Walking downhill 5 strategies to deal with knee pain

W.We often hear about the many benefits of walking, from strengthening your heart and lungs to reducing stress and anxiety. The climbing walk has just gained a place in the spotlight, with the added benefit of strengthening the glutes and hamstrings and ramping up your heartbeat.

But what about going the other way?

“Walking downhill is a great way to improve muscle strength and stability,” said Jason Schuster, DPT, physical therapist and co-owner of Intricate Art Spine and Body Solutions. “Even if your muscles and joints are not ready to become accustomed to the increased strength and pressure, it can create obstacles.” Fortunately, this can be easily avoided if you are aware of how muscles, joints and nervous system work — and spend some time strengthening your lower body.

The mechanics of walking downhill

Walking downhill requires the muscles in the front of your thighs – the quadriceps – to concentrate, which means they work as the fibers lengthen. Consider a standard bicep curl with dumbbells: During condensed compression, you gain weight by bending your elbows and your biceps become smaller. You lower the weight and lower your elbows so that they are straight again, your biceps are strangely compressed because they are getting taller because they help you control the weight by not pulling the gravity dumbbell to the floor.

Dr. Schuster says that bizarre muscle contractions create more energy, which puts significantly more pressure and contraction on tissues like your muscles and joints.

“Wolf’s law says that tissues respond and adapt to the forces placed through them,” he shares. “So, by walking downhill, which increases the strength placed on the joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones, you are forcing them to react by rebuilding and strengthening.”

It activates most of the muscles in your lower body, including the pelvic floor, which is vital for supporting your pelvic organs and preventing incontinence. “The muscles and joints that people usually feel the most are the quads, glutes, hamstrings, lower back muscles, knee joints and lower back joints,” notes Dr. Schuster.

The benefits of walking downhill can also help reduce the risk of arthritis. “[By] By exerting increased pressure on the joints in a controlled manner, you stimulate increased ligamentous strength and increased synovial fluid production inside the joint capsule, ”he explained. “Producing synovial fluid well is like changing the oil in your car regularly.”

Why is there pain in the joint when walking downhill?

Although walking downhill is a great way to strengthen your puck skills, the extra forces induced by gravity can put pressure on your bones and joints, especially your knees.

“Since we are angled downwards, the lower part of the knee joint, the tibial plateau, tends to slide further towards the secondary towards the more angular gravitational ball,” said Dr. Schuster, who explained that it is the function of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) to advance the tibia to the femur. To stop. “If your ACL isn’t good enough, it crosses the knee joint with your muscles, and you walk long descents, it’s going to hurt. Walking down also increases the shearing force placed on the meniscus, the internal shock absorber of the knee, which can cause pain. “

Dr. Schuster adds that in addition to the knees, walking downhill can also be difficult in the lower back because it causes the lumbar spine to expand. It activates the multifidus muscle, the deepest and most important stable muscle of the spine. “Multifidus dysfunction is one of the leading causes of back pain, and pain occurs anywhere in the body,” he said.

So what can you do to get down and walk pain free?

1. Start slowly

To start walking downhill in your workout routine without stimulating your joints or muscles, you will want to slowly dip your toes in the water of the proverb.

“If you’re not in shape or accustomed to walking downhill, start with a flat walk, then go uphill and then downhill,” said Dr. Schuster. At that moment, start walking downhill slowly and limit the distance. Then, gradually increase the speed and duration to avoid tissue overload and damage.

2. Strengthen to stabilize

The stronger your muscles, the more energy or work pressure they can absorb, protecting your knee, hip, and lower back joints from impact: And in general, muscles are a great way to improve your condition for life. “

Some of Dr. Schuster’s favorites are squats (be aware of sitting back and knees behind the toes), supine hamstring curls with your feet on the exercise ball (keep your pelvis level and transverse abdomen tight), Superman, bird dog, single-leg deadlift, Clams and planks with a band around.

3. Stretch regularly

Do not neglect stretching. “Tight and small muscles are one of the worst things for joints,” says Dr. Schuster. “It increases joint contraction, reduces the range of motion, reduces synovial fluid production, reduces blood flow, produces hypoxic and unhealthy tissue, and ultimately leads to other weaknesses such as pain and arthritis.”

4. Look at the position of your body

It is important to pay attention to the correct form when walking downhill. “Keep your pelvic floor on the ground, keep your knees in front of your toes, and keep your abs active,” he said.

5. Mix it

While downhill walking brings many benefits, Dr. Schuster encourages walkers to enjoy all types of terrain to maximize fitness benefits and minimize injury with overuse. “Overall, walking with different planes, ups and downs, all the same walk, is the most dynamic and therapeutic way of walking,” he says.

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