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Why Do I Have Knee Pain When Walking?

Suffering with annoying knee pain when walking, finding it harder and harder to do your weekly errands, and missing out on weekend strolls around the Lake Country area?

Knee pain is an extremely common problem for people as they age, and we understand how frustrating it can be. Walking, climbing stairs and even everyday household chores can bring knee pain – causing you to avoid things that need to be done or reduce your leisure activity level to avoid the pain.  

A lot of patients visit our clinic after seeing their doctor and being told to take painkillers and rest, or that it’s just something that they will have to live with as they age.

But what if you don’t want to rely on painkillers, and you don’t want to miss out on enjoying things when you finally get to spend quality time with your friends and family because of nagging knee pain?

That’s where we can help…

In this blog article we will cover:

  • Common causes of knee pain
  • Simple advice to ease knee pain
  • Quick and easy at-home exercise to help reduce knee pain
  • Natural, drug-free solutions to your knee pain

Common Causes of Knee Pain

The causes most people think of: Knee pain can be caused from an injury or accident (ligament, cartilage or muscle tears) Medical conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, gout and infections — also can cause knee pain. Overuse, repetitive movement and too much sitting can also cause pain in the knee and surrounding areas.

The causes that you’re likely missing: As physical therapists, we play detective and sort out what’s going on mechanically with your knee. As we restore normal joint mechanics, the pain usually goes away and we can walk, run & enjoy our activities as we please again! For example: 

  • Weak muscles of the quadriceps, hamstrings and hips often leave the knee joint unsupported and cause more irritation to the joint; restoring strength here is like adding ‘shock absorption’ to the knee
  • Tight muscles & fascia can often compress the joint and cause irritation and challenges with the knee joint being able to slide & glide like it needs to; releasing these tissues with specialty myofascial release often restores normal motion & helps things feel much better 
  • Poor alignment & movement at the foot/ankle and/or hip/pelvis will throw off the alignment of the knee and cause irritation here; resolving this helps the knee function as it should once more and often feel much better 

Fast Knee Pain Relief

There are some simple things you can do for fast knee pain relief that don’t involve reaching for the painkillers.

When you are suffering with knee pain from walking (could be from stair climbing, a small hike or even running to the store for groceries), the application of heat can be incredibly beneficial – Use a heat pack, or hot water bottle to the affected knee for 15-20 minutes should reduce stiffness, and will likely provide fast knee pain relief.

Dr. Megan offers some additional tips for knee pain while walking in the following video.  Her tips include:

Take breaks and avoid prolonged sitting.  

Remember pain in the knee area when walking will be made worse, and occur more often if you go through long periods of inactivity – so one of our most effective tips is to keep active (during the day, and throughout the week).

For example, try to avoid sitting for long periods of time each day and aim to move every hour if you find that knee pain and stiffness is a problem for you. Taking small breaks throughout a long day of sitting, will allow the knee to stretch out and the joint to stay lubricated which will result in less pain and stiffness.  

Wear the right kind shoes and watch the surface you walk on

Your shoes may be contributing to your knee pain. Running errands or short walks in flip flops or even high heels can take its toll on your knees. These types of shoes do not provide the needed support to your foot and in turn your leg, knee and hip. To combat this wear and tear, wear shoes with cushioning. Shoes with good cushioning can absorb the impact of your foot hitting the ground, preventing the shock from getting to your knees. Specialized inserts (like Orthotics) are perfect for offering more comfort and protecting your knees. Our clinic is proud to offer Foot Levelers custom orthotics. Unlike store bought orthotics, Foot Levelers orthotics are custom made to your foot. A detailed foot scan is conducted in our clinic and sent to Foot Levelers.  They then produce orthotic inserts made just for YOU!

Also the surface that you walk on frequently (especially for long walks) is important. Concrete and asphalt can cause added pressure on your joints from the consistent pounding of the harder surface. Grass, gravel or dirt trails or surfaces provide more cushion and are easier on your knees.

Warm up and ease into an increase in duration and distance. 

Dr. Megan advises to warm up before a walk or hike. Start slow and increase your pace. Your body needs time to adjust to an increase in any activity so slowly increase the time walking as well as the distance to give your body time to adjust. 

Finally, there are a number of exercises which can be very powerful at reducing knee pain, and minimizing the severity and frequency in future…

Quick And Easy At-Home Exercise If You Suffer With Knee Pain When Walking

In the above video, Dr. Megan demonstrated a quick and easy at-home exercise that you can do if you suffer with knee pain when walking.This exercise is very safe for people of all ages, and helps to stretch tight muscles, and loosen stiff joints which should reduce discomfort behind the knee.

  1. To start, sit on a chair
  2. By bending one knee, bring your heel under the chair as far as you can
  3. Hold the position for a few seconds (you may feel a stretch on the top of your leg)
  4. Gently straighten your knee while pointing your toe back toward you
  5. Hold the position for a few seconds
  6. Return to the starting position
  7. Repeat for 10 repetitions, and do the same for the other leg

If your condition or injury is relatively minor, then applying the advice of keeping active, and regularly exercising may be enough to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee, and avoid the knee becoming stiff and painful.

However, if your condition or injury is more severe and the discomfort is getting worse, you would likely benefit from some more specific exercises tailored to your individual needs in order to really get you feeling better. Physical Therapy is a proven method to help relieve knee pain and get you back to your active lifestyle. Our expert team has helped hundreds of people just like you get the knee pain relief they are craving. We have some great resources for you if your knee pain is not getting better and you are wanting long lasting natural solutions so you take your evening walks, climb stairs and play with the kids or grandkids without worrying about knee pain getting in the way.

More Natural, Drug-Free Solutions To Your Knee Pain

Dr. Sarah and Dr. Jereme Trunk, owners of Balance Within PT, have written a FREE downloadable report for anyone who is suffering with knee pain and wants to know…

“How to Ease Knee Pain even if Past Treatments have failed”.

We also offer a FREE knee pain troubleshooting session to look at your overall pain issues and address the root problem. Click here to request a FREE session today!

Free Discovery Consult – Balance Within Integrative Physical Therapy In Delafield, Wisconsin (

For more expert advice, read our other blogs and check out our YouTube channel, Instagram and Facebook pages.:

Read more about knee pain on our blog page

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Doctors Jereme and Sarah Trunk

Balance Within Integrative Physical Therapy

We Help People Looking For Physical Therapy In Delafield & Beyond Find LASTING Solutions to Aches & Pains NATURALLY… So They Can Get Back to the Active Lifestyle They Want
(...without unnecessary medications or surgeries)

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