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What Causes Stiff Knees And Legs

Damage To The Cartilage At The Back Of The Kneecap

Stiff knees: Simple self mobilisation solution

Knee pain that feels worse when you go up or down stairs could be a sign of a damaged kneecap, called chondromalacia patellae.

This should not cause any redness or heat around the knee.

The cause is not understood, but it can be linked to overuse of the knee.

You can treat this problem yourself with anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen, an icepack and rest.

Knee Osteoarthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two types of arthritis that often create knee tightness. Osteoarthritis refers to wear and tear on the cartilage within the knee.

Rheumatoid arthritis causes damage to the knee joint lining resulting in inflammation. Both types of arthritis can lead to joint stiffness and poor range of motion.

If You Feel Pain Behind Your Knee When Bending Or Squatting:

You may be feeling a symptom of Patellar Tendonitis . This is caused by repetitive activity like kicking, jumping or running. The repetitive exercise puts a lot of strain on the tendon resulting in tiny tears and inflammation along the patellar tendon. Other symptoms include pain just below the kneecap, pain with any pressure to the knee, aching and stiffness after activity, knee stiffness in the morning and thickening of the patellar tendon.

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What Causes Swollen Legs From The Knee Down

Reviewed by: KPE Medical Review Board

There are a number of different causes of swelling behind the knee.

The most common is a Bakers Cyst where there is inflammation of the popliteal bursa at the back of the knee.

Sometimes there is back of knee swelling and pain, other times there is a lump behind the knee but no pain associated with it. It might be that only one knee is swollen, or there may be swelling behind both knees.

Most times when the back of the knee is swollen, it can be treated with a combination of rest, regular ice, compression bandages, exercises and physical therapy, but some case may require knee surgery.

Are There Any Complications

Stiff knee: Causes, treatment, and exercises

Osteoarthritis can develop over just a year or two, but more often its a slow process over many years that only causes fairly small changes in just part of the knee.

But in some cases, the cartilage can become so thin that it no longer covers the ends of the bones. This causes them to rub against each other and eventually wear away.

The loss of cartilage, the wearing of the bones, and the bony spurs can change the shape of the joint. This forces the bones out of their normal positions, making your knee feel unstable and painful.

Some people with osteoarthritis find a lump appears at the back of their knee. This is called a Bakers cyst or popliteal cyst.

A Bakers cyst is fluid-filled swelling at the back of the knee that happens when part of the joint lining bulges through a small tear in the joint capsule. This can then cause joint fluid to be trapped in the bulge.

It can happen on its own, but is more likely in a knee thats already affected by arthritis. A Bakers cyst doesnt always cause pain, but sometimes they can burst so the fluid leaks down into your calf, causing sharp pain, swelling and redness in the calf.

Osteoarthritis in the knee might change the way you walk or carry your weight, and this could cause you to develop the condition in other joints, such as your hips.

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What Causes Stiffness Of The Knee

A stiff knee is a common problem among older people and those who are not physically fit. It can be caused by muscular or poor flexibility in a persons legs. Arthritis and injuries are also common causes of the stiffness of the knee.

Cause of knee stiffness

Menisci injury

Menisci comprise of two C-shaped cartilages that sit on the knee joint. The role of the two pieces of cartilage is to act as a shock absorber between several bones that make up the knee joint.

You can damage or injure a meniscus by suddenly twisting or moving your knee. This commonly happens during athletics or any other form of sport. Sportsmen and women often wear knee protective gear in order to avoid such injuries.

Menisci also become more vulnerable as you grow older because of degeneration. As they degrade, the chances of tearing increases.

When your menisci tears or get damaged, you are likely to experience a pop. This is the point when the stiffness of the knee problem sets in as per the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Although you will still be able to walk normally, you will experience the following signs:

Swelling Loosing of full range motion Locking knee


Arthrofibrosis is another major cause of knee stiffness. It happens when more than enough scar tissue is formed within the knee joint. This condition is common especially after knee surgery such as a cruciate ligament surgery or knee replacement.

Some common signs of arthrofibrosis include:

Injury to ligaments

How Are Knee Problems Diagnosed

In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, other tests for knee problems may include:

  • X-ray. This test uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to make images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging . This test uses large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to make detailed images of organs and structures within the body can often determine damage or disease in a surrounding ligament or muscle.

  • Computed tomography scan . This test uses X-rays and computer technology to make horizontal, or axial, images of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.

  • Arthroscopy. A minimally-invasive diagnostic and treatment procedure used for conditions of a joint. This procedure uses a small, lighted, optic tube , which is inserted into the joint through a small incision in the joint. Images of the inside of the joint are projected onto a screen used to evaluate any degenerative or arthritic changes in the joint to detect bone diseases and tumors to determine the cause of bone pain and inflammation.

  • Radionuclide bone scan. A nuclear imaging technique that uses a very small amount of radioactive material, which is injected into the patient’s bloodstream to be detected by a scanner. This test shows blood flow to the bone and cell activity within the bone.

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Reasons Of Stiffness In Legs

  • If you suffer from leg stiffness in the morning, usually after you wake up, you may be sleeping in a certain position that does not allow proper oxygenation of your leg muscles while you slept.
  • Other possible causes for stiffness in legs include living a sedentary lifestyle and not getting enough exercise to get oxygenated blood circulating properly through all the different parts of your body.
  • You will also find that muscle stiffness in the legs can also be caused by overexerting yourself with physical activity and by carrying heavy loads that your legs cannot support.

Causes Of Knee Stiffness

Legs and Knees: Helps with Stiffness, Swelling and Tense Muscles

Most people experience knee stiffness after sitting for a long period of time. It’s usually the result of inflammation and fluid build-up in the knee joint, which causes swelling and decreases the ability to freely move the joint. A number of conditions can lead to inflammation, and subsequently, knee stiffness.

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Ways To Prevent Joint Stiffness

Do your knees crackle and pop? Are your joints stiff when you get out of bed or when you rise from a chair? You arent alone. By the time were in our 60s and 70s, most of us will experience some joint pain and stiffness. How do you prevent and relieve joint stiffness?

As we age, the connective tissue and cartilage that provide cushioning between the joints wear down and become thinner, leading to conditions such as osteoarthritis that can cause pain and inflammation. Genetics and age are primary factors in joint deterioration, but there are steps you can take to extend the life of your joints and protect knee or hip replacements.

What Causes Stiff Joints

Do you find it more difficult than usual to walk, stand, type, or perform other daily tasks? If so, you could be suffering from stiff joints. Stiff joints can affect any joint in your body, including your fingers, hands, wrists, knees, and elbows.

What is Joint Stiffness?

Joint stiffness can occur when a joints range of motion is limited or difficult to move. Its common to happen after lying in bed or sitting for some time. You may have difficulty walking, standing, or putting weight on your joints. In other cases, it can be more severe and include pain and inflammation.

Here are a few common reasons joint stiffness may occur:

Rheumatoid arthritis This chronic inflammatory disorder causes your immune system to attack the lining of your joints. It often affects the wrists and the small joints of the hands and feet.

Osteoarthritis This type of arthritis occurs when cartilage, which cushions your joints, breaks down with age. It often affects the knees, hips, neck, lower back, and fingers.

Gout A type of arthritis, gout can come on suddenly and affect any joint. The big toe is often the first to experience symptoms.

Lupus This chronic autoimmune disease often affects the knees, wrists, and finger joints. Symptoms can come and go abruptly and range from mild to severe.

Bursitis Bursitis occurs when bursae, which are tiny fluid-filled sacs that provide cushioning become inflamed. It is most common in the elbow, shoulder, and hip, although it can affect any joint.

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Muscles Weak And Strong

Maintaining flexible muscles around your knee that are strong enough to support your body may help to alleviate or prevent tightness in the knee area. Strong legs, hips, and buttocks are thought to reduce knee tightness.

Research surrounding the benefits of strong leg muscles in relation to knee tightness varies. According to a 2010 study that looked at over 2,000 knees of men and women who had or were at risk for osteoarthritis, neither hamstring nor quadriceps strength predicted frequent knee symptoms such as pain, aching, and stiffness.

Still, having strong quadriceps may help to reduce the risk of knee problems, since stronger muscles can help to support the knee joint.

A 2014 study that was conducted over five years with 2,404 participants who also had or were at risk for osteoarthritis, found that weak quadriceps were associated with an increased risk of worsening knee pain in women but not in men. Researchers acknowledged that their longer study built on similar studies of shorter duration , and smaller group sizes, to support the link between leg muscle strength and knee pain. Their study suggests there may also be sex-specific differences in risk factors for worsening knee pain.

Can Surgery Be Used To Treat Heart Failure

Pain In Knee. Closeup Of Female Leg With Painful Feeling ...

In heart failure, surgery may sometimes prevent further damage to the heart and improve the hearts function. Procedures used include:

  • Coronary artery bypass grafting surgery. The most common surgery for heart failure caused by coronary artery disease is . Although surgery is more risky for people with heart failure, new strategies before, during, and after surgery have reduced the risks and improved outcomes.
  • Heart valve surgery. Diseased heart valves can be treated both surgically and non-surgically .
  • Implantable left ventricular assist device . The LVAD is known as the bridge to transplantation for patients who havent responded to other treatments and are hospitalized with severe systolic heart failure. This device helps your heart pump blood throughout your body. It allows you to be mobile, sometimes returning home to await a heart transplant. It may also be used as destination therapy for long-term support in patients who are not eligible for transplant.
  • Heart transplant. A heart transplant is considered when heart failure is so severe that it doesnt respond to all other therapies, but the persons health is otherwise good.

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What Causes Joint Pain And Swelling

Acute joint pain usually comes on quickly and lasts a short while. Some frequent causes of acute joint pain include:

  • injury, such as sprains and strains
  • overuse of the joint
  • an infection
  • other illnesses, such as the flu or COVID-19

Chronic joint pain and swelling may be caused by a ‘rheumatic’ condition a condition that affects your joints, bones and muscles. There are more than 200 different kinds of rheumatic conditions, including arthritis, gout and lupus.

The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Pain Swelling And Knee Stiffness

First lets talk about pain: Its the bodys way of preventing you from making an injury worse. Since pain may limit movement, it can cause stiffness in the knees, as can any ongoing injury.

Knees become swollen when excess fluid builds up inside the knee due to an injury, overuse, or medical condition. This can cause sensations of tightness as well as pain. Swelling may be subtle, so you may not always notice it unless its a severe injury. Since the swelling may not be visible, you may feel this as stiffness in the knee.

Any type of swelling will cause limited movement since theres less space in the knee. Irritation, internal bleeding, and injuries in the knee can lead to fluid buildup. Arthritis, gout, and tumors or cysts are conditions that can also cause swelling.

Pain and swelling are two mechanisms your body uses to protect itself. Together they can lead to stiffness in your knee. Next, lets look at possible causes.

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Treatment For Knee Problems

If initial treatment methods do not provide relief, and X-rays show destruction of the joint, the orthopaedist may recommend total joint replacement for the knee, also referred to as knee replacement.

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What Is Leg Stiffness A Symptom Of

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The most common cause of muscle stiffness is a sprain or strain, which can affect both the muscles and ligaments. A strain is when the muscle fibers are stretched or torn. Strains are particularly common in the legs and lower back. A sprain is when the ligaments have been stretched, twisted, or torn.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Failure

You may not have any symptoms of heart failure, or the symptoms may be mild to severe. Symptoms can be constant or can come and go. The symptoms can include:

  • Congested lungs. Fluid backup in the lungs can cause shortness of breath with exercise or difficulty breathing at rest or when lying flat in bed. Lung congestion can also cause a dry, hacking cough or wheezing.
  • Fluid and water retention. Less blood to your kidneys causes fluid and water retention, resulting in swollen ankles, legs, abdomen , and weight gain. Symptoms may cause an increased need to urinate during the night. Bloating in your stomach may cause a loss of appetite or nausea.
  • Dizziness, fatigue, and weakness. Less blood to your major organs and muscles makes you feel tired and weak. Less blood to the brain can cause dizziness or confusion.
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeats. The heart beats faster to pump enough blood to the body. This can cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat.

If you have heart failure, you may have one or all of these symptoms or you may have none of them. They may or may not indicate a weakened heart.

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Why Do My Toes Ache And Feel Stiff

Many cases of toe pain are due to injury or age-related wear and tear on the skin, muscles, bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments of the toe. Common causes of toe pain include calluses, arthritis and bunions. However, infectious diseases, neurological conditions, and other abnormal processes can also affect the toe.

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Does Joint Stiffness Mean I Have Arthritis

Joint stiffness is obviously an indicator in various types of arthritis. However, morning stiffness does not always mean that you have arthritis. It is crucial to know the signs and symptoms other than just joint stiffness that go along with the three types of arthritis rheumatoid, osteoarthritis, and psoriatic arthritis.

In particular, take note of when and how often joint pain and stiffness occurs. If it doesnt seem to have a specific trigger and happens more often than not, then it may be time to see a physician to discuss the possibility of testing for arthritis. However, joint pain and stiffness after intense activity is not necessarily a sign of any illness.

How To Relieve Joint Stiffness

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Before you begin researching treatment options, you should see a doctor. The best way to find a suitable treatment is to determine what is causing the problem. Your doctor can diagnose the issue and recommend an appropriate way to ease stiffness and prevent other symptoms you may be experiencing. Here are a few remedies that your doctor may suggest to treat your discomfort:

  • Over-the-counter medication can relieve mild symptoms of joint pain. NSAIDs like aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen are often used to treat arthritis.
  • Cold or hot compresses can be helpful. Cold will reduce swelling and heat will relax the muscles and joints.
  • Steroids can aid in reducing swelling and inflammation that causes stiffness.
  • Physical therapy and exercise help in improving mobility and maintaining a healthy weight, which can, in turn, reduce joint stiffness.
  • Glucosamine sulfate is a chemical that occurs naturally in the fluid surrounding the joints. Taking glucosamine sulfate as a supplement can relieve pain and stiffness.
  • Taking fish oil supplements can also reduce joint stiffness.

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