What Are The Most Common Causes Of Knee Pain?

Our knees are an excellent piece of engineering.

Your knee joint is where the tibia (shin bone) and patella meet and are held together by four major ligaments.

Those knee ligaments are the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments and the medial and lateral collateral ligaments.  

It’s also made up of tendons like the patellar tendon that connects the bottom of the kneecap (patella) to the top of the shinbone.

Joint function in your knee is made possible by major cartilage formations and fluid-filled sacs called bursae.  

Your knee joint allows you to walk, run, sit and stand for hopefully your entire life.

However, since our knees are put under constant stress, they can easily wear out or be injured and cause knee pain.

There are several common types and causes of knee pain, but is there one thing that causes knee pain more often than anything else?

Not really, It all depends on the person.

Knee pain is often caused by normal wear and tear, repetitive use, aging, and injury.

The common types of knee pain can also be aggravated by activity, obesity, malalignment, or muscle conditions.

They can also be triggered by hip or foot problems.

In the article below, we will discuss the most common causes of pain, and what knee pain treatment is available.

6 Common Causes of Knee Pain

common causes of knee pain
common causes of knee pain


Rheumatoid arthritis is a degenerative disease that can affect the knee.

Osteoarthritis is another type of arthritis that affects your knee and causes the breakdown of the protective cartilage within your joint.

Both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can cause pain in the knee by allowing the bones to rub together, creating friction.

Over time, the knee joint can break down so much that it causes a deformity.

Knee Bursitis

Another cause of common knee pain is knee bursitis.

Knee bursitis is an injury that inflames the bursae.

Your bursae are the small, liquid-filled sacs that cushion the outside of your knee joint and make it possible for tendons and ligaments to glide easily over the joints.

A traumatic injury to the front of your knee can easily injure the bursae.

Damage can also occur if you spend a lot of time on your knees without protection.

Bursitis can lead to swelling, warmth, pain, and stiffness in your knee.

Many people can ease the pain and other symptoms of bursitis with therapy and oral medications like NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

Therapies often include rest, ice packs, the elevation of the limb, splinting, and exercise therapy.

Sometimes bursitis will require steroid injections.

You typically won’t require surgery to make a full recovery, and you can regain full function with proper management and treatment.

Torn Cartilage

Trauma to your knee can tear your menisci.

Your menisci are pads of connective tissue that act as shock absorbers and also enhance stability.

This layer of cartilage can tear, often occurring with sprains.

Treatment for this common knee injury may involve wearing a brace during strenuous and even everyday activities to prevent further injury.

Surgical intervention may be necessary for severe tears.

common causes of knee pain

Torn Ligaments

Knee injuries can also tear your ligaments.

The four ligaments that bind the bones converging in the knee joint are especially susceptible to injury.

The most common of these injuries is an anterior cruciate ligament tear which often happens in sports, like during a football tackle or a sudden twist.

These tears always require immediate medical treatment.

A torn ACL will cause instability in your knee and a limited range of motion.

Depending on the severity of the ACL tear, you may require physical therapy or surgical reconstruction.


Tendinitis is persistent inflammation in the tendons of your knee.

Tendinitis can occur in anyone, but athletes at all levels are more likely to develop tendonitis.

Certain sports are known tendonitis triggers, and the resulting inflammation is often referred to by its cause.

That’s where the terms tennis elbow and jumper’s knee come from.


A fall or any other type of traumatic accident can cause fractures in the bones of the knee.

Knee fractures can cause severe pain, and refusing treatment will make the pain worse.

Your knee contains several bones that can fracture, including your kneecap.

People with osteoarthritis or other degenerative disorders that can weaken bones are more likely to fracture their knees.

Serious fractures require surgery, but some people can get away with just physical therapy.

common causes of knee pain

Factors That Contribute To Knee Pain

Several common injuries and illnesses can lead to knee pain, but certain factors can raise your risk of developing knee pain.

  • Weight— Being overweight or obese is bad for your knees and is a major risk factor for knee pain. The recent surge in knee problems is almost certainly related to excess weight and the obesity epidemic in America. Higher body weight raises the risk of a severe knee injury and contributes to longer hospital stays and more costly treatment.
  • Age— Age is another risk factor for knee pain. The older you are, the more likely you are to need a knee replacement. This is because a joint that sustains your weight every day over your lifetime is going to experience a good deal of wear and tear. In addition, knee pain occurs more often after age 50 because we tend to be less active as we age and our muscle strength declines.
  • Overexertion— Exercise, in general, is good for your knees and your overall health, but sometimes you can overdo it. For example, joggers often complain of knee pain, especially around the kneecap, but any form of exercise in which the knee is used may produce pain symptoms. Proper form is key, with your hips, knees, and ankles in alignment to prevent nee pain. You should also build up core strength to minimize the risk of injury, and if you feel pain during an exercise, stop.

When Should You See A Doctor For Your Knee Pain?

When your overall quality of life is affected by knee pain, it’s time to consider an evaluation and medical advice from a health care professional. 

Your knee pain will be diagnosed with a review of your medical history, a comprehensive physical exam, and imaging services like x-rays. 

If you’d like to break free from your knee pain and avoid endless cortisone shots, dangerous medications, joint replacement, and invasive surgeries, Ethos Health is for you.

Our number one priority is to help our patients get back to doing what they love most and enjoy the life they’ve worked so hard to achieve. 

At Ethos Health Group, we have developed a proprietary HyalRegen-CT method for those suffering from knee arthritis and pain. 

Lubricating injections are performed under precision imaging guidance to target precisely the right area.

This adds cushioning fluid back into the knee, like oil for a squeaky hinge. 

These FDA-cleared injections can also help your knees stimulate more of their own natural fluid, giving you long-term benefits and relief. 

If you’re ready to find out what Ethos Health Group can do for you and your knee pain, click the button below to schedule your Free Consultation.

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