I tried to understand why walking downstair hurts while walking upstair is good. All I found in the internet were website while keep saying the pointless fact "It's runner's knee" and didn't try hard to explain why except telling you may have a feet in bad shape.

I think the knowing of the kind of muscle/joint/ligament involved during walking upstair/downstair might help understanding the cause of the pain.

From my personal experience, I trained my quadriceps by squating and my pain goes away temporarily. If I let my quadriceps relax for 2-3 weeks and try to run, my pain comes back. So I think it must related to the muscle.

  • Could you explain a little bit more about where your pain is, and the quality of your pain? I'm pretty sure I can explain things, but I want to make sure I give you the correct details!
    – tmesser
    May 3, 2012 at 19:13
  • I think the pain is unrelated to the explanaton of muscle usage. Isn't it? May 5, 2012 at 17:10
  • 1
    @gunbuster363 Then, why did you include so much emphasis on the pain in your paragraphs. Is your question really just the title? You don't actually ask a question in the paragraphs, and all you talk about is the pain.
    – user3085
    May 7, 2012 at 18:56

1 Answer 1


The muscles involved in going down stairs are the same as when going up, but they are being used differently. The primary difference is that instead of your quadriceps pushing you up (a concentric contraction), your quad is resisting gravity as it lowers your body down (an eccentric contraction). The eccentric contraction is extremely powerful and if you have problems along the kinetic chain above and below the knee, this could cause you knee pain when going down stairs.

I've had some struggles with knee pain and found Mike Robertson's work on corrective exercise to be quite helpful. You can read some articles on his blog about the causes of knee pain here, and how to correct it here.

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