Top 10 Causes of Knee Pain

Knee pain is actually a very common problem, but that doesn’t make it any less stressful when yours starts hurting. What’s happening in that joint to make it sore? Here are the ten common causes.

  1. Previous injury. If you had a knee injury in the past, or even just strained one of your knees, certain activities can more easily re-aggravate that same knee.
  2. Lack of strength and flexibility. As you lose strength in your hips and glutes, your knees take more of the strain and can become painful. Make sure to keep walking and exercising.
  3. Excess weight. Any amount of extra weight increases the stress on your knee joints, whether you’re carrying a pack on a hike or piggybacking your grandkids home from the park.
  4. Contrary to what it sounds like, this isn’t getting paid for your knee pain. When you have foot or hip pain, you may change the way you walk to avoid pain. But in doing so, you might be placing a lot of stress on your knees.
  5. Ligament Injuries. Your ACL, PCL, LCL, and MCL can get injured when too much stress causes them to stretch too far. This can happen whether you’re an athlete or not—just twisting your knee with your foot planted can be enough.
  6. Knee Bursitis. Inflammation in your bursae, which are the small sacs of fluid that cushion the outside of your knee joint, can cause knee pain. This can happen if you hit your knee hard against something.
  7. Patellar tendinitis. This is irritation and inflammation of your knee tendons. It can happen to anyone who does a lot of running, skiing, and cycling.
  8. Fracture. You might think it’s rather obvious if you’ve fractured your knee, but if your bones are weaker due to osteoporosis, stepping down in the wrong way can cause a knee fracture.
  9. Osteoarthritis. As you get older, the cartilage in your knee deteriorates and can cause osteoarthritis, which is very painful.
  10. Post-Traumatic Arthritis. Damaged cartilage from an old knee injury can, over time, lead to pain, swelling, and stiffness.

If you’ve injured your knee any of these ways, see a physiatrist who can help you with a treatment plan that will have you back to full function again.