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4 Types of Knee Pain and Their Causes

How Posture, Behavior, and Undiagnosed Medical Conditions Can Create Knee Pain

Roughly 25 percent of adults struggle with knee pain. The causes for this are extremely varied, and can depend on your lifestyle, posture, sitting habits, or perhaps a medical condition.

In this article, we will examine different types of knee pain and the common causes behind them.

Common Types of Knee Pain

For knee pain, the ends of the bones that are surrounded with protective tissue deteriorates. Due to the cartilage breaking down, the joints rub together which results in inflammation, stiffness, and pain for even the most common actions including:

  • Knee pain when squatting or kneeling down
  • Knee pain when crossing legs
  • Knee pain when sitting (or standing up from a seated position)
  • Knee pain when walking down stairs

Sitting Too Long

If you sit down for too long, you may notice some painful symptoms. This includes knee pain when standing up from a sitting position.

According to Harvard Medical School, sitting for more than six to eight hours a day could be bad for your knees and your overall health. Many people have jobs that require them to sit for roughly that amount of time every day, and relaxing in front of the TV after work is a common pastime.

The best way to remedy this situation: take frequent breaks. Get up and walk around every half hour, or every hour. Whether you’re working a desk job or binge-watching a streaming show, it’s always a good idea to get up and move around a little throughout the day.

Additionally, if you’re sitting with your legs crossed for long periods of time, this could cause your knees to become misaligned. If you are experiencing knee pain when crossing legs, try to sit with straight legs as much as possible.

Sitting In The Wrong Chair

If you’re not utilizing the right furniture, it could be hurting your knees, especially if you’re spending a large portion of your day in this chair.

The Mayo Clinic recommends doing the following to ensure proper ergonomics:

  • Make sure your spinal curves are suppoorted
  • Your thighs should be parallel to the ground when your feet are resting flat on the ground. Your knees should be at 90-degree angles. Raise or lower your chair if this isn’t happening (or find something to rest your feet on)
  • Your arms should rest naturally on the armrest with your shoulders relaxed
  • The top of your monitor should meet your eye line

A standing desk may also be a good solution for those who experience knee pain when sitting.


There is a strong correlation between people who are overweight and people who experience knee pain, as well as and other types of joint pain.

There is also a connection between obesity and osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis. One study found that 3.7 percent of people with a BMI (body mass index) of 18.5 – 25 have knee-related osteoarthritis while 19.5 percent of people with a higher BMI (35 – 39.9) have osteoarthritis of the knee.

Being overweight or obese places a high strain on the knees, which can result in inflammation and diseases like osteoarthritis.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFP)

Patellofemoral pain (PFP), also known as runner’s knee, is a common source of knee pain. Essentially, PFP results from knee joint overuse, an injury to the kneecaps, or knee and hip muscle imbalance. It can also result from knee abnormalities or muscle weakness.

It involves pain in the patellofemoral joint, which is where your kneecap and thighbone connect at the front of your knee.

Roughly 50 percent of people with PFP have problems sitting for long period of time with bent knees. People who experience knee pain when walking down stairs or knee pain when squatting down may be experiencing PFP.

Chondomalacia Patellae

A closely-related condition is chondromalacia patellae, or CMP. It is the most common cause of anterior knee pain in young people, with one in four people suffering from it. If you feel pain above knee cap when squatting, or a sharp needle-like pain in knee when kneeling, this may be related to CMP or PFP.

CMP occurs when the patella (a.k.a. kneecap) goes through degenerative changes over time. Specifically, it refers to the softening of the cartilage on the kneecap. Instead of gliding over the knee, the kneecap rubs against the thighbone.

CMP can also result from injury or if the kneecap is not properly aligned with the thigh bone, causing a breakdown of cartilage when the leg moves. CMP is common in women, especially young women who are vulnerable due to periods of rapid growth.


Arthritis involves the swelling or inflammation of joints, causing pain and stiffness. If arthritis occurs in the knees, it could be responsible for painful symptoms.

Different types of arthritis can have different causes. Osteoarthritis, for example, is caused by the gradual degradation of cartilage in the joints.

Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, are autoimmune disorders. They are caused by a specific disease rather than lifestyles or behavior.

If you have arthritis in your knees, you will likely experience stiffness, swelling, popping/cracking sounds, and a lack of flexibility.

Finding Solutions for Knee Pain

Some may find that changes in lifestyles, behaviors, habits, or furniture could have positive effects on knee pain. For others, knee pain may be a symptom of a condition like arthritis or chondromalacia patellae.

If you have any questions about the treatments we provide here at Novus Anti-Aging Center in Studio City & Los Angeles, California, fill out the contact us form and one of our specialists will reach out to you.

UP NEXT: The Difference Between Rheumatoid Arthritis & Osteoarthritis

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