Why knees ache: causes of pain when squatting, walking on the stairs

Pain in the knee joints is a common, albeit non-specific, symptom that occurs both in adulthood and childhood. It is not always easy to correctly determine its origin, especially in the absence of any additional symptoms. The main causes and diseases in which the knees hurt are described in this article.

Complete list of causes of pain in knee joints

Pain in the knees is always associated with various kinds of changes in the components that make up the knee joint. The source of pain impulses can become structures that have nerve endings with their composition, or located near the reflexogenic and pain zones of the knee. These include:

  • bone and periosteum( tibial and femoral);
  • patella;
  • intraarticular hyaline cartilage;
  • intraarticular cartilaginous structures - menisci;
  • articular capsule;
  • synovium;
  • knee ligaments( cruciform and co-lateral);
  • periarticular handbags and twists of the knee joint;
  • muscles and tendons attached to the knee joint.

A comprehensive answer to the question of why knees ache is presented in the table.

mechanism pathology preferential localization disease process and reasons for which the knees hurt
Reactive inflammation Articular cartilage Arthritis
synovium synovitis
periarticular bags Bursitis
Muscles and tendons
  • Tenosynovitis
  • Myositis
Traumatic femur and tibia, patella
  • Contusion
  • Subperiosteal hematoma
  • Intraarticular fracture
  • Edge fracture( osteoepiphiseolysis)
  • Dislocation
Articular cartilage capsule and synovium, ligament and meniscus
  • rips, tears, and detachment
  • Crushing injury and crushing
  • Articular mouse
  • instability of the knee joint
  • Posttraumatic arthritis
  • hemarthrosis
degenerative processes hyaline cartilage and intraarticular structure deforming osteoarthritis
Bones Fibrous and other types of dysplasia of the femur and tibia
Systemic diseases, metabolic disorders, autoimmune processes Intra-articular and periarticular formation
  • rheumatoid, arthritic, rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis
  • synovitis, bursitis, tendovaginitis with systemic lupus erythematosus
Infectious-purulent lesion Intra
  • structure purulent arthritis
  • Tuberculous arthritis
Bone Osteomyelitis
Physiological or secondary status Overvoltageosteo-articular formations of the knee area
  • Active growth
  • Obesity
  • Excess of physical exertion
  • Weakness of muscle and tendon bones on the background of hypodynamia
  • Pregnancy and the puerperium

It's important to remember! Any of the diseases in which the joints of the knees hurt, can occur in acute and chronic form. The stronger the pain syndrome, the more serious the problem. This can be either a testimony to an acute process, or signal the progression of a chronic one!

Pain in the knee
Deforming osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes of pain in the knee joints in the elderly

How to understand the cause of its occurrence

The most common criteria for determining the cause of pain in the knees are as follows:

  • connection with certain movements;
  • the effect of loads on the occurrence of pain;
  • availability at night and at rest;
  • localization;
  • severity of pain syndrome.

Pains under load

Some patients at a doctor's appointment focus on the fact that they have knees ached while squatting. This type of load is usually accompanied by pain, either almost at the end of the squat, or at the beginning of the ascent. The most common cause of this are chronic injuries of intra-articular structures( menisci and ligaments).In people of older age groups, such a complaint is mainly caused by deforming gonarthrosis. For this category of reasons, patients with knees ache during walking, especially fast, are suitable. Even more often the consequence of long-term injuries and arthrosis are unpleasant sensations in the knee joints when walking on the stairs, since this type of load is characterized by the combined features of sit-ups with ordinary walking.

Roentgenography of the knee
Roentgenography of the knee joint is the main method of diagnosing the causes of pain in the knees

Pains during movements

Active and passive movements in the knee joints can provoke or intensify pain in this area. If pain does not arise at rest or during most movements, this excludes their inflammatory nature. In the case when the knees hurt with the maximum flexion of the limbs in the joints with the localization of pain in the popliteal region, it is worth thinking about the presence of effusion in the joint cavity. It can have the form of a bloody fluid after trauma( hemarthrosis), an excess of transparent intraarticular fluid against the background of exacerbation of arthrosis-arthritis. If only one knee is hurting when bending, it is more like post-traumatic consequences.

Pain in the knee joints during extension can be the result of deforming osteoarthritis, bursitis, meniscus lesions and a patellar ligament. With bursitis such pains are not intensive, with the exception of a purulent form of the inflammatory process. Damage to the patellar ligament is accompanied by a difficulty of extension on the background of pain. Osteoarthritis and meniscus lesions, in addition to increasing pain in the knee during walking and in the process of extension, manifest a characteristic crunch. This joint can jam.

More information about pain in the knee area during exercise can be read here

It's important to remember! Complex assessment of the symptoms characteristic of knee lesions, as much as possible facilitates the diagnosis of the causative disease!

Night pains

Few diseases are accompanied by pain in the knee joints at night. As a rule, this is a serious pathology that affects intraarticular cartilage. In the classical version, this manifests itself in 3-4 stages of gonarthrosis, as well as pronounced acute arthritis of any origin. Differential diagnosis between these causative diseases must be carried out on the basis of other symptoms( arthritis raises body temperature and knees greatly swell).

Acute pain syndrome

Acute pain in the knee deserves great attention, as it signals serious problems. The sharpest pain occurs when the capsule and the synovial membrane of the knee joint are stretched. This is possible if there is a large amount of liquid in its cavity. Becoming the cause of its appearance is capable of an inflammatory process - arthritis. The onset of this disease can be associated with the transmitted infectious and systemic diseases of connective tissue. In the initial stage there is moderately severe pain. As the inflammation progresses, it becomes sharp, intense. If the process passes into the stage of suppuration, it manifests itself with a throbbing pain.

Pain localization

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On the localization of pain in the knee joint, it is possible to judge approximately the causes of its occurrence. Very often, patients complain of local pain along the inside of the knee, a little lower and to the inside of the kneecap. Such sensations mainly indicate a different kind of damage to the inner meniscus with a medial co-ligament. Similar pains outside and slightly below the patella on the outer surface of the knee indicate a rupture of the lateral meniscus attached to the same-named co-ligament. If they are felt directly inside the knee and are accompanied by instability of the joint, it is worth thinking about the damage to the cruciate ligaments.

Combination of pain with edema

For some diseases, patients complain about the fact that the knees are both swollen and aching. This combination of symptoms always indicates an acute process or marked exacerbation of the chronic. It can be arthritis of any origin, progression of gonarthrosis, acute post-traumatic period and long-term consequences of injuries of the lower limb. As a rule, the more swollen your knees, the more acute the pain and the more serious the disease. Local edema in the patella or any other area can speak of bursitis, tendonitis, Baker's cyst( when the edema is presented as a tumor in the popliteal region).

Compression for the knee joint
Treatment of pain in the knees should be differentiated and individualized.

. What knee pains in childhood say

. Parents often turn to orthopedists because of the child's complaints of pain in the knees. It is impossible to unequivocally assess what they came from. In most cases, the pain syndrome is caused by the simultaneous action of regular factors. First of all, this is an active growth, accompanied by a physiological weakness of the osteoarticular apparatus. Secondly, the impact of high loads, which are subject to the bones of a child in everyday life. Because of this discrepancy, the bones, ligaments and other knee structures are overloaded, which can cause swelling and pain in the knee joints.

But transient physiological changes are far from the only cause of knee pain in children and adolescents. Thus there are a number of diseases, for example, such:

  • congenital and acquired osteodysplasia, arthropathy, chondropathy;
  • tumors of the bones of the lower limbs;
  • various arthritis( juvenile rheumatoid, rheumatic, jet and others);
  • trauma and post-traumatic complications( fractures, ligament ruptures, etc.).

It's important to remember! Pain in the knees of children should be given sufficient attention. A harmless symptom can be the first manifestation of a serious illness. Therefore, the child should be monitored dynamically and, with the slightest deterioration in the condition, consult specialists!

How to deal with pain in the knees

The presence of a persistent pain syndrome with the localization in the knee joint is an indication for the obligatory consultation of a specialist and a thorough examination. The main medical measures that you can use yourself, and specialized care are described in this article.

Pain in the knees is an ambiguous symptom, from which the diagnosis of both regular physiological and pathological conditions begins. You can try to go through the whole diagnostic path yourself, risking your health. But it is better to find a reliable doctor who will help to overcome the existing problem.

Pain in the knee joint
  • Complete list of causes of pain
  • Determining the cause of pain characteristics
  • What is knee pain in children
  • How to deal with knee pain