Knee Pain Causes and Symptoms


Why does my knee hurt?” is a question too many of us now or will someday face. People of all ages experience knee problems, including sudden knee pain, and such problems can have a huge impact on day-to-day life. Our ability to do things such as walking, getting out of a chair, playing sports, dancing, kneeling and more can be affected when we have knee joint pain.


Getting to the bottom of our knee pain causes can help us seek treatment sooner. The sooner we get a knee pain diagnosis, the sooner we can start to reverse the damage or prevent additional damage from occurring — and start enjoying a better quality of life.


What causes knee pain?

There are many different knee pain causes, which is why it can sometimes be difficult to get a firm knee pain diagnosis. Our knees are made of cartilage, bone, fluid, and ligaments, and the knee functions with help from the tendons and muscles within our legs, which cause the joint to move. Knee problems can occur when any element of the knee, such as a ligament, or the surrounding tendons or muscles become diseased or injured.


Disease and injury are the leading causes of knee pain. Osteoarthritis is the most common disease in the knee and is a result of the knee cartilage gradually being worn away over time and leaving the knee unable to operate as it used to, resulting in swelling and pain.


Injuries to the knee commonly happen during sports, car accidents, or falls, but other conditions can also cause knee pain. For example, patellofemoral dysfunction is one of the main disorders affecting the knee and can be caused by patella alta, a condition in which the kneecap sits too high on the knee. Some patients are born with patella alta, but in other cases, patella alta can be caused by osteoarthritis.


What does arthritis in the knee feel like?

Arthritis is one of the leading knee pain causes that may be the answer to someone who asks “Why does my knee hurt?” — but its side effects go beyond knee joint pain. Here are some of the most common symptoms of arthritis:


  • Knee pain that increases over time, with activity, without activity, or with changes to the weather
  • Tenderness, swelling, or inflammation in the knee, especially after a stretch of time with little to no activity
  • Limited range of motion that makes formerly easy movements difficult
  • Grinding, popping, or cracking sounds that indicate a loss of cartilage in the knee
  • Locking and buckling that may come and go as a result of a weakened knee


Not all arthritis is the same; three different forms of arthritis can affect the knee. As mentioned above, osteoarthritis is the most common disease of the knee. It usually happens to people who are middle-aged or older. Other forms of knee arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease that can happen at any age, and post-traumatic arthritis, which can occur as a result of a knee injury. If you suspect you have arthritis, you should see a doctor to get a knee pain diagnosis and identify exactly what’s going on with your knees.


What causes knee pain at night?

Knee pain at night comes as a result of overusing the knee during the day, particularly if you have arthritis. Inflammation in the knee can cause sudden knee pain even if it’s been some time since physical activity has ceased. You can lessen the severity of your knee pain at night by being mindful of how you use your knee throughout the day and by making choices to reduce the level of impact your knee experiences. Exercising in the water or on a bike or elliptical can give your knees a break, as can avoiding the stairs. Losing weight is a long-term solution to help lessen knee pain, as your knee won’t have to work as hard to support your body when you’re up and about.


How do I know if my knee pain is serious?

Answering yes to any of the following questions may indicate you have a knee problem that needs medical attention:


  • Is your knee red or swollen?
  • Did your knee begin hurting following a fall, impact, or another injury?
  • Do you have knee pain, swelling, or tenderness during physical activity such as using the stairs?
  • Do you have knee pain, swelling, or tenderness when you’ve been sitting for an extended period of time?
  • Do you experience pain when you stretch your leg, such as a sharp pain behind your knee?
  • Does your knee joint seem to grind or lock, even without knee pain present?


Even if you didn’t answer yes to any of these questions, you may still have other knee pain or a knee condition that could benefit from treatment. People with knee pain often become used to it to the point where they don’t think it’s unusual, but the fact is, it’s not normal to have knee pain on a daily basis. If you find yourself asking, “Why does my knee hurt?” then you should put the question to a medical professional. Any knee discomfort is worth bringing up with your doctor, who will know what to ask and what to look for to discern if there is an underlying issue.


How can I make my knee pain go away?

There are several ways to treat knee pain caused by arthritis, injuries, or conditions such as patella alta. Medication can help lower the symptoms of knee pain, but it doesn’t address the underlying cause. Physical therapy can be used to gradually strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee to help it operate correctly. Surgery can help correct severe damage to the knee, such as a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament); unfortunately, surgery isn’t a surefire fix for knee issues, and knee surgery generally comes with a long and painful recovery period.


An emerging treatment for knee problems such as knee joint pain is stem cell therapy for knees. Stem cell therapy treatments involve collecting stem cells from a patient’s own fat stores, processing them, and injecting them back into the patient wherever they are needed. Stem cells have a unique capability to heal and regenerate tissues and cells within the body. The procedure can be completed within a day using only local anesthesia and has incredibly short recovery time. Many different knee conditions can be treated with stem cell therapy for knees, including but not limited to the following:


  • LCL tear (Lateral Collateral Ligament)
  • Ligament Sprain
  • MCL tear (Medial Collateral Ligament)
  • Meniscus Tear
  • Patella Tendonitis/Tendonosis
  • PCL tear (Posterior Cruciate Ligament)
  • ACL tear (Anterior Cruciate Ligament)
  • Pes Anserine Bursitis
  • Chronic Ligament Sprain
  • Chondromalacia Patella
  • Iliotibial Band Tendonitis (ITB Syndrome)
  • Post-Traumatic Knee Arthritis
  • Patellar Instability
  • Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease
  • Osteoarthritis of the Knee
  • Baker’s Cyst
  • Biceps Femoris Insertional Tendinopathy


NSI Stem Cell offers state-of-the-art stem cell therapy for knees at its Florida clinics. Contact us today for more information about our treatments for knee joint pain and to find out if you could be a candidate.

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* Disclaimer: Individual patient results may vary. As each patient’s problem is different, each treatment must be tailored around your specific needs.