A knee that’s swollen, stiff or sore. A grinding or crunching sensation. Knees that weaken or buckle when you walk.
No matter what kind of knee pain symptoms you’re experiencing, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans are living with conditions and injuries that can cause knee pain.
Learning how to care for your pain is important, and probably the reason you’re visiting this website. After all, living with knee pain can:
- Make you avoid doing the things you love.
- Reduce the quality of your sleep.
- Negatively affect your mood, energy levels, and even relationships with others.
Fortunately, there are many treatment options available. How you and your healthcare team decide to manage your condition often depends on what’s causing your pain.
Common causes of knee pain
Arthritis is a common cause of chronic knee pain. There are several types of arthritis. Depending on which is causing your pain, you may find relief from over-the-counter or prescription medications, physical therapy, or surgery, such as total knee replacement.
There are several types of injuries that can cause knee pain. Acute injuries occur during a direct blow to the knee or a sudden movement that pushes the knee beyond its normal range of motion. Muscle strains, meniscus tears, and ACL injuries are all examples of acute injuries. Some options for relieving knee pain caused by these injuries include ice, rest, over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications, rehabilitation exercises, and in some cases surgery.
An overuse injury may be to blame when your pain comes on gradually and is unrelated to a specific event. The most common types of overuse injuries include patellofemoral pain syndrome (pain in the front of the knee), bursitis, and patellar tendonitis. Strengthening exercises, medication, and sometimes surgery may be recommended to help relieve pain.
General wear and tear
A lifetime of normal wear and tear on your joints can cause knee problems and pain. Some people may also walk awkwardly, which can throw off the alignment of the knee, leading to chronic pain and joint damage. When medications are no longer effective, or your pain is severe, your doctor may recommend surgery to repair the joint.