Why Do My Knees Always Hurt? 3 Common Causes

Mar 09, 2023

Why Do My Knees Always Hurt? 3 Common Causes

Chronic knee pain is a common complaint, especially among former athletes and workers who spent a lot of time on their feet. Getting relief from the pain starts with getting the right diagnosis.

Whether you’re standing, walking, or just getting out of bed, your knees bear the brunt of your body weight with every step. Every pound of body weight is equivalent to three pounds of pressure on your knees, which can quickly add up to a heavy burden. If your knees are beginning to protest, the pain might be a sign of an underlying problem. 

At Advanced Orthopedics & Sports Medicine (AOSM), with locations in Union City and Dyersburg, Tennessee, Dr. Michael Calfee, Paxton Sisson PA-C, and the rest of our skilled team can find the source of your knee pain and start you on treatment to alleviate it.

The anatomy of the knee 

The knee joint contains some of the largest bones, muscles, and ligaments in the body, carefully composed to help you walk upright. 

Your femur (thigh bone), tibia (shinbone), and fibula are connected with tendons and stabilized by ligaments. The anterior and posterior ligaments prevent the bones from sliding forward and backward, while the medial and lateral ligaments hold everything steady. The patella (kneecap) slides along a groove in the femur, providing protection to the front of your knee.  

Within your knee, pieces of cartilage known as menisci act as shock absorbers, while fluid-filled sacs called bursae help the joint move smoothly. 

The size and complexity of the knee joint makes it remarkably sturdy but also leaves it vulnerable to injuries and wear-and-tear. 

3 common causes of knee pain 

25% of adults suffer from knee pain at some point during their lives, and the likelihood of experiencing knee pain increases with age. These three conditions are common causes of knee pain:

1. Arthritis

Aging means repetitive use starts to add up, and wear-and-tear on your joints gets progressively worse. As the cartilage disappears from around your knee joint, friction from bones rubbing against each other builds up. The deep ache from osteoarthritis is a common knee complaint, and it can be accompanied by grating or clicking in the knee.

2. Tendinitis

Tendons connect muscles to bones, and when you stretch or tear a tendon — even a microtear — your knee can become very unstable. If you have knee instability combined with pain, swelling, and stiffness that makes it hard for you to move the joint, you might have tendinitis.

3. Bursitis

Bursae cushion your joints, protecting your bones, tendons, and muscles. Inflamed bursae can cause knee pain plus tell-tale knee swelling and visible redness. If these symptoms fit, bursitis could be the culprit behind your knee pain.  

Are you living with chronic knee pain? We can help. To get in touch with our joint and pain experts, call the AOSM location closest to you, or book an appointment online.