Why Do My Knees Hurt? Common Causes of Knee Pain

As a mother, we do everything that our family requires. Many times we do not take care of our own bodies. We need to focus more time on ourselves in order to care for our family. Here is something to think about after our last meeting.

Do you ever find yourself wondering, “Why do my knees hurt?” Knee pain is a common issue, especially among athletes and adult who regularly use (or abuse) the knee joint. The knee joint may not be particularly complex, but there are a lot of factors that could be responsible for knee pain. The following sections offer information about a few conditions that are characterized by knee pain. These conditions are divided into the two primary categories of knee pain: that which occurs on a regular or semi-regular basis and that which occurs infrequently.

Why Do My Knees Hurt on a Regular Basis?

For some individuals, knee pain is a symptom that occurs at somewhat regular intervals. Chronic pain in the knees can be attributed to trauma, such as a severe sports injury, a car accident, or a bad fall. Although many of the tissues that make up the knee are self-healing, there are some tissues that simply cannot be rebuilt by the body or the body is unable to efficiently repair the damaged tissues due to constant use of and strain on the joint. The conditions listed below are common culprits behind long-term or chronic knee pain.

Osteoarthritis

knee painOsteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is also the one most likely to develop in the knees. This particular type of arthritis is nicknamed “wear and tear arthritis” because it often develops as a result of repetitive strain or as an age-related condition caused by many years of joint usage. Consider the knee joint: this is the area where the femur (thigh bone) the tibia (shin bone) meet. These joints are constantly tasked with supporting the weight of the upper body as well as absorbing the impacts caused by walking, running, jumping, etc. Over time, the tissues of these joints will begin to wear down as a result of constant and, at time, hard use. Osteoarthritis is directly related to cartilage, a tough, rubber-like substance designed to cushion the movement of bones in a joint. Cartilage makes it possible for bones to glide across one another without actually making contact. As one ages the cartilage in the knee joints will eventually thin which could cause the bones to rub against one another during movement. This will cause inflammation to set in, which is characterized by swelling, redness, tenderness, and stiffness. The symptoms of arthritis can be managed but unfortunately there is no known cure for this condition.

Worn or Torn Cartilage

Torn and worn cartilage can also occur without the onset of arthritis. Torn cartilage is very often seen in athletes who do a lot of pivoting movements, such as basketball and football. A cartilage tear can develop as the result of overextending or twisting the joint. In the knee, this cartilage is called meniscal cartilage, and a tear to this tissue will likely result in pain, swelling, and “locking” during knee movement. Meniscal cartilage can also be worn due to repetitive strain injuries or age. Individuals who participate in hobbies or whose job requirements rely heavily on knee-bending and/or heavy lifting are at a greater risk of experiencing knee pain due to worn cartilage.

Why Do My Knees Hurt Sporadically?

Knee pain that does not occur regularly is most likely due to an injury or repetitive stress. Unlike arthritis and worn knee cartilage, random/sporadic pain of the knees occurs unexpectedly or seems to gradually become more prominent after an improperly treated injury. The following sections explain a few conditions that could be the cause of irregular knee pain.

Bursitis

The word bursitis is defined as inflammation of the bursa. The bursa is a sac-like tissue that can be found in several locations surrounding the knee. The sac contains fluid which acts as a lubricating cushion for the tendons, ligaments, and bones of this joint. Without the bursa, these tissues would rub against one another and the friction would result in pain and limited range of movement. When the bursa becomes inflamed it swells up, which is often evident from the outside of the knee which may also appear larger than usual. The skin surrounding the bursa may feel warmer than the rest of the body, which is caused by excess blood flow to the localized area. One will likely experience pain when the knee is moved or pressed upon. Bursitis of the knee can be caused by a blow to the knee, bacterial infection, or excessive pressure from frequently kneeling. Some may think about it as an unexplained bruising, but you should definitely look more into it.

ACL Tear

An ACL tear is a common injury in the sports world, but it can happen to absolutely anyone of any age. The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is a major ligament that connects the femur to the tibia. Without this ligament, there would be nothing to attach the thigh to the lower part of the leg. There are a number of ways that one may tear this ligament, such as a fall, a twist, landing heavily or stiff-legged, or even over-stretching the knee. Individuals who participate in soccer, skiing, basketball, football, martial arts, and gymnastics are especially susceptible to developing this kind of injury. Unfortunately, many individuals who do sustain an ACL tear experience long-term discomfort due to disruption during the healing process or complications resulting as a side-effect of an ACL injury.

When dealing with a knee injury, it is very important to follow the advice of a medical professional. It is not uncommon for an old knee injury to “act up” due to interrupted or delayed recovery. The knee is a vital joint and it must be allowed a full recovery including compression, stabilization, and rest. If you often find yourself asking, “Why do my knees hurt?”, then it might be time to speak to a doctor about any potential injuries or conditions that may be causing your pain.

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