Why Do I Get Knee Pain When I Walk? How To Get Rid Of Knee Pain Fast

Have you ever wondered, "Why do I gent knee pain when I walk?"

Want to know how to get rid of knee pain fast?

Watch the video below to learn a simple way to eliminate or substantially reduce your knee pain today. Plus, learn some long-term strategies to keep your knee pain from coming back in the future.

Knee Pain Guide by Knee Pain Specialist Dr. Dave Candy. More 4 Life, St. Louis, Manchester, Ballwin, Chesterfield, Des Peres, Ellisville, MO Learn to relieve: knee pain when going up and down stairs, knee pain when sitting, knee pain when walking, and more!

Why Do I Get Knee Pain When I Walk?

There are all kinds of different structures that can cause knee pain when you walk.

Knee Pain Location Chart

To learn more about the structures that may cause knee pain, check out these posts:

If you're still concerned about your knee pain when walking and want to know how to get rid of knee pain fast, then keep reading.

The more important question isn't WHAT structures hurt but WHY did they start to hurt in the first place?

While there are all different kinds of structures that might hurt when you walk, the good news is that there are fewer reasons why those structures started to hurt.

Here's Why You Might Get Knee Pain When You Walk

Whether it's a muscle problem, a tendon problem, or a joint problem, there are largely two different walking issues that cause all of those different structures to hurt in the first place:

  • Front-to-back plane problems (sagittal plane)
  • Side-to-side (frontal) and rotational (transverse) plane problems.

Why Your Knee Hurts When Walking: Sagittal Plane Problems

The problem with the front-to-back plane usually has to do with either your knee straightening too much or your knee not straightening enough.

That second one is by far the more common problem.

This occurs when you don't get full knee extension or your knee doesn't get fully locked out when walking. This may be due to limited mobility or knee pain when straightening your leg.

Whatever the cause, if you have incomplete knee extension you walk, you need to constantly use your quadriceps or your front thigh muscles to hold you up when walking.

Your knee might even feel a little bit unstable like it could buckle or give out on you.

With prolonged walking, your quadriceps muscles get tired, which makes the knee feel less stable and more unsteady.

So if you're getting that feeling of giving way like your knee might give out or the knee feels stiff in back of the knee, it's usually problem a front-to-back plane.

Why Your Knee Hurts When Walking: Frontal and Transverse Plane Problems

Frontal and transverse plane problems are the most common cause of walking knee pain, especially pain on the inside or outside of the knee.

Pain on the inside or outside part of the knee is usually caused by the inward knee motion when walking.

That can happen because of weakness in your foot and ankle muscles, stiffness in your ankle joint or in your calf muscles, or weakness in your gluteal muscles, and most commonly, a combination of several of those.

So, how do you fix those walking problems so that you can get rid of your knee pain  fast?

Ankle joint or calf stiffness can also prevent your body weight from going over the top of your foot when walking.

Foot pronation or flattening of the foot occurs as the body tries to compensate for the ankle stiffness.

When the arch collapses, the knee goes inwards and can cause problems on the inner or outer portions of the knee.

overpronation can cause knee pain when you walk

The quickest and easiest solution is just to take smaller steps.

When taking larger steps, you need a lot of mobility out of your ankle joint and your calf.

Smaller steps don't require quite as much mobility as larger steps.

Therefore, taking shorter steps can help you get rid of knee pain fast.

However, it's only a short-term solution

In order to get long-term relief from knee pain and be able to take normal size steps when you walk, you need to implement other strategies.

Exercises To Help You Walk Without Knee Pain

In order to improve your knee pain over the long term, addressing the ankle/calf stiffness and the gluteal/foot weakness is very important.

Here are two simple exercises to help you improve the mobility in your ankle as well as the strength in your hip and foot.

Walking Exercise 1

For the ankle and the calf mobility problem, a simple calf stretch is a great way to address the problem.

However, many people perform the calf stretch incorrectly.

When performing the calf stretch, people allow their foot to flatten and the knee to rotate inwards.

calf stretch wrong side view calf stretch wrong

This is the same as allowing your foot to overpronate when you're walking.

As a result, if you're incorrectly stretching your calf with your arch collapsed, the same thing probably happens when you walk.

After all, you perform like you practice.

In order to stretch your calf without compensation, you want to make sure that your knee is aligned over top of your foot.

It helps to put your weight a little more on the outer side of the foot, while keeping your heel flat on the ground.

calf stretch to get rid of knee pain when you walk

Then stretch the calf only until you feel a very gentle stretch in the back of your calf.

Maintain the stretch for 1-2 minutes.

Walking Exercise 2

Strengthening the hip and foot muscles are important in decreasing knee pain when walking.

You need to be able to stand on one leg while taking a step with the other foot without your stance foot overpronating or knee collapsing inwards.

As a result, you can practice standing on one leg while maintaining proper alignment of your hip, thigh, knee, ankle, and foot.

single leg balance can help you get rid of knee pain when you walk

While doing the exercise, stand close to something stable, like a kitchen counter top, to help you with your balance and for safety.

During the exercise, you will need to keep your pelvis level.

Additionally, keep your knee aligned over your toes with your arch lifted.

strengthening exercise for ankle #2 - arch lift

Placing your weight on the outside part of your foot helps you to accomplish this.

Maintain this position while standing on one leg.

It's better to hold on to the stable surface while maintaining your knee in the correct alignment than to wobble all over the place just to maintain your balance without holding on.


So those are the tips to prevent knee pain when you walk.

As a review, taking shorter steps helps you get rid of knee pain fast when you're walking. That decreases the need for calf flexibility and ankle flexibility. It also can help you compensate if you have some weakness in your hip or foot muscles since you don't spend as much time on one leg

For the long-term strategies, you want to stretch out your calf muscles, while strengthening your hip and foot muscles by doing a single leg balance exercise.

Just One Exercise To Stop Knee Pain When You Walk?

Realistically, you can combine both of those exercises into a single unique exercise to help you walk without knee pain.

One Unique Exercise For Walking Balance, Flexibility, and Strength

However, every person is different and to get rid of knee pain fast, it's a good idea to get one-on-one help from an expert understands the biomechanics of walking.

Need More Help To Get Rid Of Knee Pain?

If you live in the St. Louis area and would like help to get rid of your knee pain faster, tap the button below to request an appointment with one of our specialist physical therapists.

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