10 Causes of Knee Pain When Bending and How to Fix Them

Have you felt pain ‍when you bend your knee? Knee pain can be uncomfortable and bring a lot of inconvenience to your life. The knee joint is the largest joint in your body. It comprises several bones, ligaments, tendons, and other tissues that work together to enable smooth, controlled movement. Over time, repeated actions or activities can cause Osteoarthritis and tear injuries to this joint. This article the common causes of knee pain when bending and how to fix them. Let’s read on!

Knee Pain When Bending
Knee pain when bending:symptoms, causes and treatment

10 Causes of Knee Pain When Bending

There are many causes of knee pain when bending.

1. Runner’s Knee

The patellar tendon runs from the patellar (kneecap) to the tibia (shin bone) and connects the knee cap to the shin bone. Though the knee creates most of the pressure when bending, the patellar tendon receives 50% of the pressure.

If you have a job that requires a lot of kneeling, you might have Runner’s knee. This is an overuse injury. Squatting with the knees not aligned with the feet puts excess pressure on the patellar tendon.

2. Knee Ligament Injuries

Knee ligament injuries are another common cause of knee pain when bending. The most vulnerable knee ligaments when bending are the medial collateral ligament (MCL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

MCL Sprain – The MCL is the primary stabilizer of the inner knee joint. When you bend your knee, the muscles around the knee joint contract, and there is a pull on the MCL. This pulls the ligament apart, leading to a strain or sprain. MCL sprains are common in sports like basketball and football, especially if the foot is planted at an angle and the knee is bent to take the force.

PCL Sprain – The PCL prevents the tibia from sliding towards the other knee joint and the femur. The PCL is more likely to get injured when the foot is planted perpendicular to the knee.

ACL Sprain – The ACL is the primary stabilizer of the lateral knee joint. When you run and suddenly stop, the knee bends to receive the impact. This makes the ACL vulnerable to injury. ACL sprains are common in sports like football, basketball, and soccer.

3. Lateral Meniscus Tear

The knee has two menisci, or cartilage pads – the medial meniscus and lateral meniscus. The kneecap rests between these two menisci. The menisci are fibrocartilage pads that act as shock absorbers, distributing the pressure on the knee joint.

An injury to one of the menisci can be a very painful experience. The majority of knee pain when bending is due to a torn meniscus. Torn meniscus symptoms include swelling, knee stiffness, and pop or snap when bending the knee.

A torn meniscus can be a chronic condition and may require surgery. Surgery is necessary if the torn meniscus leads to degenerative changes in the knee.

4. Knee Arthritis

Knee arthritis is a degenerative disease in which there is inflammation, swelling, and abnormal wear and tear of the joint. People with knee arthritis often suffer from knee pain when bending.

Arthritis of the knee joint can also cause joint swelling and pain, making it difficult to bend the knee. There are different types of knee arthritis: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, and degenerative arthritis. The best way to prevent knee arthritis is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

5. Sprain

Knee sprains occur when you overstretch or twist the knee ligaments. Sprains can be minor, moderate, or severe. A minor sprain is a stretch of the ligament. A mild sprain is a partial ligament tear that may require surgery.

A severe sprain is a complete tear of the ligament. Symptoms of a knee sprain include swelling, pain, and a feeling of instability in the knee. A knee sprain can occur when you land awkwardly after a jump, when you trip and fall, or when you are playing sports.

6. Improper Body Posture

Improper body posture can cause various health issues, and knees are no exception. If you have a job requiring you to be seated for long periods, you may unknowingly be putting unnecessary stress on your knees.

If you have poor posture, you put unnecessary stress on your knees. This can cause swelling, discomfort, and pain. It can also lead to achy knees if you have bad posture when standing. You may not even realize that you have poor posture, which is why it’s essential to be mindful of your posture and correct it if you notice any negative effects.

7. Bursitis

Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that cushions joints. The bursa around your knees can become inflamed, causing pain when bending your knees. Bursitis usually occurs in one or both knees. The cause of bursitis is often unknown.

Activities that may increase your risk of bursitis include kneeling for long periods, working in a kneeling position, or having a physically demanding job. Sitting for long periods without moving often can aggravate bursitis, especially in a cramped position.

8. Bakers Cyst

The pressure on the knee can be very painful for people with bakers cysts, making even basic movements such as bending over to pick something up quite uncomfortable.

For people with this condition, it’s recommended to exercise and move the knees in a position of mechanical advantages, such as being in an extended position. Knee pads can be beneficial in reducing the pressure on the joint and making movements easier and pain-free.

9. Housemaids Knee

When you squat, the knees must bend to a certain degree, but if they bend too far, they can cause pain and injury. Knee pain while bending is often due to a condition called “patellofemoral syndrome,” a fancy name for “your knees are bending too far.” This is a common cause of knee pain in housemaids. Knee pads can help, but you can also reduce the risk of knee pain by bending your knees less when you clean.

10. Medical Conditions

Medical conditionsOsteoarthritisatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis, and gout are common causes of knee pain when bending. Gout is a medical condition that causes sudden and severe pain and swelling in the joints, especially in the big toe.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes pain, swelling, and joint stiffness. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that affects the cartilage in the joints. When these diseases are treated with medication, the knee pain will subside.

12 Home Remedies for Pain When Bending Your Knee

1. RICE Method: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation

Why it works: The RICE method is a time-tested approach to manage acute knee pain caused by injuries or inflammation. Resting the knee allows damaged tissues to heal, while ice reduces swelling and numbs the pain. Compression helps stabilize the joint, and elevation reduces fluid buildup.

Step-by-step guide:

  1. Rest: Avoid putting weight on the affected knee. Use crutches if necessary and refrain from activities that aggravate the pain.
  2. Ice: Apply an ice pack wrapped in a thin cloth to the painful area for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours.
  3. Compression: Use a compression bandage to wrap the knee firmly but not too tight, ensuring proper blood circulation.
  4. Elevation: Prop up your leg on a pillow or cushion when sitting or lying down to reduce swelling.

2. Gentle Knee Exercises

Why it works: Gentle exercises help strengthen the muscles around the knee, providing better support and stability. They also improve flexibility, reducing the risk of further injuries.

Step-by-step guide:

  1. Straight Leg Raises: Sit or lie down with one leg straight. Lift the affected leg slowly to a 45-degree angle and hold for a few seconds. Lower it down and repeat 10-15 times on each leg.
  2. Hamstring Curls: Stand straight, holding onto a chair for support. Bend the affected knee, bringing your heel towards your buttocks. Slowly lower it down and repeat 10-15 times on each leg.
  3. Quadriceps Contractions: Sit with both legs straight. Tighten the thigh muscles of the affected leg and hold for 5 seconds. Release and repeat 10-15 times.

3. Heat Therapy

Why it works: Applying heat to your knee can increase blood flow, promoting healing and relaxation. It also helps reduce muscle tension and soothes the pain.

Step-by-step guide:

  1. Moist Heat Pack: Soak a towel in warm water, wring out the excess, and apply it to the painful knee for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Heating Pad: Use an electric heating pad on a low setting and place it on the affected area for the recommended time.

4. Turmeric and Ginger Tea

Why it works: Both turmeric and ginger possess anti-inflammatory properties that can aid in reducing knee pain. Consuming them in the form of tea can offer soothing relief.

Step-by-step guide:

  1. Ingredients: Boiling water, 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon of grated ginger, honey (optional).
  2. Instructions: Boil water and add turmeric and ginger. Let it steep for 5-10 minutes. Add honey if desired for taste. Drink this tea 2-3 times a day.

5. Massage and Essential Oils

Why it works: Massaging your knee with essential oils, such as lavender or eucalyptus, can help alleviate pain and improve blood circulation, promoting healing.

Step-by-step guide:

  1. Choose the Oil: Select a high-quality essential oil known for its anti-inflammatory properties, like lavender or eucalyptus.
  2. Warm the Oil: Gently warm the oil by rubbing it between your palms.
  3. Massage: Use gentle, circular motions to massage the affected area for 5-10 minutes. Apply light pressure and avoid pressing directly on the kneecap.

6. Weight Management

Why it works: Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for reducing the strain on your knee joint. Excess body weight can exacerbate knee pain, so focus on a balanced diet and regular exercise to manage your weight effectively.

Step-by-step guide:

  1. Assess Your Diet: Keep track of your daily calorie intake and make healthier food choices. Incorporate more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your meals.
  2. Regular Exercise: Engage in low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, or cycling to burn calories and improve overall fitness.

7. Epsom Salt Soak

Why it works: An Epsom salt soak can work wonders for sore knees. The magnesium in the salt can ease pain and inflammation.

Step-by-step guide:

  1. Ingredients: Epsom salt, warm water.
  2. Instructions: Fill a basin or bathtub with warm water and add a cup or two of Epsom salt. Stir to dissolve the salt. Soak your knee in the water for 15-20 minutes.

8. Acupuncture

Why it works: Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to alleviate pain. Many individuals find relief from knee pain through regular acupuncture sessions.

Step-by-step guide:

  1. Find a Certified Practitioner: Look for a certified acupuncturist with experience in treating knee pain.
  2. Consultation: During your first visit, discuss your symptoms and medical history with the practitioner.
  3. Acupuncture Session: The practitioner will insert needles into specific points on your body, including around the knee area. You may feel a slight tingling sensation, but it shouldn’t be painful.

9. Yoga and Stretching

Why it works: Participating in yoga or regular stretching exercises can improve knee flexibility and reduce stiffness. Focus on poses that target the knees.

Step-by-step guide:

  1. Child’s Pose: Kneel on the floor with your big toes touching and knees apart. Sit back on your heels and reach your arms forward. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  2. Knee-to-Chest Stretch: Lie on your back with your legs extended. Bring one knee toward your chest, holding it with both hands. Hold for 20-30 seconds and switch to the other leg.

10. Apple Cider Vinegar

Why it works: Apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory properties and can be consumed or applied topically to reduce knee pain.

Step-by-step guide (Internal Use):

  1. Ingredients: 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 cup of warm water, honey (optional).
  2. Instructions: Mix apple cider vinegar and warm water. Add honey if desired for taste. Drink this mixture 2-3 times a day.

Step-by-step guide (External Use):

  1. Ingredients: Apple cider vinegar, water.
  2. Instructions: Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water. Soak a cloth in the mixture and apply it to the painful knee for 15-20 minutes.

11. Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Why it works: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or aspirin can help reduce knee pain and inflammation.

Step-by-step guide:

  1. Follow Dosage Instructions: Read and follow the recommended dosage on the medication’s label.
  2. Take with Food: To minimize the risk of stomach upset, take the medication with food or milk.

12. Cabbage Leaves Compress

Why it works: Cabbage leaves have been used for centuries to soothe joint pain. They contain compounds that reduce inflammation and ease discomfort.

Step-by-step guide:

  1. Prepare the Leaves: Wash and dry fresh cabbage leaves.
  2. Crush the Leaves: Gently crush the leaves using a rolling pin or the flat side of a knife to release their juices.
  3. Apply the Compress: Place the crushed leaves on the painful knee and secure them with a bandage. Leave it on for 1-2 hours or overnight for optimal results.

Medical Treatment for Knee Pain When Bending

1. Physical therapy

Physical therapy can help manage knee pain when bending. A physical therapist can correct the posture, suggest exercises, and recommend medication. These exercises can help improve your knee’s flexibility, strength, and mobility.

2. Medications

The medication for knee pain will depend on the cause and severity of the pain. The common medications include acetaminophen and nonsteroidal or anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

These OTC NSAIDs such as naproxen sodium,ibuprofen can help treat mild to moderate pain. However, there are some potential side effects when you take these drugs. Make sure to consult your doctor before taking medication.

3. Brace

Orthotics and specific shoe inserts can help reduce pressure on your knee. If your knee pain is from an injury, your doctor may suggest you wear a brace. Wearing a knee brace can help reduce the strain on the knee and prevent you from moving. This will speed up the healing time.

4. Surgery

Surgery is only recommended in extreme cases. It is done when the knee pain does not subside, even after medication. Surgery can be done to repair a torn meniscus, ACL tear, and arthritic knee.

When to See a Doctor

If you suffer from this condition, you should consult a doctor:

  • The pain is severe and lasts longer than a few days
  • Sudden onset of knee pain
  • Have diabetes or are at risk of developing diabetes
  • Overweight or have a family history of knee problems

Some knee problems, such as arthritis and knee bone spurs, can only be diagnosed by a doctor. You should see a doctor if you experience knee pain accompanied by swelling, redness, or warmth around the knee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *