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Common Causes of Knee Pain and How to Prevent It

Knee pain can occur at any age. Up to 1 in 3 young adults experience pain, stiffness, and weakness in the knee. In older adults, osteoarthritis, which can occur in the knee, is the biggest cause of disability.

While knee pain is becoming more common, you have ways to fight back. Below, Interventional Pain Management Services’ specialist, Dr. Mahendra Gunapooti, shares some of the most common causes of knee pain and gives a few tips for decreasing your risk of developing knee issues.

Common causes of knee pain

Curious about what’s causing issues in your knee? Let’s look at a few potential culprits.

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries 

Do you play sports that involve changes in direction, sudden stops, landing after a high jump, or knee contact? 

ACL injuries are common in both professional and recreational sports, and they’re often accompanied by a pop in the knee when the ligament gets injured. Other symptoms of ACL injuries include pain, swelling, instability, and the inability to bear weight on your knee.


One of the joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis is the knee. Osteoarthritis breaks down knee cartilage – the material that cushions the ends of the bones in the knee.

When there’s less cartilage to provide a cushion between the bones, stiffness, pain, and loss of joint movement can occur. 

Knee bursitis 

Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa, a fluid sac located next to your knee joint that acts as a cushion to relieve tension on your knee bones, tendons, and muscles.

Inflammation of the bursa is more common in those who are overweight or obese, those who work jobs that include a lot of kneeling, and those who play contact sports.

Common symptoms of knee bursitis include swelling, tenderness, and pain.

Tips for preventing knee pain

Knee pain is often caused or exacerbated by overuse, inflammation, and lifestyle. Here are some tips that will help you fight back.

Wear knee pads 

Does your job force you to stay on your knees for prolonged periods of time? 

Knee pads provide your knees with the cushion they need. You can also use knee pads if you play sports that put your knees at risk of injury. 

Train smarter

Knee issues are so common in runners that there’s a term for it: runner’s knee.

Pain from runner’s knee is caused by overuse of joints and tendons in the knee. Although constantly challenging yourself may seem a good idea, repetitive movements without rest days between workouts may injure your muscles, joints, and tendons. 

The solution? Aim for shorter workouts, and avoid working out the same muscles on simultaneous days. 

Lose weight to decrease your inflammation levels 

Carrying a few extra pounds doesn’t just make it harder for your joints and tendons to cope with the extra pressure, but it also causes a pro-inflammatory state in your body.

The good news is that losing even 10 pounds can reduce the load on your knees by 40 pounds, and it can even reduce your inflammation levels. 

When to see a specialist

Knee pain that lasts more than a week and doesn't improve with rest and anti-inflammatories could be a sign of an underlying condition that requires medical attention. Pain accompanied by swelling and fever is a sign you need immediate medical care.

Is knee pain making your life a nightmare? Contact us to schedule an appointment at our St. Louis, Missouri, or Granite City, Illinois, offices to find out what’s causing your discomfort and what treatment options are available for you.

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