Typical Hip and Knee Joint Loads During Exercise

Joint loads, or the forces to which your joints are subjected, contribute to wear and tear. Joint loads differ according to the type of activity you engage in, your technique when you do it and your body weight. This table shows peak joint loads as they relate to body weight for some common exercise activities. If you weigh 150 pounds, for example, and walk at three miles per hour (mph), you place 450 pounds of force on your knee joint (3 multiplied by 150) with every step.

Activity Hip joint load
(times body weight)
Knee joint load
(times body weight)
Walking (slow)
(fast)
2.4
2.5
2.5-2.8
2.8-3.2
Running
(7 mph)*
5-6 10
Downhill
skiing*
2.9-5.2
(depending on
steepness of slope)
10
(beginner-medium slope)
3.5 (skilled skier-medium slope)
Stair,(ascent)
(descent)
2.5
2.6
2.9-3.0
3.2-3.5
Stationary
bicycling
0.5-1.4 1.0-1.5
Elliptical
(level 1)
No
data available
2.3

* Peak joint loads are calculated indirectly through biomechanical models.

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