Now a days, doctors suggest to do brisk walk atleast 30 minutes daily, but I have seen few older people who undergone knee surgeries which I think is because of walking more than others.

If it is not because of walking, how a person who did not walk daily will get the knee damage ( no strain on knees means no damage to knees right), so I think that is because of walking daily.

If knee damage is because of heavy weight, walking causes them to lose weight, which will again will not cause knee damage (as they reduced weight).

There may be other reasons for knee damage, but I am talking in perspective of walking.

Could you please clarify does walking cause knee damage.

  • 1
    I think it does. I was morbidly obese and have since lost some weight to become "overweight" and most of it was by walking. And apparently since my weight was too high for my knee joints to bear, I have sustained considerable knee damage and it is already difficult for me to even bend my knees nowadays. They're super painful when I try to climb stairs, etc. Dec 4, 2018 at 8:57
  • My experience is that walking is beneficial in strengthening the "stuff" in the knees ; I have not had a weight problem. I usually walk 1 km a day with 2 kg ankle weights. Dec 13, 2019 at 20:34
  • Walking is a mild exercise for the knees freeing up blood vessel injuries in the kness. Running, on the other hand, could possible cause injury to nutrition starved knees. Dec 22, 2019 at 5:09

2 Answers 2


The term "knee damage" can encompass many different conditions and injuries so let's just examine at some of the more common ones you might be looking at:


Osteoarthritis of the knee is when the cartilage in the joint has become thin or worn and the body is unable to "keep up" with repairs. Walking generally isn't going to cause this unless you are severely overweight or you're walking in unsuitable footwear etc. Quite the reverse - after a period of rest to allow for some recuperation from a flare up walking is recommended as it is a low impact way of building strength in the knee and is good for losing weight etc. Running on the other hand is significantly higher impact (walking means you experience ground reaction forces of ~ 1.2xBody weight, for running it's ~2.5xBody weight) and can aggravate the damage and you're also much more likely to experience various types of musculoskeletal injuries. Although offsetting that increased risk of injury is the potential for increased cardiovascular fitness from running vs walking.

This is much more common in older people as the body's ability to repair itself decreases with age.


Patellla tendonitis is an overuse injury where the patella tendon (which connects to the bottom of the knee cap) becomes inflamed or otherwise damaged such as a loss of collagen in the tendon. Similarly to osteoarthritis walking is rarely a cause of this - typically it requires much higher levels of impact than walking alone can produce unless severely overweight or excessive amounts of stair climbing.

This can also happen in older people where it is the result of repetitive small amounts of damage over an extended period of time - and just like in osteoarthritis as the body's ability to heal falls away the rate of injury can exceed the rate of repair leading to chronic problems.

Avoiding activities that cause pain and keeping up with low impact exercises to improve strength is recommended.


Basically if you take a sensible approach - walking on reasonably flat surfaces, keep weight low, use appropriate footwear, and apply a modicum of moderation walking generally doesn't do damage to knees unless something has compromised the body's ability to "repair" itself to a significant extent. The benefits however are many and can actually help prevent damage by improving both the strength of the joint and overall health and fitness. So that 30 mins brisk walking a day is doing you far more good than harm.


1) Walking can actually help, even in people who already have osteoarthritis.

Daily walking and the risk of incident functional limitation in knee OA: An observational study (Arthritis Care Research, 2014):

Walking over 7 days was objectively measured as steps/day within a cohort of people with or at risk of knee OA from the Multicenter Osteoarthritis Study.

Among 1788 participants (mean age 67, mean BMI 31 kg/m2, female 60%), each additional 1000 steps/day was associated with a 16% and 18% reduction in incident functional limitation by performance-based and self-report measures, respectively.

More walking was associated with less risk of functional limitation over two years. Walking ≥ 6000 steps/day provides a preliminary estimate of the level of walking activity to protect against developing functional limitation in people with or at risk of knee OA.

2) Risk factors for osteoarthritis

Current evidence on risk factors for knee osteoarthritis in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis (Ostearthritis and Cartilage, 2015):

  • Being overweight
  • A job that requires a lot of knee bending, kneeling, squatting or lifting
  • Walking disability
  • Previous knee injury
  • Female sex
  • Increased age
  • Repeated intense physical activity, for example, running >20 miles/week

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