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Why Do My Knees Hurt At Night

When To See A Doctor

Have Knee Pain At Night While Sleeping? Try This!

To be honest, having knee pain at night frequently can be a sign that somethings going on with your joint. That in itself is reason enough to get it checked by your doctor.

These are some signs that you should go to your physician as soon as possible:

  • The pain wakes you up at night or doesnt let you sleep.
  • Symptoms are unbearable.
  • Youre limping or cant walk during the day.
  • The symptoms are not getting better after 48-72 hours.
  • Youre experiencing knee pain at night after a fall or a direct hit on the joint.
  • The area is red, warm, painful, and/or very tender to the touch.
  • You also have a fever.
  • Theres any sign of infection: fever, redness, and/or warmth in the injured area.
  • No home remedies help with symptoms.

What Causes The Pain

Knee pain can be caused by a variety of issues, from injury to tendonitis to bursitis . But the primary cause of knee pain, according to Dr. Stearns, is usually a form of arthritis.

People with normal, healthy knees usually dont get pain at night, he says. Theres typically a reason, and its often because they have arthritis, commonly osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is mechanical in nature, caused by wear-and-tear on the joints as well as the cartilage and tendons associated with the joints. This sets the condition apart from rheumatoid arthritis which is inflammation of the joints, typically caused by an overactive immune system.

While osteoarthritis is typically seen in older patients, it can occur in younger patients, too, particularly those who are prone to overuse of certain joints or suffered significant injuries like ligament tears.

What Does Knee Pain Feel Like

Knee pain can take many different forms. You might experience burning knee pain at night as an uncomfortable, steady warmth in the joint. You may also have throbbing knee pain at night, no matter what position you lie in.

Some people have pain that is sharp when they switch positions after being still. Other forms are not pain at all but can consist of tenderness or swelling inside the joint.

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Practice Good Sleep Hygiene For Better Sleep

Sleep hygiene means having good sleeping habits. Done methodically, these habits can help you have a good nights sleep. This, in turn, will help you manage knee pain better.

A common habit is going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day. Your body will get used to it, making you feel sleepy around the same time.

If you can, make sure your room is dark and quiet with a comfortable temperature. Also, its best to avoid watching TV or scrolling on your phone before bedtime.

Solutions To Knee Pain At Night

Why Is My Knee Pain Worse During the Night?

Once you have determined the root cause of your knee pain at night, you will be better equipped to determine which treatment solution is right for you. Because everyone is different, you may find that you need to use one or a combination of these treatment solutions. Here are some helpful solutions to help you sleep better and stop knee pain at night.

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Arthritis Of The Knee Causing Pain Behind Knee

Osteoarthritis is a common cause of pain behind the knee. Typically, arthritis causes bone spurs leading to inflammation at the back of the knee. Often, you feel tight and restricted in the movement of the knee joint.

Generally, the best form of treatment for knee arthritis is exercise and load management. Also, wearing a knee sleeve can help. Occasionally, we use injection therapy to help with arthritis such as cortisone or platelet-rich plasma.

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Causes Of Inner Knee Pain

There are several things that can cause inner knee pain. These include:

  • injury such as a blow to the outside of your knee, which pushes your knee inwards
  • activities that involve sudden twisting or pivoting of your knees for example, skiing or playing rugby
  • activities where you have to use your knee a lot for example, cycling, gymnastics or swimming breaststroke
  • getting older and your knee joint becoming worn down

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Treatment Of Inner Knee Pain

Treatments for inner knee pain include physiotherapy, painkillers and surgery. Whether you need treatment and what treatment you have, will depend on exactly whats wrong with your knee. For instance, you may be more likely to need surgery if you have cartilage damage or osteoarthritis causing severe pain. If you have a ligament injury, physiotherapy may be enough.

For information on treatments, please see the relevant knee condition page.

Do Gentle Bed Isometric Exercises While You Drift Off To Sleep

Why Does Knee Pain Hurt So Much in the Evening

Dont worry, no ones suggesting you work up a sweat before falling asleep!

However, these gentle exercises can help alleviate and swelling in the joints that can keep you from falling asleep altogether.

Isometric exercises are one of the most powerful strategies to eliminate joint pain. And better yet, they are so simple and gentle, you can even do them while you are in bed. You really dont need to exert much force for them to be effective simply contract the muscle just enough to squeeze excess fluid out.

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Other Possible Causes Of Severe Knee Pain

In addition to the conditions listed above, severe knee pain can be related to an infectioneither an infection in the knee joint or a systemic infection, such as the flu, that causes an auto-immune reaction that leads to knee pain. Knee pain related to infection is discussed on the next page.

Other possible causes of severe knee pain in the absence of trauma include soft tissue injuries that can develop over time, such as severe tendinopathy and IT band syndrome. In these cases, knee pain often develops gradually, and knee pain is less likely to be accompanied by localized redness, swelling, and warmth.

What Does Knee Arthritis Feel Like

Arthritis involves painful and at times debilitating inflammation of the joints. Arthritis pain is typically worse when first waking up in the morning but decreases after about 30 minutes. This pain can also worsen if youve been sedentary for a long period of time and attempt to move. However, low-impact cardio exercise such as walking and swimming can help to decrease joint pain. Arthritis can also flare up during bouts of exercise or everyday life activities, and at the end of the day. Here are some examples of what arthritis feels like:

  • Sharp pain
  • Increased pain with movement, decreased pain when sedentary

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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Growing Pains

Most kids with growing pains have pain in their thighs, calves, shins, or behind the knees. The pain usually is in both legs and does not involve the joints. Occasionally, kids may have pain in the arms along with leg pain, but they do not have pain only in the arms. Growing pains often strike in late afternoon or early evening before bed but pain can sometimes wake a sleeping child.

Most kids are pain-free and active as usual during the day. Growing pains may last for months or years, but they don’t happen every day. There might be days, weeks, or months between pain episodes.

Youre Trying To Relax

Why do my knees ache at night in bed, MISHKANET.COM

When your body is at rest, you may notice the mild to moderate pains that you could more easily ignore when your mind was preoccupied with busy thoughts during your waking hours.Additionally, when you sleep, your body produces less cortisol. While high cortisol levels can lead to heart disease, healthier levels can help your body reduce inflammation.

Since most joint pains are caused by or worsened by inflammation, moderate amounts of cortisol can help your body manage this inflammation. But when your body is relaxed, such as when youre trying to go to sleep, your body has less cortisol to mitigate the swelling and irritation in your knees.

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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.

And for more up-to-date health news delivered right to your inbox, .

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

While pain can disrupt your sleep, you can promote a more restful night when you include these sleep hygiene strategies into your daily routine:

  • Avoid taking long naps during the day.
  • Make your bedroom cool and dark.
  • Avoid eating heavy foods or exercising right before you sleep.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about taking melatonin supplements or other sleep aids.
  • Dont use phones or computers before bed since the blue light from the screen can disrupt sleep.
  • Use a pillow and supportive mattress to avoid straining your back or your knees.

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Muscle Cramps Are A Common Cause For Leg Pain At Night

If you ever had muscle cramps at night you know how painful that can be. Cramps occur at night during deep sleep. Cramps have many reasons. Here are a few:

  • Tight muscles Some people just have tight hamstrings or calf muscles. This may sound too simple, but daily stretching exercises can really help those people avoid leg pain from tight muscles.
  • Dehydration Another common reason is dehydration. Many people do not like to drink towards the end of the day to avoid getting up to the bathroom at night. Dehydrated muscles may cramp up.
  • Electrolyte imbalance Sometimes the issue is not lack of water, but lack of electrolytes like magnesium. Making sure your diet has the recommended amounts of electrolytes can help you avoid nighttime cramps.
  • Some medications can cause muscle cramps. The most common example are statins. Statins and leg pain is a real problem. Another example are steroids.
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    Why Is Bursitis So Painful At Night


    Because were paying more attention to our symptoms. Our senses arent distracted as usual.

    The lack of movement also plays a role, as it reduces the blood flow in our joints. This can make them feel stiffer than usual.

    Our worrying thoughts about our symptoms can also increase our perception of pain.

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    Whats Behind The Knee

    The back of the knee has complicated anatomy.

    As well as the knee joint that sits in the middle, there are muscles from the thigh and calf that pass through this area. Firstly, the large hamstring muscles start from the pelvis and pass across the knee to attach to the lower leg bones. In addition, the large calf muscles start at the bottom part of the thigh and cross the knee to form the large Achilles tendon.

    Finally, there are important nerves and blood vessels that cross the back of the knee to supply the lower leg and foot.

    Use A Pillow Fit For Your Sleep Style

    Sleeping with a pillow in between or under your knees is another way to combat knee pain at night. Buying a specialty pillow designed for joint and knee support is recommended. This type of pillow is designed to conform to your body and joints, while provided needed support. Try multiple brands or pillow types until you find the one that best meets your joint support needs.

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    Try Hot And Cold Therapy

    Using a heating pad before bed can help to relax and soothe your sore and stiff joints. In addition, a heating pad is also a great way to help calm your body and mind down. This should help you to fall asleep easier and faster. If you use a heating pad, make sure to have layers between your skin and the heating pad and turn it off prior to falling asleep.

    Burning Pain In The Back Of The Knee

    Why is my knee pain worse at night?

    Pain behind your knee could come from any of a handful of causes. You may have an overuse injury similar to what causes runners knee.

    You could also have something more severe like a ligament tear. If you tear a ligament or cartilage, you will most likely have pain no matter what you do, even if you stop the activity. You will also have swelling shortly after you injure your knee.

    You could also have a Bakers cyst. A Bakers cyst is an accumulation of fluid in the bursa behind your knee. You may have pain, or you may just have swelling.

    The burning pain behind your knee could be your only symptom. Best of all, a Bakers cyst isnt a debilitating diagnosis. You can get the fluid drained and then return to normal activities.

    If you suspect a cartilage or ligament tear, begin with cold therapy. This could include a sleeve with an ice pack that you slide over your knee and keep on the knee for fifteen minutes at a time.

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    Practice Better Sleep Hygiene

    Tossing and turning at night when unable to sleep may cause a person to notice and fixate on their pain. Good sleep hygiene may help a person fall asleep faster and remain asleep longer. People can try the following:

    • going to bed at the same time each night and establishing a bedtime ritual, such as taking a bath, meditating, or doing another calming activity
    • avoiding daytime naps
    • exercising during the day to ease arthritis symptoms and support better health, but avoiding exercise for 4 hours before bed
    • avoiding stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine, especially in the afternoon and evening
    • refraining from drinking alcohol or only drinking it in moderation
    • developing strategies for managing daytime stress to prevent negative thoughts from keeping a person awake or triggering joint pain
    • eating a balanced meal a few hours before bed and trying a light snack just before bed if nighttime hunger is a problem
    • using the bed only for sleeping and sex and not for watching television or doing work
    • keeping the bedroom cool and dark, potentially by using blackout curtains
    • investing in a comfortable, supportive mattress and quality pillows
    • trying different pillow positioning, such as putting a pillow between the knees or under the hips, to ease joint pain

    While they are working on improving their sleep hygiene, a person may find it helpful to get back up if they cannot fall asleep. Doing this helps the association between bed and sleep remain strong.

    How Can You Sleep To Avoid Knee Pain

    Changing the position that you sleep in is a simple way to help reduce and eliminate knee pain at night. Sleeping in an unhealthy sleeping position can irritate pre-existing joint issues. Try a few of these positions and see which is most comfortable for you.

    • On your side
    • With a pillow between your knees
    • With a pillow under your knees

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    The Vicious Cycle Less Sleep = More Pain

    Poor sleep leads to daytime fatigue which means people experience more pain. When you are tired your brain is less able to shut off the pain signals. When you are tired youll not feel like exercising which we know is good for helping you manage your arthritis symptoms.

    Tiredness is also linked to depression in arthritis patients which in turn is linked to worsening pain.

    How To Relieve Knee Pain At Night

    Why does my total knee replacement still hurt?

    When you finally lay yourself down to sleep after a busy day, the last thing you want to experience is pain that keeps you awake. When knee pain at night sends you tossing and turning, though, there are ways to care for yourself during the day to make it better. Heres your guide to managing and preventing knee pain at night.

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    What Can Cause Knee Pain Without Injury

    Most people assume that their knee pain isnt severe or in need of medical attention because they havent suffered a significant injury. While that may be true sometimes, damage to your knee joint can also occur slowly over time, and affect you just as much as a significant accident or injury can.

    First, lets stop with assumptions. Any pain you are experiencing is a sign that something is not right. So, why not have a specialist take a look? With extensive imaging, a trained orthopedic specialist can get to the bottom of your nagging knee pain and try to help relieve some of that distress. If you havent suffered an injury, however, your doctor will want to diagnose the pain and possible causes. There are some more common causes for non-trauma related knee pain:


    Either rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis can cause leave you with severe knee pain, even without a fall or injury. Osteoarthritis can be characterized by the pain and swelling you continue to feel as you age. Your joints are not indestructible, and the structure inevitably wears down over time. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is a chronic disorder that also causes joints to swell. If you suspect RA is behind your knee pain, you might have pain in other joints, as well.

    A tear


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