Three Reasons Your Knee Hurts When Straight But Not When Bent
Your knees are complex joints that bear a lot of your body weight and power your legs for a wide range of activities like walking, running and jumping. Its important to take care of your knees so you can live out your normal daily life and enjoy physical activities. However, despite your best efforts, injuries and conditions can affect your knees, which can limit their use.
Some conditions cause pain that only affects your knees when trying to straighten them but not bending them. Common conditions that cause this kind of pain include:
1. Torn meniscus
The meniscus is a small, flat piece of cartilage that rests between the thighbones and shinbones on each side of your knees. There are two menisci in each knee. They exist to absorb shock in the knees and keep the bones from grinding against one another.
A traumatic injury that causes the knee to violently twist can cause a meniscus to tear. A torn meniscus might fold on itself, which can keep you from fully straightening your leg and cause knee pain when you try to do so.
2. Runners knee
Runners knee is the common term for pain around the kneecap. This is a condition in which the tendon that connects your kneecap to your shinbone becomes inflamed from repetitive motions. This can make it painful around the kneecap when you try and fully straighten your leg.
3. Strained muscles
What’s The Outlook For Teenagers With Pain In Their Knees
Most knee pain in teenagers can be managed with simple treatments. However, many soft-tissue tears and bone breaks require surgery. Most teenagers recover without long-term problems if they follow the recover plan provided by their healthcare providers. Because there are many causes of knee pain, be sure to ask your healthcare provider for specific information on long-term prognosis for your teen’s knee condition.
What Are The Possible Causes Of Clicking And Catching Of The Knee
Cavitation. Sometimes the noise you hear is due to tiny air bubbles inside the joint fluid, which build up with changes in the joint pressure. When the bubbles burst, this is called cavitation. Cavitation is typically something that is not worrisome as long as it is unaccompanied by other symptoms .
Ligaments and tendons. Another possible cause of clicking and catching of the knee is when the ligaments and tendons catch as they go over a bony lump and pop as they snap back into place. Like cavitation, this is also not considered to be a serious problem if unaccompanied by other symptoms.
Soft tissue. Clicking may also be caused by the catching on soft tissue or scar tissue within the knee. Most of the time, these noises are natural and do not necessarily mean that youll develop other issues .
Meniscus tear. If you feel some pain as the clicking/popping occurs, it could be a sign of a meniscus tear, which means there is a small piece of loose cartilage caught in the knee. Treatment for a torn meniscus commonly includes rest, pain relievers and physical therapy. Less commonly, surgery may be required.
Osteoarthritis. If youre experiencing painful and persistent clicking/popping, it could indicate osteoarthritis, in which the smooth cartilage has worn down and the bones cause friction when they rub against one another.
Reviewed by: KPE Medical Review Board
Bending knee pain may start suddenly after an injury, or gradually come on over time depending on the cause.
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A Hit From The Side Can Injure Both The Medial Collateral Ligament And The Anterior Cruciate Ligament
So most patients will say, I got hit from the side. I felt a pop and then my knee became unstable, so that would be an injury here to the medial collateral ligament on the inside, which is a stretching injury. And then a tearing injury on the anterior cruciate ligament, which is in the middle of the knee, that creates stability for rotation deformity so those are two things to consider if you do feel a pop, particularly after a high impact. Thats something to consider.
You should go see an orthopedic surgeon immediately. Ice the knee, keep it elevated. Try not to do any cutting, twisting and pivoting activities, but just go ahead and get evaluated by a physician just to confirm whether or not the ligament is injured.
Potential Causes Of Knee Pain When Bending
Patients who cant bend their knee without experiencing pain are often diagnosed with one of these conditions:
For nearly any type of knee injury, physical therapy can be a highly effective form of treatment.
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Use Your Knee Brace And Crutches
If youve been fitted for a knee brace or had one recommended to you, make sure it fits properly. You should be able to insert two fingers under the strap. If its difficult to fit two fingers or if you can fit a third finger, youll need to adjust the tightness. Usually youll wear the brace for two to six weeks.
Use crutches if theyve been given and avoid putting any pressure on your knee until your doctor says its okay. Wait at least two weeks or until your doctor gives you the go-ahead before you bathe, swim, or use a hot tub. Follow a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids. Eat high-fiber foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables to ensure you have regular bowel movements. This will help while you may not have the benefit of moving around as much as usual.
Common Conditions That Cause Pain When Bending Or Straightening Knee
Pain when bending or straightening the knee can sideline you for the weekend or for months at a time. There are many different causes of knee pain. It is important that you identify the specific cause of your pain so that a specific treatment plan can be created. There are 5 major conditions that can affect how the functions like difficulties in bending or straightening the knee:
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Two Serious Reasons Why Your Knee Feels Tight When Bending
Understanding the anatomy of the knee would naturally come to anyone going through chronic pain, swelling or tightness in the major joints. But it doesnt need for the knee problems to manifest before you take the necessary precautions to ensure your joints remain healthy. There are conditions that pave the way for the problems such as osteoarthritis and meniscal tear to arise. You can prevent them simply by knowing the reasons that cause these joint problems to come about to guide you in reversing the symptoms.
Reasons Why Your Knee Feels Tight When Bending Could Be Osteoarthritis
Reasons Why Your Knee Feels Tight When Bending Could Be Meniscal Tear
When Should I See A Doctor
The majority of knee injuries can be managed at home. However, you should ask for medical assistance if you have any of these symptoms:
- Severe pain in or around the knee, mainly when walking.
- Severe swelling in the knee.
- A loud and painful popping or cracking in the knee joint.
- A feeling of your knee giving out while walking or going upstairs and downstairs.
- A feeling of getting your knees locked when bending or straightening it.
- Modified sensation in the foot – a feeling of getting pinch with pins and needles or a “loss of feeling” in the lower leg.
- Incapability to complete your regular daily tasks after the initial 72 hours.
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Will I Need Knee Surgery If It Doesnt Get Better On Its Own
If youre experiencing extreme discomfort as mentioned before surgery may be the answer. If youve done physical therapy and its not getting better on its own then your GP may recommend this.
Its also always wise to have multiple opinions if something is not getting better on its own. In the end, its always your choice, but this process of elimination will ensure you have a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
How To Prevent Knee Pain When Bending
Before you begin having serious problems with your knees, there are prevention tips to incorporate into your daily living.
- Strengthen knee muscles with exercises for the thighs
- Always stretch before and after a workout or exercise routine
- Do strength training exercises for your back and abdominal muscles
- Use proper posture when performing tasks, sitting, standing, and walking
- If standing for prolong periods, shift weight from one foot to the other or alternate feet using a foot rest
- Avoid placing strain on knees with bending or squatting by using proper techniques
- Follow a healthy diet to maintain good health of the muscles
Having knee pain when bending can limit your daily activities and may lead to further complications. Our knees allow us to move in many ways, and we depend on the proper functioning of the kneeâs many components. An injury or disease to any part of the knee can be debilitating. Good health and strengthening exercises for the knee joint and its connecting partners are key to maintaining pain-free movement.
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Jolting Pain Behind The Knee
Pain in the back of the knee can stop you in your tracks making bending and straightening very difficult at times. The pain can be sharp and jolting or a dull ache. Possible causes of pain in the back of the knee include Bakers cyst, hamstring tendon irritation or inflammation, ligament instability, and posterior horn meniscus injury
Can Knee Pain In Teens Be Prevented
Most knee pain that is caused by injury or overuse can be prevented with some attention and work by your teen, including:
- Make sure your teen wears proper shoes for the activity/sport and wears knee pads and leg guards . Replace worn out footwear and gear.
- Engage in muscle strength training exercises. Check with a trainer to make sure proper form and body alignment are being followed. Always do warm up and cool down exercises before and after workouts.
- Keep your muscles flexible by proper stretching exercises or yoga.
- Dont engage in activities that cause or worsen knee pain.
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It Is Painful When I Bend My Knee What Does This Mean
If you are experiencing knee pain, especially when you bend it to walk, kneel, sit, squat, and more, it is likely that you have a condition or injury that needs treatment. There are many causes of knee pain, and it is incredibly difficult to self-diagnose yourself correctly. This is why it is critical to see an orthopedic specialist with a wealth of experience diagnosing and treating knee conditions and injuries.
Chronic Degeneration Of The Meniscus
The meniscus is a rubbery c-shaped piece of cartilage that cushions the knee. When the meniscus is torn abruptly it can cause your leg to lock up and impact your ability to walk, but more often than not the cartilage in your knee is damaged over time due to wear and tear. This is when standing knee pain can become a problem.
Chronic degeneration of the meniscus can occur from excessive standing or running. Acute meniscus tears are usually from sudden pivoting or twisting as seen in basketball or football. A torn meniscus normally produces localized pain that is worse during twisting and squatting motions.
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Where Does It Hurt
If you have knee pain in the front of the joint, it could be patellar arthritis or patellar tendonitis. These conditions cause pain when bending the knee, kneeling, or squatting. Typically, the lower the knee bend, the worse it will hurt.
Pain on the lateral or outside of the knee is prevalent in runners. Iliotibial band syndrome occurs when the connective tissues located on the outer thigh and knee are overused.
The discomfort restricted to the medial or inside of the knee could indicate tibiofemoral arthritis or meniscal irritation.
Nagging pain or pressure limited to the back of the knee could signify a damaged meniscus or an irritation in the popliteal muscle and its surrounding area.
Shoes To Help With Knee Pain
Proper footwear is also very important as those who wear flat shoes may be more prone to knee pain when bending as opposed to those who wear shoes with some sort of arch support or lift in them.
The best shoes to wear when youre experiencing knee pain are shoes that are lightweight, have good arch support, and have a slight heel to them.
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Top Causes Of Knee Pain When Bending
Runners knee is a painful condition that develops as a result of repeated bending of the knee joint. However, it can also occur because of poor alignment, a direct blow to the knee, or due to flat feet or weak thigh muscles. Pain from runners knee is usually just below or to the sides of the kneecap in the front. Symptoms include swelling around and behind the kneecap, knee pain when bending, possible crepitus, or cracking and popping noises in the knees when walking. Runners knee pain usually begins gradually and increases in severity as symptoms worsen.
Each of your knees has fluid filled sacs called bursa, which cushion and protect the structures of the knees. Bursitis occurs when the bursa become inflamed when kneeling, squatting, or in the presence of excess friction in the joint. Repetitive or prolonged kneeling or falling onto the knee can also cause inflammation of the prepatellar bursa below the kneecap on the front of the knee. Excess fluid in the knee joint that seeps back into the bursa can cause swelling and pain on the back of the knee. Although bursitis is not the most severe condition, it can cause significant discomfort.
Sprains or Injuries to Ligaments
Arthritis or Osteoarthritis
Knee Feels Tight When Bending
There are several reasons why your knee feels tight when bending. However, most of them are benign and you may be able to solve them at home.
More often than not, having a stiff knee is your bodys way of asking you for more movement, like in the case of a moviegoers knee.
But, depending on your associated symptoms, knee stiffness can also be a sign of a more challenging condition. Like rheumatoid arthritis or arthrofibrosis, for example.
Below is a list detailing 7 common causes of knee tightness when bending, including:
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Is Surgery Ever Needed For Anterior Knee Pain
In some cases of patella instability, where the kneecap dislocates often we need to consider surgery to reconstruct the ligament which holds the patella in place.
In cases of severe arthritis of the patella, we occasionally need to consider a joint replacement if you do not respond to a compression sleeve, injections, activity modification, and physical therapy.
Patella tendonitis or a jumpers knee will usually respond to activity modification and physical therapy. It is not unusual for your recovery to take up to 6-8 months. If the pain remains severe, there has been a recent interest in trying PRP injections to regenerate the patella tendon. It is still controversial whether or not PRP injections are useful. Surgery, although rarely needed, can be very useful in severe cases of a jumpers knee.
What To Do If Your Knee Hurts When Bending
Aug 13, 2022 | Knee Pain
More than a quarter of adults suffer from regular bouts of knee pain. Its no surprise as our knees handle a tremendous amount of stress daily.1-2 Scientists have found that for every pound of bodyweight, our knees are subjected to up to seven pounds of pressure when bent or weight-bearing.3
If youre here, it is because youve noticed that your knee hurts when bending it, it is painful walking downstairs and feels uncomfortable while squatting. The fix for this really depends on the diagnosis. Below are some common causes of knee pain.
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Sprains And Torn Cartilage
Ligament sprains of the knee are usually caused by a blow to the knee or a sudden twist of the knee, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Common symptoms include feeling a pop, pain, swelling, instability , or difficulty walking, says Gotlin.
Torn cartilage, which can occur with injuries of the knee or with arthritis, is another common cause of knee pain, adds Gotlin. Trauma to the knee can tear the menisci, which are cushioning pads of connective tissue that also absorb shock located within the knee joint. Knee buckling, swelling, and pain during specific motions may indicate torn cartilage.