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Why Does My Knee Feel Stiff

Urgent Advice: Get Advice From 111 Now If:

7 Stiff Knee Stretches – Ask Doctor Jo
  • your knee is very painful
  • you cannot move your knee or put any weight on it
  • your knee is badly swollen or has changed shape
  • you have a very high temperature, feel hot and shivery, and have redness or heat around your knee this can be a sign of infection

111 will tell you what to do. They can tell you the right place to get help if you need to see someone.

Go to or .

You can also go to an urgent treatment centre if you need to see someone now.

They’re also called walk-in centres or minor injuries units.

You may be seen quicker than you would at A& E.

What Might Be Causing The Tightness In Your Knee: Two Major Reasons

It goes without saying that the feeling of tightness in your knee may be caused by many reasons. That doesn’t mean that there’s no way of categorizing them, though. No matter how long the list gets, the truth is, you can attribute the majority of those recognized causes for knee tightness to one of the categories listed below.

Now, before we dive into the world of possible causes, I’d like to take a moment to give you a piece of advice. As someone who’s leading a very active lifestyle , you should probably do a little research on the topic of the best knee sleeve for running.

How Do I Know If I Tore My Acl Or Mcl

It can be easy to confuse the two injuries, as both a torn ACL and a torn MCL exhibits similar symptoms, including: swelling, inflammation, extreme pain and possible bruising. The main difference between an ACL tear and an MCL tear is that an ACL tear will have a distinctive popping sound, while an MCL tear will not.

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Ligament Or Tendon Injury

Ligaments and tendons are bands of fibrous connective tissue. Ligaments connect bones to other bones, whereas tendons connect muscles to bones.

Injuries to the ligaments or tendons of the knee most often occur during sports or other physical activities.

Ligament or tendon injuries can cause the following symptoms:

  • pain when fully straightening or bending the knee
  • a feeling that the knee is unstable or about to give way


Treatments for ligament or tendon injuries depend on the extent of the damage. A doctor may recommend:

  • wearing a knee brace to help stabilize and protect the knee joint
  • trying muscle-strengthening exercises
  • doing gentle stretches

Some ligament and tendon injuries require surgical intervention by an orthopedic surgeon to restore stability to the knee joint.

What Causes Stiffness Of The Knee

Why Does My Knee Feel Tight? Potential Causes Of 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

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Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Can Help You Find Relief From A Stiff Knee After Sitting

Are you ready to find effective treatment for your knee stiffness? Our team at Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation can help you. We offer comprehensive and free screenings to help you learn the source of your symptoms, and our team can build a personalized therapy plan to target this source. Our plans are built using multiple beneficial therapy techniques, and some of the techniques we may include in your plan are:

What Is Knee Stiffness

There are several different ways to define stiffness, including the overall degree of bend after knee replacement surgery. Patients with knee range of motion that lacks at least 5 degrees of straightening or who can’t bend their knees past 100 degrees are considered to have post-operative fibrosis, which causes stiffness.

In addition, anyone with knee range of motion that is less than it was prior to surgery or who is generally dissatisfied with resulting post-operative motion, may also fall into this category.

Read more:What Exercise Should I Do to Stop the Noise in My Knee Replacement?

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Conditions That May Cause Knee Problems

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.

Exercises And Stretches That May Help

Why is my knee still stiff and mobility limited 8 weeks after meniscus surgery?

In some cases, people with a stiff knee should avoid exercising. Some knee injuries need time to heal and would benefit from rest instead of exercise.

However, a stiff knee that occurs due to a form of arthritis may benefit from exercise. The Arthritis Foundation state that different exercises and stretches could help in different ways:

  • Strengthening exercises: Increasing muscle strength around the knee reduces the stress on the joint. Examples of these exercises include leg lifts and hamstring curls.
  • Range-of-motion exercises: Stretches and exercises that increase the knees range of motion keep the joint moving to reduce stiffness. Examples of these exercises include heel slides and stretching with a yoga strap.
  • Aerobic exercises: Cardio exercises can boost a persons energy levels and reduce any excess weight that may put extra pressure on the knee. Examples of these exercises include cycling and swimming.
  • Balance exercises: These exercises strengthen the muscles around the knee while also reducing the risk of falling, which could damage the joint further. Examples of these exercises include single leg standing and standing on a foam pad.

A person with a form of arthritis may want to discuss any new exercise plans or programs with their doctor before starting.

The following tips can also help prevent or alleviate knee stiffness and pain:

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Knee Stiffness After Sitting Caused By Excess Synovial Fluid:

Synovial fluid is present in all the joints of the body and its function is lubricating the cartilage and reducing friction and providing resiliency against damage. If there is insufficient amount of synovial fluid present, then it causes unnecessary stress or wear and tear on the knee joint which leads to knee stiffness and restriction of movement.

If there is excessive synovial fluid present due to some imbalances or if inflammation is causing accumulation of synovial fluid, then it also causes knee stiffness after sitting and swelling in the knee. Some of the causes of excessive synovial fluid include arthritis, gout, injury and infection.

Getting Your Motion Back

The reason behind the limitation in your knee’s motion will help determine how to go about getting your movement back. If your range-of-motion limitations are caused by infection, hardware issues, heterotopic ossification or CRPS, immediate intervention by your physician may be required as these are more serious in nature.

In the case of tightness caused by arthrofibrosis, however, there are several steps you can take.

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Why Does My Knee Replacement Get Stiff

Arthrofibrosis is also known as stiff knee syndrome. The condition sometimes occurs in a knee joint that has recently been injured. It can also occur after surgery on the knee, such as a knee replacement. Over time, scar tissue builds up inside the knee, causing the knee joint to shrink and tighten.

Exercises For Stiff Knee

Why Does My Knee Feel Tight When Bending?

These exercises can be useful for improving your stiff knee.

Straight Leg Lifts: This exercise helps strengthen the muscles which support the knee. To perform this exercise, lay flat on the ground on your back and lift one leg upward as straight as possible and as high as you can go. Hold this pose for about 10 seconds, slowly return the leg down, and repeat with the other leg. Repeat this move ten times each leg.

Half Squat: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slowly begin to bend your knees to lower yourself down, as if you were to sit in a chair. Only bend as much as you can while being comfortable if you experience pain you have gone too far. Once down, return slowly back up. Repeat this half-squat motion as much as you can.

Hamstring Stretch: Sit on the floor, upright nice and tall. Straighten your legs out in front and relax your feet. Place your palms down by your side and hold essentially your body should be in the letter L position. You should feel a gentle pull on your hamstrings.

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What Are Stiff Joints

Stiff joints are exactly what the name suggests. The discomfort can range in severity. Some cases may be mild and only impact mobility for a short amount of time after sitting or lying down for a long period. Others may be more serious, causing more discomfort and decreased mobility. Inflammation and pain can sometimes occur with stiffness, making walking or standing painful. Stiff joints can be caused or made worse by a number of factors. Not all joint stiffness is caused by aging. The stiffness can be a sign of an underlying condition. Conditions that cause joint stiffness include arthritis, gout, bursitis, lupus, bone cancer, and degenerative joint disease in Atlanta. Diet, weight, and other lifestyle factors can also have an impact on mobility and stiffness.

Physical Therapy For Knee Injuries

The expert team at Armor Physical Therapy has years of combined experience in identifying and treating the underlying cause of knee stiffness and other symptoms. When you come to us, well perform a thorough assessment to identify the source of your knee stiffness. We can then work closely with you to develop a customized treatment plan designed to improve flexibility and range of motion in the knee, while promoting long-term health and injury prevention.

Want to learn more about how we can help? Contact us today to schedule your initial appointment.

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These Conditions And Injuries Can Cause A Stiff Knee Without Pain

It is common to associate stiffness and immobility with pain, but there are some cases where it develops independently. These include:

  • Arthritis As joint cartilage wears down, it can cause stiffness due to a lack of lubrication. For some people, this symptom begins to develop before aches and pains.
  • Muscle tightness The muscles around the knee can become tight with overuse, leading to stiffness. This can often be a precursor to a more painful strain.
  • Ligament injuries A minor ligament sprain may only result in some stiffness at first, but like other injuries, it can quickly become painful if left untreated.

If you are dealing with knee stiffness that has not improved in a short period of time, a physical therapist can help you identify the underlying cause and provide an effective treatment plan.

Final Thoughts On The Subject: Why Does My Knee Feel Tight

Knee Feels Heavy and Tight After Replacement?

As you can see, there’s more than one answer to that question. Depending on your overall health, age, as well as some other factors, such as recent injuries, it’s hard to tell straight away why your knee feels tight.

However, I hope you found what you were looking for today. If you’re still not quite sure what might be making your knee to act up the way it does especially if it never happened before you should probably consider talking to a medical professional.

I’m considering talking about the possible course of treatment for knee tightness, as well as what you can do to prevent it in one of my following articles, so if you’re interested in learning more on the topic, stay tuned!

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Treatment Tips For Knee Stiffness

Depending on the cause of your knee stiffness, your treatment will vary. The following will all most likely be implemented in some way.

PRICE: For early symptoms of knee stiffness, the PRICE principals can help speed up recovery.

  • Protect the joint from further damage with the use of a brace or padding.
  • Rest from aggravating activities that may worsen the .
  • Ice on the affected joint can reduce swelling and knee stiffness.
  • Compression bandages may help support the injured or damaged knee.
  • Elevation of the leg helps excess fluid in the joint drain away.

Avoid prolonged postures: Stiffness as result of sitting for long stretches of time should be avoided by periodically doing some joint movements. Gently bending the knee backward and forwards or getting up to move around helps lubricate the knee and can prevent knee stiffness from settling in.

Supplements: Many supplements claims to reduce the symptoms of knee stiffness. It is important to do your research on these products to see if they are right for you. Speaking to your doctor may also shed more light on the topic.

Increase Knee Flexion With Iastm

If traditional treatments like stretching haven’t been helpful in relieving your stiffness, a specialized form of massage may address your arthrofibrosis. IASTM, short for “instrument-assisted soft tissue massage,” uses metal tools to massage the areas around the knee and can break up the scar tissue that forms and impedes motion.

A 2016 study published in the Journal of Knee Surgery found good improvements in knee flexion among patients who underwent Astym therapy after developing a post-surgical stiff knee. Talk to your physical therapist about making it part of your rehab.

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Whos At Risk Of Arthrofibrosis

There are several different risk factors for developing a stiff knee after surgery. Individuals with decreased range of motion prior to surgery have a greater risk of arthrofibrosis after their operation.

African Americans and patients who are under the age of 45 are also about twice as likely to need surgery to correct their stiffness . Smokers are at a greater risk too.

Knee Stiffness After Sitting Caused By Osteoarthritis Of The Knee:

Biking to Manage Arthritis

There are some people who can experience knees stiffness even after sitting for a couple of minutes. And then there are some people who have knees stiffness after sitting for prolonged periods of time. This should not be taken lightly, as this can be a sign of osteoarthritis.2 In the initial stages, the knee stiffness will subside in a couple of minutes and the person will be able to go about his/her daily activities without any further stiffness or pain. However, as the damage to the knee joint increases, the knee stiffness also worsens and needs medical attention.

Osteoarthritis of the knee joint is characterized by damage to the cartilage which covers the bones. This leads to rubbing of the bones of knees against each other upon movement resulting in pain. As the Knee Osteoarthritis worsens, patient starts to experience knee stiffness after sitting, pain in the knees with walking and limited knee movements. Osteoarthritis of the knee gradually progresses and it takes some years for the cartilage of the knee joint to get damaged. Elderly people are commonly diagnosed with Knee Osteoarthritis.

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Treating A Joint Injury

These conditions are easy to treat. Youâll likely make a full recovery. The first thing to do is give that joint a rest and take an over-the-counter pain medication. Your doctor will probably give you a splint to wear and tell you to put ice on it. They might show you some exercises to do, too. If that doesnât help, they could inject a stronger drug straight into the bursa or tendon to manage pain and swelling.

Feels Like: Pain On Outside The Knee That Extends Up To The Hip

Might be: IT band syndrome

Its name might sound daunting, but IT band syndrome is actually super treatable. The iliotibial band is a long band of tissue that runs down the side of the hip and attaches to the side of the knee. Runners, cyclists, and anyone else who repeatedly bends and straightens the knee are most likely going to overuse the muscles attached to the IT band. The tightness can cause rubbing of the band over the side of the knee, causing inflammation and pain, Tanaka says.

But because the IT band is “firmly and uniformly anchored to the femur like a barnacle to a ship, Rethorn says, it can be very difficult if not impossible to stretch. However, relative rest, like taking an extra day off of working out, and using a foam roller on the outside of the leg and knee can help.

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