Stair Climbing and Osteoarthritis


My wife is 41, moderately active and the ortho told her she’s got arthritis in both knees. One is worse as she recently injured it. Besides PT and drugs, would reducing stair climbing help? We live in a 2 story house and she’s a homemaker, so she’s up & down the stairs at least 10x per day. Would moving to a one story house help: A) relieve her knee pain, B) delay the progression of arthitis, C) delay more aggressive treatments (i.e. eventual knee replacement she might need – her dad had double TKR at age 60)?? We want to keep maximum mobility during middle age. Thanks.


You ask an interesting question.  We know from research that increased activity is actually good for osteoarthrtis of the knee.  We encourage those with OA of the knee to begin a low impcat exercise routine, such as walking, for at least 30 minutes a day, 5-7 days a week.  Another important factor is that people with OA of the knees should maintain a healthy wieght.  The more overwieght a person is, the more stress put on the knees.  If the stairs in your house are a source of apin, or if your wife feels unsafe on the stairs, please factor that into your decision.  The stairs may hurt but will not harm the knee joint.   A refferal to physical therapy for quad strenthening and gait training may be helpful.  

Victoria Ruffing, RN

About Victoria Ruffing, RN

Ms. Ruffing has been a member of the Arthritis Center since 2000, currently serving as the Nurse Manager. She is a critical member of our patient care team.