Knee Pains and Arthritis

The Facts

Knee pain is a common complaint and can affect people of any age. Being overweight can increase the risk of knee problems.

Causes of knee pain include:

  • arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis (a progressive, chronic condition that causes the lining of your joints or other body areas to become inflamed), gout, and osteoarthritis (a joint disease that causes the cartilage to break down and bone to overgrow or form cysts)
  • bursitis (inflammation caused by repeated pressure, overuse, or injury)
  • dislocation of the kneecap
  • disorders of the connective tissue (e.g., lupus)
  • infection in the joint
  • injury (e.g., fracture)
  • Osgood-Schlatter’s disease (swelling and tenderness of the bump on the upper part of the shinbone, just below the kneecap)
  • tendinitis (inflammation of the tendons, the tissue that anchors muscles to bones)
  • torn cartilage (e.g., torn meniscus) or torn ligament (e.g., anterior cruciate ligament [ACL] injury)
  • strain or sprain

In many cases of minor knee pain, you do not need to see your physician. Self-care measures (e.g., resting, applying ice, elevating the knee, over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen) can help resolve knee pain. If knee pain is more severe, see your doctor. Depending on the cause, other measures to help knee pain include physical therapy, knee braces, medications, or surgery.


Read more about conditions that can cause knee pain by clicking the links below.