Five Common Causes of Knee Pain and How to Treat Them

woman having a knee pain

Knee pain is a common issue that can affect people of all ages. The knee is a complex joint of bone, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons, so there are many potential sources of knee pain. In some cases, knee pain may resolve independently with home treatment, but in other cases, it may require medical intervention. Keep reading to learn about the five common causes of knee pain and how to treat them.


Arthritis is a broad term used to describe inflammation in the joints. Many different types of arthritis can affect the knees, such as:

  • Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, causing knee pain. It is caused by the breakdown of cartilage and can cause swelling, stiffness, and soreness in the joint
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – This autoimmune disorder causes inflammation in the joints. Symptoms include swelling, warmth, redness, and tenderness around the affected joint.
  • Gout- Gout is arthritis caused by uric acid buildup in the joint. Symptoms include sudden, severe pain and swelling in the joint.
  • Childhood arthritis- This type of arthritis can affect children and cause joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.

Symptoms of arthritis in the knees include stiffness, swelling, and pain. Some effective treatment for arthritis often consists of a combination of medication (pain relievers, steroids, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs), physical therapy, weight loss (if necessary), and surgery (joint replacement).


Bursitis is a painful condition when the fluid-filled sacs, or bursae, that cushion the bones, tendons, and muscles become inflamed. The most common symptoms of bursitis are joint pain and stiffness, often made worse by movement or pressure. Bursitis can be caused by repetitive motions, trauma, or an underlying medical condition such as arthritis. Treatment for bursitis often includes rest, ice, and physical therapy. In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be necessary to relieve pain and inflammation. With proper treatment, bursitis usually heals within a few weeks. However, the condition can recur if the underlying cause is not addressed.


Tendonitis is a common cause of knee pain. It occurs when the tendons, the tissues that connect muscles to bones, become inflamed. Tendonitis can be caused by overuse, repetitive motion, or injury. Some of the symptoms of tendonitis include:

  • swelling
  • tenderness
  • pain when bending or extending the knee

Treatment for tendonitis typically involves rest, ice, and physical therapy. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the damaged tissue. If you believe you have tendonitis, you must see a doctor to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Left untreated, tendonitis can lead to chronic pain and disability.


woman in the gym with knee pain

Fracture is a medical term for a break in the bone. A fracture can cause severe knee pain, especially if the bone breaks through the skin. In some cases, surgery may be required to repair the fracture. A fracture can also cause damage to the cartilage, ligaments, and muscles around the knee. Treatment for knee fractures usually involves wearing a cast or splint to immobilize the joint and allow it to heal correctly. Surgery may also be necessary to realign the bones or to replace damaged cartilage. Recovery from a knee fracture can take several weeks or months. For some people, knee pain may continue long after the fracture has healed.


Dislocation is a severe injury that commonly occurs in the knee. It happens when the bones that make up the knee joint are forced out of alignment. This can be incredibly painful and make it difficult to move the knee. Dislocation can also damage the ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels around the knee joint. In some cases, it may even lead to nerves being pinched or severed. If you suspect you have dislocated your knee, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. Once the knee has been put back into place, you will likely need to rest it and keep it immobilized for a while to allow it to heal correctly.

When to see a doctor?

While knee pain can be caused by various issues, it is vital to seek medical advice if it persists or worsens. Prolonged knee pain could indicate an underlying condition that needs to be addressed. A healthcare professional will be able to diagnose and treat your disease and provide advice on how to manage your symptoms. Additionally, they may recommend lifestyle changes or treatments such as medication, physical therapy, weight loss (if necessary), and surgery (joint replacement). If you are concerned about your knee pain, you must speak with a healthcare provider. They will be able to provide an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan that is specific to your needs. You can reduce your pain and get back to an active and enjoyable lifestyle with the proper care. ​​​​​​

Final thoughts

Knee pain can have a severe impact on your quality of life, so it is vital to seek medical advice if you experience prolonged pain. Your doctor can diagnose the underlying cause and provide treatment options that can reduce pain and inflammation. With proper diagnosis and treatment, you can find relief from knee pain and regain your mobility.

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