There May Be Other Reasons Your Knee Hurts At Night However
While osteoarthritis may be the likely culprit for your nightly knee pain, there could be something else behind this time-specific ailment, too. Jasmine Marcus, DPT, a physical therapist and certified strength and conditioning specialist, says it could also be patellar tendonitis, a condition caused by inflammation of your knee’s tendon.
The truth is, you’re also more likely to notice knee pain at night for two reasons. According to Marcus, some knee-related conditions, like osteoarthritis or patellar tendonitis, tend to “hurt more when you’re at rest than when you’re moving.” Plus, “when you finally slow down and are less busy, you notice things in your body more,” she explains.
“If left untreated, certain conditions might worsen,” Marcus warns, which is why you should always talk to your doctor if you have a recurring knee pain. And for more on the aches to pay attention to, take a look at the 25 Common Pains You Should Never Ignore.
A Womans Aching Knees
The knee is formed by the femur , the tibia and the patella . It is essentially a hinge joint that is held in place by the medial collateral , lateral collateral , anterior cruciate and posterior cruciate ligaments .
Most of us have heard that women athletes are more prone to suffering from a traumatic knee injury. But what most people dont know is that you dont have to be a weekend warrior to end up with a serious knee problem. Each year, roughly 10 million women see their doctors for knee pain, often caused by activities that are not related to sports, such as lifting boxes, going up a flight of stairs or squatting too much while gardening.
Why are women winding up with more knee injuries? Researchers suspect one of the most likely causes is the way women are built. Women tend to have wider hips and are slightly knock-kneed and this alignment can create added stress on the joints. Another cause could be traced to a womans muscles. More often, women tend to use their leg muscles differently than men.
Here are some common knee problems women encounter and tips from UCSF orthopedic surgeons and knee specialists on how to prevent them:
/6here Is The Reason Why Your Knees Hurt At Night
Muscle tightness and joint pain bother most people at night. For some, it is a sporadic event, which happens after a long and chaotic day, while for others it is an everyday affair. Considering it a normal event, most of the time people take over-the-counter pain relievers and go back to sleep. But at times these aches and pain are a result of a larger issue that warrants further attention. If knee pain is something that disturbs your sleep every night then we suggest you visit your doctor as it is not something that you can afford to ignore.
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Why Your Knees Hurt While You Are In Bed
It is common to experience joint pain at night, especially knee pain. Typically if you are experiencing knee pain at night, it can result from your bed creating pressure points, poor sleeping alignment, and the wrong sleeping position.
Normal joint pain, especially in the hips, knees, and shoulders, frequently worsens at night. Your sleep position, spinal alignment, and mattress quality are responsible for most of the pain, but in many cases, the fact that you are not moving throughout the night allows pressure to build up.
While not a cure for arthritis, if you want to avoid knee pain at night, you should get a good quality mattress and sleep with proper alignment. A good mattress will reduce pressure points which helps you avoid pressure points and helps ensure that you dont get knee pain in the first place. The best two mattress types for pressure relief are memory foam and natural latex, which both contour to the bodys pressure.
However, due to the off-gassing of VOCs such as formaldehyde, which is possible in some petroleum-based foam, including memory foam, I always recommend natural latex mattresses. Also, natural latex is resilient, which means as force is applied, the foam pushes back, giving great support. When your mattress is resilient, spinal alignment is promoted, which is essential in reducing joint pain at night.
Why Does My Knee Hurt When I Get Up In The Morning
The cartilage that cushions your joints dries out as you age, causing your joints to become stiff. Joints make less synovial fluid as a result of this, resulting in stiff and sore joints. When you are inactive for an extended period of time, your joints stiffen, and thus the name morning gel is given to it.
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Avoiding Large Meals Before Bed
Large meals can disrupt your sleep because they take a long time to digest. Therefore, its best to eat light snacks if youre hungry at night.
Its also recommended to avoid the following close to bedtime:
- high protein foods
Similarly, avoid drinking too much fluid close to bedtime. Otherwise, you might need to wake up during the night to use the bathroom.
Discuss Your Medication Options With Your Doctor
If youre experiencing painsomnia, consider tracking it with an app like ArthritisPower so you can talk to your doctor about the degree of your symptoms and correlate them with other factors, such as your medication regimen. Having good control of your arthritis with disease-modifying drugs is usually the first step, but other medications that can specifically help manage pain at night may be needed. These could include anti-epilepsy drugs such as Gabapentin, as well as muscle relaxers such as Tizanidine or Flexeril, says Dr. Schiopu.
In addition, its a good idea to review the other meds you take for your arthritis. Side effects like weight gain or higher cortisol levels might be messing with your sleep. Talk with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure your regimen isnt contributing to your painsomnia.
If you experience painsomnia, Gibson says to remember sleep issues dont make you a failure sometimes our bodies just dont do what we want them to. Try different approaches, talk with your doctors, and see what helps.
And remember this good advice: Take painsomnia seriously, Gibson says. You need and deserve your sleep and rest!
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Waking Up With Knee Pain Here’s What Your Body’s Trying To Tell You
Waking up with unexpected knee pain can really take the spring out of your step first thing in the morning.
Once you’ve ruled out something like bruising from bumping into furniture on a late-night trip to the bathroom, you might start running through the list of other possible causes of knee pain to help determine your treatment options and whether or not you’ll still be able to tackle the workout you had planned for today.
Here, Joshua Goldman, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and associate clinical professor at UCLA, explains why you might wake up with knee pain and what to do when it happens.
Waking up with knee pain is not always benign or simple to fix. If your knee pain also radiates into your foot, your pain might be related to a nerve issue. Dr. Goldman recommends a comprehensive neurologic evaluation if that’s the case.
If severe knee pain wakes you in the middle of the night, you may need an X-ray of the area to rule out other serious issues, including bone cancer.
Knee Pain At Night Is Likely The Result Of Osteoarthritis
Knee pain can come and go for anyone, but if you find yourself with reoccurring knee pain at night, you should visit your doctor as it’s often the result of a larger issue. “It’s often because they have arthritis, commonly osteoarthritis,” Kim Stearns, MD, an orthopedic surgeon, explained for Cleveland Health Clinic. “People with normal, healthy knees usually don’t get pain at night.”
Osteoarthritis is a condition caused by wear and tear of the cartilage, which is the tissue protecting your bones and joints. Other symptoms of osteoarthritis in the knee may include swelling, feeling of warmth in the joint, and the presence of a creaking or crackly sound when you move your knees, according to WebMD. And for more topics you may want to talk to your doctor about, If You’re Taking This OTC Medicine More Than Twice a Week, See a Doctor.
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Osteoarthritis Can Result In Many Different Complications
According to Healthline, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have serious complications. Since knee osteoarthritis is also more likely to strike during night, this can easily disrupt your sleep, as well as reduce your productivity and cause you to gain weight. Knee osteoarthritis can also progress up to a stage 4 severe case, which would have to be treated by bone realignment surgery or total knee replacement.
Additionally, without proper treatment, the pain that arises from this condition can lead to anxiety and depression, according to a 2010 study published in the journal Clinical Rheumatology.
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Pain That Wakes You Up At Night Should Scare You
It could be nothing. Or it could be cancer.
One moment, youre shooting through the waves of the Pacific Ocean with your new mermaid tail, high-fiving dolphin flippers left and right. The next, youre jolted from your lovely dream by a shooting pain down your spine that feels like youre being impaled by the trident of Poseidon himself.
What in the actual fuuu
Pain is a sensation you feel when nerves are stimulated to an intense degree, explains Michael Port, a board-certified pain management doctor. Pain is subjective: The most common pain scale is the 10-point visual analog scale, with 0 being no pain and 10 being unbearable pain.
Thats why, according to Port, theres no such thing as a universal level of pain that can jolt someone awake from their sleep. Pain is subjective, says Port. Individual differences in pain sensitivity have long remained a perplexing and challenging clinical problem. My job then is to focus pain treatment on an individual-by-individual basis.
Still, wherever it lands on the scale, pain that wakes you up at night is definitely a cause for concern. Pain affects everyone differently, but the kind that wakes you up should be taken seriously, explains Port. It scares me.
The takeaway being, the level of pain thats enough to wake you up is personal to youbut you should pay attention to it.
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Make Sure Your Bed Is Comfy For You
Check with your doctor or physical therapist, but in general, avoid a too-firm sleeping surface. A soft mattress is very important, Dr. Schiopu says. Although Arnsdorff says heavy blankets put too much pressure on her joints, Gibson says weighted blankets can help some people settle down, and theyre becoming more widely used among people with chronic pain, so see what works for you.
You can also experiment with throw pillow therapy to see what feels good Arnsdorff says she uses many pillows to cushion sore joints.
Why Does My Pain Seem To Get Worse At Night
The answer is probably due to a few different reasons. The levels of your natural anti-inflammatory hormone, cortisol, are naturally lower at night. Staying still in the same position will also cause your knee joints to stiffen up. Another reason could be related to how your brain perceives pain and this may change in the small hours.
Your perception of pain is more pronounced at night or to put it another way your pain thresholds are lower at night. Your other senses are distracting you during the day when there is more noise and more going on around you, these distractions are no longer there at night.
In other words, youll notice your pain more at night, so it bothers you more.
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Create A Relaxing Pre
If meditation isnt your thing, find what works to calm your mind and body. This can be highly individualized process, says CreakyJoints community member Dawn Marie Gibson, who recently coauthored a paper about managing painsomnia that was presented at the 2018 American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals Annual Meeting in Chicago. Soothing sounds like waves and fireplaces help me relax by taking the focus off my pain. I also enjoy crocheting when I feel up to it.
Dr. Schiopu suggests a boring book to put you to sleep. In addition, Gibson says to eliminate anything that riles you up. Reducing or taking something away may be as helpful as anything being added in, Gibson says. Less caffeine, less news, or less arguing on social media might make it easier to wind down and go to sleep.
Reducing The Strain On Your Knees
Apart from keeping an eye on your weight, there are a number of other ways you can reduce the strain on your knees.
- Pace your activities dont tackle all your physical jobs at once. Break the harder jobs up into chunks and do something gentler in between. Keep using your knee even if its slightly uncomfortable, but rest it before it becomes too painful.
- Wear shoes with thick soles and enough room for your toes. Wearing the right shoes can reduce the shock through your knees as you walk and prevent any changes to your feet.
- If you need extra support for your feet or knees when you walk, speak to your physiotherapist, occupational therapist or doctor about getting insoles made for your shoes.
- Use a walking stick if needed to reduce the weight and stress on a painful knee. An occupational therapist can advise on the correct length and the best way to use the stick.
- Use a handrail for support when going up or down stairs. Go upstairs one at a time with your good leg first.
- Think about making changes to your home, car or workplace to reduce unnecessary strain. An occupational therapist can advise you on special equipment that will make things you do every day easier.
Using a heat pack or something similar on a painful knee might help to relieve the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis. An ice pack can also help but be careful not to put ice or heat packs or hot water bottles directly on your skin wrap them with a tea towel or cover.
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How Are Knee Injuries Diagnosed
To diagnose a knee injury, health care providers ask about how the injury happened and what symptoms it causes.
The health care provider will do a physical exam that includes pressing on the knee and legs and moving them in certain ways. These tests can show what part of the knee is injured.
Imaging tests done sometimes used include:
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How To Get Rid Of The Knee Pain At Night
It becomes frustrating when the knees start paining at night because the entire sleep cycle gets disturbed. The following methods help to get rid of the knee pain:
Warm Bath – Taking a warm bath before going to bed helps to relax the body and relieves joint pain. The warm bath has the following benefits:
It improves blood circulation.
It helps to reduce the inflammation and swelling that happens due to knee pain.
The pressure on the knees is relieved.
It supports the knees and the legs.
Sleeping Position – It is important to sleep in a proper position because a poor sleeping position increases the risk of joint pain. Make sure the knees are supported by a cushion during sleep. The cushions can be placed below or between the knees depending upon the sleeping position. When the knees are supported with the help of a cushion, the chances of pain become less.
Heat and Cold Pack – Applying heat or a cold pack before going to sleep provides great relief. The patient needs to apply an ice pack or a heating pad for 15 to 20 minutes. This helps to reduce swelling and inflammation. Do not apply ice directly on the knees instead, wrap it in a cloth or a towel and then apply.
Bodyweight – Obesity or excessive weight puts unwanted pressure on the knees and increases the risk of pain. It is important to maintain healthy body weight and remain fit. Dietary changes and regular exercise help maintain body weight.
Do not lift heavy objects or carry excess weights.
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Why You Might Wake Up With A Sore Knee
One possible reason for waking up with a sore knee is that you slept with your leg in an awkward position. This can happen if you curl up in a fetal position or sleep on your stomach with your legs bent. Another possibility is that you have arthritis or bursitis, conditions that can cause knee pain. If you have arthritis, your knee joint may be inflamed, while bursitis results from the inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs that cushion your joints.
You may be irritated by your knee discomfort at night, especially if it didnt get worse during the day. According to orthopedic surgeon Kim Stearns, arthritis is the most common cause of knee pain. Osteoarthritis is a mechanical disorder caused by joint wear and tear. Running on the pavement is one type of high-impact exercise that can cause joint stress. Dr. Stearns recommends swimming, bicycling, and elliptical exercises as low-impact alternatives to strenuous activity. Over-the-counter medications can help ease swelling that causes pain. If you are on blood-thinner medication, you should avoid taking more than you should.
Dr. Stearns suggests giving cold treatment first for the temporary relief, then switching to heat for the long-term relief. You can also get relief by using topical gels, prescription gels, and anti-inflammatory patches. You can adjust the position of your bed in order to get a good nights sleep.