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Why Do My Knees Hurt In The Morning

What Initial Treatment Should Be Recommended

Top 5 Causes Of Your Sore Knee

Several evidence-based clinical practice guidelines recommend the following initial interventions for the management of knee osteoarthritis: participation in a self-management program, strengthening exercises, low-impact exercises , neuromuscular education and weight management.

The Arthritis Self-Management Program was developed at Stanford University and is supported by The Arthritis Society. This widely used program is designed to help patients better understand their diagnosis and to encourage patients to take an active role in managing their arthritis and chronic pain. Meta-analyses and systematic reviews have shown that generalized strength training for the lower limbs and specific strength training for the quadriceps reduce pain effectively and improve physical function in osteoarthritis., A guideline from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends neuromuscular education on the basis of several studies showing positive effects with kinesthesia, balance and proprioception training programs in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

A guideline from the Osteoarthritis Research Society International recommends that a weight loss of 5% should be achieved within a 20-week period, a rate of 0.25% per week, to be efficacious. A recent randomized controlled trial stressed the importance of both diet and exercise in achieving weight loss and in managing knee oseteoarthritis.

Bring On The Chili Peppers

Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers and it can be used topically over symptomatic joints first thing in the morning to help ease the pain. It doesnt work for everyone, but some find it helpful. Be careful, it does burn a little at first!! Don R. Martin, MD, a rheumatologist with Sentara RMH Rheumatology

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Arthritis Of The Knee

There are many signs and symptoms of arthritis of the knee:

  • Creaking, clicking, grinding or snapping noises .
  • Difficulty walking.
  • Joint pain that changes depending on the weather.
  • Joint stiffness.
  • Knee joint pain that progresses slowly or pain that happens suddenly.
  • Skin redness.
  • Your knee locks or sticks when its trying to move.
  • Warm skin.

Pain and swelling are the most common symptoms of arthritis of the knee. Some treatments might reduce the severity of your symptoms or even stall the progression. See your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of knee arthritis.

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How To Treat It

Treating this knee pain is all about pain management and what you can do to reduce the stress on those joints. Losing weight is a helpful start. Besides being a key to overall good health, cutting excess pounds lessens the everyday stress on those knee joints and ligaments.

But there are plenty of other ways, too.

Exercise smart

A lot of joint stress is caused by high-impact exercising, especially running on pavement. But there are ways to exercise that can keep you healthy and keep that load off your knee joints. Low-impact exercises like swimming, bicycling and elliptical are good because they exercise the knee joints but dont pound them, says Dr. Stearns.

Knee braces can also be a tool, he adds. There are special braces that work to keep pressure off of certain parts of the knee unloader braces that can sometimes help alleviate arthritis pain.

Medication

If youre considering over-the-counter painkillers to help ease the hurt, Dr. Stearns says its best to take naproxen or ibuprofen because they have anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease the swelling thats causing your knee pain.

Acetaminophen medications, like Tylenol, dont work as well because they mask the pain but do nothing about the source of the pain, he says.

He also recommends taking the dose after dinner as that allows you to have the maximum dose before you head to bed.

Cold versus heat

How to sleep comfortably

Most People Experience Knee Pain At Some Point In Their Lives While Some May Have Only Mild Or Sporadic Symptoms Others May Experience Knee Pain So Severe That It Interferes With Daily Activities Or Reduces Quality Of Life The Degree Of Knee Pain Youre Experiencing Usually Depends On The Complexity Of The Condition Or Injury

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Here are five possible conditions that are common sources of knee pain:

  • BursitisInflamed bursae may cause knee pain in some people. Bursae are small pockets of fluid that lubricate the tendons of the hips, shoulders and knees in order for them to move freely along joints. Pain from bursitis builds up gradually or can be sudden and severe, especially if calcium deposits are present.
  • Knee Ligament InjuriesThe ligaments are what connect your thigh bone to your lower leg bones they hold your bones together and keep the knee stable. Knee ligament sprains and tears are very common sports injuries, and can occur to the anterior cruciate ligament , posterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament . These injuries cause significant pain, and they require medical attention and oftentimes surgery.
  • Patellar TendinitisIf you have this condition, you have inflammation in the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone. Tendons are tough bands of tissue that connect muscles to your bones. When you overdo exercise, they can become inflamed and sore. You may also hear it called jumpers knee because repetitive jumping is the most common cause.
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    Why Does The Knee Get Stiff After Sitting

    There are circumstances where limiting knee joint movement, as is often the case with seniors, may precipitate knee stiffness. Individuals with osteoarthritis often experience a stiff knee in the morning or after sitting for prolonged periods of time. This is primarily due to the joint already having experienced long-term bone stiffness and swelling, restricting flexibility. Patients with moderate to advanced knee osteoarthritis often find it difficult to straighten out their knee altogether.

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    I technically sleep in the office because its on the ground floor of my home. Since Ive been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis Ive found that I just cant do stairs at all when Im flaring. So not having to go down stairs first thing in the morning has made my life so much easier. Catherine K.

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    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 Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Arthritis Of The Knee

    Why Knee Pain Wakes You Up Early by The Knee Pain Guru

    It might be helpful to arrive at your healthcare providers office with a list of questions you want or need to be answered. Consider:

    • Do I have arthritis in one knee or both?
    • What type of arthritis do I have?
    • Whats a possible cause of my arthritis?
    • What treatments do you recommend?
    • What medications should I take?
    • Do I need physical therapy?

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    Knee arthritis can affect people of all ages. Its painful, impairs movement and causes swelling of the joint. Some people are so disabled by it that they cant work anymore. Others can only work after surgery. Meanwhile, for others, the pain isnt necessarily as bad, but it still prevents them from regular activities like cleaning, gardening and running after their kids.

    Arthritis of the knee can decrease your quality of life. The good news is that treatments can lessen the severity of your symptoms. The pain and swelling might not be as bad. See your healthcare provider for evaluation and treatment if you have symptoms.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/18/2021.

    References

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    What Treatments Shouldnt Be Offered

    There are many other treatments that have been used for osteoarthritis, including needle lavage for joints, lateral wedge insoles, acupuncture, glucosamine, chondroitin, intra-articular injections of hyaluronic acid, and arthroscopy. However, studies of these treatments have not consistently shown statistically significant or clinically important improvements, and their use is not routinely recommended in guidelines.

    Needle lavage for joints was assessed in a 2010 Cochrane review, and the authors found no benefit in terms of pain relief or improvement in physical function. Neither the EULAR nor the AAOS guidelines recommend using lateral wedge insoles because of lack of efficacy in comparison to neutral insoles, and reports of adverse events. A recent meta-analysis investigating the use of lateral wedge insoles for treatment of medial knee osteoarthritis failed to show a statistically significant or clinically important improvement in pain scores using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index when compared with a neutral insole. The Canadian Orthopaedic Association, as part of the Choosing Wisely Canada campaign, does not recommend the use of either joint lavage or lateral wedge insoles for the treatment of knee arthritis .

    Other Injuries And Conditions

    Because the knee is the largest joint in your body, it is prone to injury and strain. If you fall or bump your knee, you may experience pain from bruising. If youve fractured any of the three bones in your knee, you may experience weakness, sharp pain, or deep throbbing sensations.

    Rheumatoid arthritis can present similar symptoms to osteoarthritis, but this autoimmune condition may require different treatments than joint damage caused by the wear-and-tear typical of aging.

    If you are experiencing knee pain that interrupts your daily life and persists after several days of rest, consider consulting with a healthcare provider.

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    Why Does My Knee Hurt So Much At Night

    Other less common conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis may cause knee pain at night.. Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis that primarily affects the spine, but can also affect other joints. If you have this you probably already have back pain and stiffness.

    Knee pain may be the result of an injury, such as a ruptured ligament or torn cartilage. Medical conditions including arthritis, gout and infections also can cause knee pain. Many types of minor knee pain respond well to self-care measures. Physical therapy and knee braces also can help relieve pain.

    Conditions That May Cause Knee Problems

    Why do my knees have pain while driving in heavy traffic ...

    Problems not directly related to an injury or overuse may occur in or around the knee.

    • Osteoarthritis may cause knee pain that is worse in the morning and improves during the day. It often develops at the site of a previous injury. Other types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and lupus, also can cause knee pain, swelling, and stiffness.
    • Osgood-Schlatter disease causes pain, swelling, and tenderness in the front of the knee below the kneecap. It is especially common in boys ages 11 to 15.
    • A popliteal cyst causes swelling in the back of the knee.
    • Infection in the skin , joint , bone , or bursa can cause pain and decreased knee movement.
    • A problem elsewhere in the body, such as a pinched nerve or a problem in the hip, can sometimes cause knee pain.
    • Osteochondritis dissecans causes pain and decreased movement when a piece of bone or cartilage or both inside the knee joint loses blood supply and dies.

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    What Are The Types Of Arthritis Of The Knee

    There are around 100 types of arthritis. The most common types that might affect your knees include:

    • Osteoarthritis is the most common of the types on this list. Osteoarthritis wears away your cartilage the cushioning between the three bones of your knee joint. Without that protection, your bones rub against each other. This can cause pain, stiffness and limited movement. It can also lead to the development of bone spurs. Osteoarthritis gets worse as time passes.
    • Post-traumatic arthritis is a type of osteoarthritis. The cartilage starts thinning after trauma to your knee . Your bones rub together, and that causes the same symptoms as osteoarthritis: pain, stiffness and limited movement. Your knee arthritis symptoms might not start until years after the trauma.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. A healthy immune system causes inflammation when it’s trying to protect you from an infection, injury, toxin or another foreign invader. The inflammatory response is one way your body protects itself. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you have an unhealthy immune system that triggers inflammation in your joints even though theres no foreign invader. The inflammation causes pain, stiffness and swelling of the synovial membrane, which can also wear away your cartilage.

    What Are The Stages Of Arthritis Of The Knee

    There are five stages of osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis that affects your knees:

    • Stage 0 . If youre at stage 0, your knees are healthy. You dont have arthritis of the knee.
    • Stage 1 . Stage 1 means that youve got some wear and tear in your knee joint. You probably wont notice pain.
    • Stage 2 . The mild stage is when you might start to feel pain and stiffness, but theres still enough cartilage to keep the bones from actually touching.
    • Stage 3 . If youre at the moderate stage, youll have more pain, especially when running, walking, squatting, and kneeling. Youll likely notice it after long periods of rest . You’re probably in a great deal of pain because the cartilage has narrowed even further and there are many bone spurs.
    • Stage 4 . Severe osteoarthritis means that the cartilage is almost gone. Your knee is stiff, painful and possibly immobile. You might need surgery.

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    What Causes Pfp Syndrome

    Patellofemoral pain syndrome is an overuse disorder. These happen when someone does the same movements that stress the knee over and over again.

    In PFP syndrome, repeated bending and straightening the knee stresses the kneecap. Its most common in athletes.

    Some people with PFP syndrome have a kneecap that is out of line with the thighbone . The kneecap can get out of line, or wiggle as it moves along the thighbone, because of muscle weakness, trauma, or another problem. If this happens, the kneecap doesnt glide smoothly over the thighbone when the knee bends and straightens. The kneecap gets injured and this causes the pain of PFP syndrome.

    Youre Trying To Relax

    Why Are My Joints Stiff In The Morning?

    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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    Are Any Investigations Necessary

    Plain radiography is the first-line imaging modality for the assessment of knee pain in this patient population. The EULAR group considers plain radiography the current gold standard for structural assessment of knee osteoarthritis. Magnetic resonance imaging is not required to make the diagnosis of osteoarthritis, nor is it helpful in making decisions about currently available interventions. Inappropriate use of magnetic resonance imaging is costly and can result in the detection and treatment of incidental meniscal tears. Degenerative meniscal tears are very common in patients with osteoarthritis and do not require operative treatment.

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    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.

    Coping Strategies For Runners With Anterior Knee Pain:

    Do These 9 Things to End Morning Joint Pain
    • A shorter stride: a shorter stride allows you to control your pelvic drop better.
    • A higher cadence : This also minimizes your pelvic drop and other gait abnormalities.
    • Avoiding hilly terrain until the pain has lessened.
    • Progressive, intelligent training. Consider using apps such as HRV4Training, Training Peaks or TrainAsOne.
    • Patella taping: See the video at the end of this post.
    • Orthotics or shoe inserts: These have been shown to work in some of you.
    • Prevention: Keep your glutes/ hip abductors / core strong. See the exercise videos at the end of this post.

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