible during long walks.
What is the long-term outlook?
Pain after a minor injury or strain can resolve over time. You may also have minor pain after a knee injury for several weeks.
However, if you have a more severe injury, surgery may be necessary.
In some cases, the symptoms that you experience after surgery may become worse than the symptoms you had before surgery.
Complications can also occur, depending on the cause of your knee pain when walking.
Knee pain when walking can be caused by a number of factors, such as injury, overuse, or lack of flexibility.
There are several tips that you can try to help prevent knee pain when walking.
Images by Freepik
Generated by AI