Causes Of Knee Pain And Stiffness

Causes Of Knee Pain And Stiffness


Causes Of Knee Pain And Stiffness


What causes knee pain and stiffness?


The most common causes of knee stiffness or tightness are knee ligament or meniscus tear, chronic knee pain, and osteoarthritis. Other possible causes, such as injury to the leg, are more rare.

Traumatic causes of a stiff knee

Causes Of Knee Pain And Stiffness

Stiff knee may be caused by injuries to the joint or surrounding tissues including:

  • Bleeding within the joint space (hemarthrosis)
  • Fracture of any of the bones of the knee
  • Fragments of bone or cartilage within the joint space
  • Sprains and strains
  • Tearing or stretching of the ligaments
  • Tendinitis
  • Tendon rupture
  • Torn ligament or meniscus (cartilage)


Inflammatory causes of a stiff knee


A stiff knee can also be caused by conditions that lead to inflammation in or around the knee joint including:

Causes Of Knee Pain And Stiffness

  • Abscess
  • Ankylosing spondylitis (inflammation of joints between the vertebrae of the spine)
  • Bursitis (inflammation of a bursa sac that cushions a joint)
  • Gout (type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in the joints) and pseudogout
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis (arthritis associated with psoriasis of the skin)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (chronic autoimmune disease characterized by joint inflammation)
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (disorder in which the body attacks its own healthy cells and tissues)

Serious or life-threatening causes of a stiff knee


Rarely, a stiff knee may be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. These include:

  • Bone tumors
  • Osteomyelitis (bone infection)
  • Septic arthritis (infectious arthritis)