Why Does My Knee Hurt? 5 Common Sources of Knee Pain

Most people experience knee pain at some point in their lives. While some may have only mild or sporadic symptoms, others may experience knee pain so severe that it interferes with daily activities or reduces quality of life. The degree of knee pain you’re experiencing usually depends on the complexity of the condition or injury.

Here are five possible conditions that are common sources of knee pain:

  1. Bursitis
    Inflamed bursae may cause knee pain in some people. Bursae are small pockets of fluid that lubricate the tendons of the hips, shoulders and knees in order for them to move freely along joints. Pain from bursitis builds up gradually or can be sudden and severe, especially if calcium deposits are present.
  2. Knee Ligament Injuries
    The ligaments are what connect your thigh bone to your lower leg bones; they hold your bones together and keep the knee stable. Knee ligament sprains and tears are very common sports injuries, and can occur to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL). These injuries cause significant pain, and they require medical attention and oftentimes surgery.
  3. Patellar Tendinitis
    If you have this condition, you have inflammation in the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone. Tendons are tough bands of tissue that connect muscles to your bones. When you overdo exercise, they can become inflamed and sore. You may also hear it called “jumper’s knee” because repetitive jumping is the most common cause.
  4. Osteoarthritis
    Osteoarthritis – commonly known as “wear and tear arthritis” – may affect men, women and children, with women over the age of 55 at the highest risk. The condition induces pain from the loss of cartilage, which causes the bones to rub together and produce intense discomfort. It may also form from joint malformations present at birth, injuries caused in active sports or work conditions that require repetitive movements. Those with osteoarthritis typically experience pain that increases when you’re active, but gets better with rest; stiffness in the knee, especially in the morning or after sitting for a while; and/or a creaking/crackly sound that is heard when the knee moves.
  5. Damaged Meniscus
    According to the Mayo Clinic, a torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries in adults. Any activity that causes you to twist or rotate your knee can lead to a torn meniscus. Menisci are thin layers of cartilage that act like a cushion between your shinbone and thigh bone. If too much stress is placed on the knees, the meniscus may tear, which can cause pain and interfere with the knees proper functioning. A torn meniscus causes pain, swelling and stiffness. You might also feel a block to knee motion and have trouble extending your knee fully. How your orthopedic surgeon treats your tear will depend on the type of tear you have, its size and its location.

An artificial meniscus may soon be available. If you are suffering from knee pain following meniscus surgery or are without viable treatment options, the NUsurface® Meniscus Implant may provide an alternative option, once approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. NUsurface is designed to mimic the function of the natural meniscus and redistribute loads transmitted across the knee joint. The implant is made from medical grade plastic and, as a result of its unique materials, composite structure and design, does not require fixation to bone or soft tissues. NUsurface has the potential to address the treatment gap of those suffering from meniscus deficiency and deterioration who are too old for meniscus repair and too young for total knee arthroplasty. U.S. clinical trials completed enrollment in June 2018, and the company is expecting to file for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration within the next two years.

CAUTION – Investigational device. Limited by United States law to investigational use.