Having a hurting knee can be very debilitating and may affect your productivity at anything at all. If you find your knee hurting so bad, you may wonder the reason why and I guess you might have asked this question “why does my knee hurt when I bend it” a number of times.
You might not know it but we bend our knees many times throughout the day. The movement of the knees is required for daily tasks such as climbing stairs and sitting in a chair. Exercises like squats and lunges also require you to bend your knees.
These exercises can affect your knees. Prolonged bending of the knees can cause wear and tear which can take a toll on your knees. In addition, there are many ligaments, tendons, muscles, and bones in the area around the knee and if there is a problem with any of these, you can experience pain when you bend your knee.
There are many causes of knee pain. Some are minor; thus, these minor causes can be treated with home remedies. However, severe cases of knee pain can require medical treatment.
In this article, you will get to know why your knee hurts when you bend it, what causes it, the treatments options available, and how to prevent this in the first place. Stick around to the end of this article.
Causes of knee pain – why does your knee hurt when you bend it
There are several reasons why your knee hurts when you bend it. In order for you to appreciate the particular reason why you have your knee hurting when you bend it, let’s take the various reasons one after the other.
Here are some of the causes of knee pain:
Traumatic injuries are the most common causes of knee discomfort. The knee pain associated with traumatic injuries usually comes off almost immediately as the trauma occurs.
The knee may swell immediately after the accident, or even up to 24 hours later when pain and inflammation set in.
Sports, falls, work-related accidents and car accidents are all common causes of traumatic injuries. Injury methods include direct impact and twisting.
Any traumatic injury to the knee that is left unattended may result in the knee hurting when you bend it.
Another cause of knee pain is arthritis. Arthritis to the knee is a degenerative or inflammatory disorder that will worsen over time if not treated properly.
Arthritic joints are most painful and stiff right after waking up or being sedentary, and their intensity varies depending on whether you’re walking or doing daily tasks. Other factors such as body weight, weather, and others may also have an impact.
Hence, if your knee hurts when you bend it, especially in the mornings, then it will be advisable to see your doctor, to find out if it could be arthritis and get the right treatment when needed.
A bursa is a tiny sac under the skin above your joint that contains a little amount of fluid. When the joint moves, it helps to prevent friction.
The bursa on top of your kneecap might be irritated by overuse, falls, or frequent bending and kneeling. This causes discomfort and edema.
This is referred to as prepatellar bursitis by people in the medical field. “Preacher’s knee” is another name for it. Having bursitis could also be the reason why your knee hurts when you bend it.
This simply means that your kneecap has shifted out of place, resulting in knee pain and swelling. This is also known as “patellar dislocation”.
A dislocated kneecap can also cause you to experience pain anytime you try to bend your knee.
Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome.
The iliotibial (IT) band is a tough band of tissue that runs from the top of your hip to the outside of your knee.
It might become inflamed over time if you overdo certain activities involving your knee. The outside side of the knee becomes painful as a result of this. This is also common among runners when they run downhill.
You may therefore experience pain on bending the knee when you have IT syndrome.
Tear in the meniscus (Muscle tear)
A knee injury can cause the cartilage to rip. These rough edges can then get stuck in the joint, which causes pain and swelling. When people are active, they frequently have a sensation of “catching” in the joint.
A muscle tear around the knee can also result in pain when bending the knee.
This is a condition that mostly happens in your youthful ages. When you are young, your bones and other portions of your knee are still growing and changing in composition continuously. Osgood-Schlatter disease is therefore common amongst adolescents who expose their knees to high levels of stress.
It can result in a painful lump below the knee, where the kneecap tendon joins to the shin. This area is frequently irritated by overdoing exercise and inflammation at a spot on the bottom of your knee called the tibial tubercle.
Over time, the soreness may come and go. It is particularly common among adolescent boys and girls and may also cause your knee to hurt when you bend it.
This indicates that the tendon that joins the kneecap to the shinbone is inflamed. Tendons are strong tissue bands that connect muscles to bones.
They can become inflamed and uncomfortable if you overdo certain activities. Because repetitive leaping is the most prevalent cause, it’s also known as “jumper’s knee.”
Having patellar tendinitis can make your knee hurt when you bend it.
This is a type of arthritis known as “wear and tear.” It is a leading cause of knee discomfort in those over 50. When you’re active, this condition causes the knee joint to hurt or bulge. Osteoarthritis-affected joints can sometimes be stiff in the morning.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome
This ailment is frequently caused by muscle imbalance, tightness, and alignment issues in the legs. It causes knee pain and “buckling” which occurs when your knee can no longer support your weight.
It isn’t because of an injury. Women are more likely to experience it than men.
Symptoms of knee pain – other symptoms you may feel when your knee hurt
- Difficulty in moving your knee
- Knee buckling (also known as knee locking)
- Trouble putting weight on the knee
- Pain, mostly when you bend or straighten the knee (including when you go down stairs)
How to deal with knee pain – What to do when your knee hurts badly
Mild knee pain usually goes away on its own. You can also speed up the healing process by trying some home remedies some of which include:
- Avoid performing physical activities for a few days in order to rest your knee.
- You can also apply an ice pack on the affected area. The ice helps to curb the pain and swelling. Do it for 15 to 20 minutes every 3 to 4 hours. Keep doing it for 2 to 3 days or until the pain is gone.
- Compress your knee with your hand. Wrap the joint using an elastic bandage, straps, or sleeves. It will help to reduce edema and provide support.
- Using a pillow, elevate your knee. Place the pillow under your heel when you are sitting or lying down to reduce the swelling.
- Take anti-inflammatory medications. Pain and swelling can be relieved by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Follow the label’s instructions. Because some medications can have negative side effects, you should only use them as needed unless your doctor advises otherwise.
How to prevent knee pain
You can prevent knee pain in the first place by trying some of the tips listed below:
- If your knee hurts, you should stop exercising.
- If you want to increase the intensity of your workout, do it gradually.
- Before and after physical exertion, stretch your legs.
- Bursitis can be avoided by wearing knee pads, especially if you have to kneel frequently.
- Wear shoes that are comfortable and provide adequate support.
- Stretching and strengthening your thigh muscles on a regular basis will keep them strong.
- If you’re overweight, attempt to lose weight so that all of your joints, including your knees, are less stressed.
The takeaway from this article
Take it easy if your knee hurts when you bend your leg. It could be an indication that your legs need to be rested. Stretching and cold packs are also effective at relieving pain at home.
If the pain is severe or chronic, see a doctor. A doctor can help you figure out which of the causes stated in this article is causing your knee to hurt when you bend it and get relief from it.
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