Why does knee pain happen, and how to get rid of it?

Knee pain is a very common occurrence in everyone's life. It could be due to many factors. As a rule, the main cause is due to its anatomical structure, the knee joint is quite vulnerable, subject to huge daily loads, especially in overweight people. A symptom may also appear during intense sports, during everyday household or occupational activities.

Causes of knee pain

knee pain

The knee joint is composed of many different elements, each carrying a specific functional load. Why does my knee hurt? The following factors can cause knee pain:

  • Psychological trauma;
  • injury;
  • dystrophy of any factor.

Knee pain is a symptom of many diseases of the knee joint. What causes knee pain? In order to accurately determine the cause in a particular case, diagnostic measures are required. Pain can result from trauma to several factors:

  • ligament apparatus;
  • tendon formation;
  • cartilage damage.

For various diseases of the knee, in addition to pain, specific manifestations will be characteristic, determined in laboratory, instrumental and others studies.


If the knee hurts after a long period of rest or carrying heavy loads, this is arthritis. This knee disease is detected in about 5-15% of patients who visit the doctor about pain in the joint area.

Reality! Arthritis is a common disease in all ages of the population, but young people are the most susceptible.

A characteristic sign of most arthritis is sharp pain in the knee, i. e. acute onset - within 1-2 days.

Arthritis is an inflammatory process, so acute pain in the knee joint is accompanied by the following signs:

  • edema;
  • swelling;
  • congestion;
  • severe pain that gets worse at night.

With osteoarthritis and damage to the meniscus, the pain manifests itself or increases with a motor load on the knee joint, i. e. , the pain is relieved if there is no load on the knee joint, unlikearthritis. With arthritis, the pain syndrome has a different cause and it will not be possible to eliminate it by reducing load and immobilizing the joint. Also, arthritis can affect multiple joints at once, with the exception of the knee.

dry joints

Another very common knee disease, accompanied by severe pain. The pathology occurs in 35-40% of people with knee pain, as a rule, this age is over 40 years old, both the left knee and the right knee are often affected at the same time. The intense pain may not appear immediately, but the sensation increases over time: for some people a week or two, for others - in a month. Unlike arthritis, the knee only hurts when you put a load on it:

  1. At first, a person feels pain after walking for a long time.
  2. Over time, even walking short distances brings a lot of discomfort.
  3. Later, the patient had difficulty going up and down stairs.
  4. It is very difficult to get up from a chair, i. e. without bending your knees with a load.
  5. The pain syndrome will go away if you rest and immobilize the joint.

Over time, without proper treatment, symptoms will get worse:

  • deformed joints;
  • crackling sound when walking or extending the knee.
  • pain increases.

The pathogenesis is due to structural destruction, degeneration of the cartilage cushion of the joint, leading to deformation of the joint capsule. Primary or age-related osteoarthritis occurs due to the natural wear and tear of cartilage, secondary - as a result of trauma or some other reason. Such causes can be septic arthritis, tumorous lesions of bone or cartilage tissue, so this disease can appear in people of different ages.


They are also common causes of joint pain.

For reference! Of the patients who seek help because they have pain in the knee joint, about 25-35% have a meniscus injury from a variety of causes.

This pathology is noted in people of all ages, different occupational activities and is equally common in men and women. The meniscus is injured during active movements:

  1. At the time of injury, a characteristic click is heard, after which there can be a sharp pain in the knee.
  2. Then a crackle or crackle in the knee.
  3. Then the pain is sharper, more intense.
  4. A person in this state is completely unable to move the knee joint.

The pain may subside after a while and the meningitis becomes chronic. But without proper treatment, edema develops, joint swelling and movements in the joint can be hindered, accompanied by severe pain and possibly leading to the development of joint disease. The risk group is:

  • people with gout or arthritis;
  • glycorrhea patient;
  • people with weak ligaments or overweight.

The disease is diagnosed by computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging and treated, depending on severity, conservatively or surgically.


Tendonitis is an inflammatory process in the tissues of muscle tendons, at the site of their attachment. This disease usually affects active children and adolescents, athletes:

  • biker;
  • basketball players;
  • air volleyball player;
  • athletes.

The disease exists in two forms:

  1. Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon sheath.
  2. Tendonitis is an injury to the tendon sheath.

The cause of this phenomenon can be not only an injury related to active movement, but also diseases such as:

  • Gout;
  • arthritis;
  • immunodeficiency states;
  • Infectious Diseases;
  • excessive physical activity;
  • imbalance in the force acting on the joint.

With tendinitis, paroxysmal knee pain, i. e. pain that increases with load on the tendon, in severe or later stages of the disease, can rupture the inflamed tendon. The disease is diagnosed in a variety of ways, which can sometimes be detected by laboratory methods, for example, when the cause is an infection.

But if the cause is gout or inflammatory processes in the joints, then radiological and magnetic resonance imaging methods can detect the disease.

plaster cast for knee pain

In the early stages of the development of the disease, conservative therapy will help, including immobilizing the joint with plaster and limiting motor activity. Various medications are prescribed:

  • means for tissue repair;
  • anti-inflammatory drugs;
  • antibiotics.

Physiotherapy procedures are also prescribed. In severe, necrotic cases, surgical excision of dead tissue and flexible tendon reconstruction is performed.

knee bursitis

This is a disease of the articular sac, which is characterized by an inflammatory process and the presence of exudate.

For reference! The cause of bursitis is excessive, constant stress on the joints.

If we talk about pathologies of an infectious nature, then the following factors can be the cause:

  • damage to the skin of the knee area;
  • open wound;
  • various septic conditions;
  • the presence of infection in the blood;
  • overweight;
  • increase the load on the joint.

In addition, the pathology is only a secondary, a complication of gout or knee arthritis. Like any inflammatory process, bursitis is accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • pain syndrome;
  • noticeable changes in the shape of the joint;
  • the presence of swelling in the knee area;
  • red;
  • severe difficulty in movement.

The severity and visibility of these manifestations will depend on the severity and localization of the process.

healthy and painful knee

Depending on the locality of the inflamed joint capsule, there are such types of pathology as:

  • star money;
  • supermarket;
  • skin bursitis.

This pathology, as a rule, is diagnosed and treated quite easily, except in the cases of elderly patients, which are chronic and difficult to treat.

Baker's cyst

Another pathological phenomenon of the knee joint, which entails a lot of pain and discomfort. The cyst is also called a popliteal hernia, it is a protrusion in the popliteal foramen. Normally, between the tendons, sternocleidomastoid and semimuscular muscles, on the posterior surface of the knee area there is an intervertebral pocket. As a result of the following factors, a pathological effusion is formed in the joint cavity, penetrating the intertendon pocket:

  • injury;
  • dystrophic changes;
  • inflammatory processes.

As a result, the pouch enlarges, becoming conspicuous, and this is called a Baker's cyst. In the early stages of development, it may be invisible, causing no obvious discomfort, i. e. it is asymptomatic. Later, due to the increased size, the knee joint suffered a lot of pain, because the cyst began to compress the nerves and blood vessels, and the joint's mobility was also reduced. Flexibility movements become difficult, and are accompanied by severe pain.

Anatomy of osteonecrosis

X-ray discriminating osteonecrosis in the knee joint

This disease is also a common cause of knee pain. Normally, the joint surfaces that make up the knee joint are lined with cartilage. This pathology is caused by a small area of the cartilage lining necrosis and sloughing off, resulting in the formation of a free-floating body in the joint cavity, which causes many problems.

It manifests itself with the following symptoms:

  • mild pain and discomfort;
  • when moving, the pain is more intense;
  • swelling may develop.

A detached piece of cartilage tissue, once located in the joint cavity, can interfere with movement that the patient complains of, and with movement you may hear a characteristic clicking or crunching sound. After skin peeling, a defect remains on the smooth joint surface, which contributes to joint damage and in the future leads to osteoarthritis or other pathologies.

Doctors consider frequent joint injuries to be the cause of the development of this disease, but sometimes there are patients who have not had previous trauma. Diagnosis is based on methods of computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and X-ray.


Gout or gouty arthritis of the knee joint occurs due to impaired metabolism, leading to the formation and excessive deposition of uric acid salts, known as urate. They accumulate both in the joint cavity itself and around cartilage and tendons, and cause inflammation.

When suffering from the disease, severe pain in the joints, the knee joint area turns red and swollen. If gout becomes chronic, then urate deposits cause obvious joint deformity, resulting in a violation of the inability to perform a normal range of motion.

This disease is diagnosed with the help of x-rays and blood tests for uric acid. It is difficult to treat, but at the initial stage of development, special diets and drug therapy are used.

The cause of knee pain can be many different diseases with completely different causes and pathogenesis. Therefore, only a specialist can answer with certainty the question of why the knee hurts after a diagnosis.

General principles of treatment

Everyone is wondering what to do if the knee joint hurts? Many people, when they have mild, uncomfortable pain, prefer to endure it, because they think it will go away on its own, which is not advisable. Knee pain is a manifestation of many different diseases, if there is no timely and adequate treatment of these diseases, it can lead to many serious consequences.

If the knee is painful, then treat it with therapy for the underlying cause of the pain. Based on the results of diagnostic studies, the doctor will prescribe appropriate therapy and decide how to treat the diseased joint. These can be the following methods:

  • special therapeutic and preventive exercises;
  • ointment;
  • compression.

In case of inflammation, anti-inflammatory agents are prescribed, and if there is a problem with cartilage tissue, various chondroprotectors or corticosteroids.

For reference! Lumbar puncture can be performed, both for diagnosis and for treatment, for example, in the case of Becker's cyst.

Sometimes, with advanced disease, the indicated surgical treatment is also varied. In most cases, they resort to arthroscopic surgery: to remove the joint body or to cut out the affected area of tissue. Alternatively, if other therapy is not effective, a knee arthroplasty is used, i. e. replacement of joint elements or the entire joint with an artificial implant. Thus, the answer to the question "what to do with knee pain" is to see a doctor immediately.