How Much Should I Walk With Knee Pain?

Article by Shane Armfield

How Much Should I Walk With Knee Pain?

This question depends on how you managed to get knee pain. If you have had a recent significant injury, you should limit how much walking you do until assessed. This is especially true if you are experiencing substantial swelling, any feelings of instability, or getting any painful clicking or locking of the knee.

If your pain is more chronic or intermittent, walking may be precisely the type of exercise you need. We will all avoid what is uncomfortable or painful, but if we avoid using the muscles and joints in our legs, including the knee, we will just decondition. As we lose muscle strength, the pain we have been experiencing may continue or become more apparent with less provocation.

This should be fine if you can walk comfortably and the pain does not worsen as you walk. You may need to limit the distance you walk, the speed you walk, avoid hills and uneven ground. It is also a good idea to walk a loop as it may reduce the distance you have to walk to get back home.

You need to monitor for swelling or increased pain after walking. If you get noticeable, increased swelling, you have overdone it, similarly, with increased pain. If you get increased knee pain into the evening or the next day, you have overdone it again.

Reducing the weight you are carrying is also something to consider, so don’t carry bags or groceries when walking. If you are walking for exercise and want to reduce the weight through your knee, you can walk in a pool to reduce your body weight.

As you improve, you can increase your distance and start to incorporate hills and uneven ground. Most rehabilitation programmes for knee pain/injury will include walking at some stage.

If you have any queries regarding walking for your knee problem, speak to your physiotherapist, who will be able to assess the level of walking exercise you can conduct. They will also be able to progress you through a staged programme to your desired activity level.

So please don’t delay in seeing your knee physiotherapist for their opinion on your knee pain.

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