All about Sore Knees
Sore Knees
Knee soreness is one of the trickiest types of pain in the knee joint. Though sore knees cause discomfort, the pain experienced may be minor compared to other types of knee pain. However, knee soreness is the body's way of letting us know that something is wrong with our knees and it should not be taken lightly. For example, professional athletes who suffer from knee soreness typically have to sit out of games, even if they think they can "play through it." It's a warning sign of a minor injury that can become worse if not treated. If you have sore knees, you should consult your physician for appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Read below for more information about what to expect if you have sore knees.
What Areas of the Knees Can Become Sore?

Common areas of knee soreness are behind the knee or in the front of the knee, just under the kneecap. Sore knee caps are also sometimes reported due to patellar tendonitis. In some cases the entire knee may be sore or it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact area of knee pain.

What Causes Sore Knees?

Because the knee is a complex joint, there are many different conditions that may cause knee soreness. Sore knees may be caused by simple overuse or it can be a sign of a serious problem, such as a torn ligament. If you are experiencing knee soreness, your doctor may look for these common causes of sore knees:

  • Overuse injury, such as iliotibial band syndrome or tendonitis
  • Arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis
  • Direct trauma, such as torn cartilage (torn meniscus) or a torn ligament
  • Knee sprain or knee strain, usually caused by moving the knee unnaturally
  • Knee bursitis, an inflammation of the cushioning sacs around the knee joint
How Will My Doctor Diagnose My Sore Knee?

In order to determine the appropriate form of treatment for knee pain, your doctor will first need to diagnose the cause of your knee soreness. When you see your doctor, be sure to describe any recent injury and be sure he or she is aware of your medical history. Tell your doctor if there is soreness behind the knee, a sore knee cap, or if the pain is all around.

In addition to reviewing your medical history and recent activity, your doctor may request an imaging test such as an X-ray or MRI to be performed. This will determine if the knee soreness is caused by a ligament or cartilage tear or from a bone injury.

Treatment for Sore Knees

There are many forms of treatment for sore knees and the types of treatment vary depending on the cause of knee soreness. Consult with your doctor for the appropriate treatment for your sore knees. Here's what types of sore knees treatments that are common...

If the sore knee has just begun due to overuse or a physical injury, then most physicians will recommend the RICE method:

  • Rest - Important so you can avoid any physical activity that may exacerbate the issue.
  • Ice - Applying cold to the area may help numb away pain from sore knees and reduce any swelling.
  • Compression - Wrap a bandage or wear a knee sleeve.
  • Elevation - Keep the leg raised on a pillow or chair when seated/lying down.

Your doctor may also recommend over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin. In some cases, heat can help soothe the sore areas of the knee as well. Knee soreness caused by bursitis may also have similar treatments to above (RICE and OTC medications)

In cases where a doctor has discovered a more serious injury, then other types of treatment such as surgery may be needed.

If the knee soreness is due to arthritis:

  • Rest may be initially recommended, then possibly some light exercise or physical therapy to strengthen the areas around the knee.
  • Wearing an arthritis knee brace may help shift weight from the affected areas of the knee to healthier areas of the joint to reduce soreness.
  • Weight loss may also help minimize strain on the joint, thus decreasing knee soreness

If your sore knee comes and goes, it may indicate a chronic knee issue. This is common, especially in athletes. Your doctor may suggest that you limit activities that place excessive strain on the knee joint. Swimming is often recommended as a physical activity that minimizes the types of stress that cause knee soreness. Wearing a knee brace during physical activity may also help minimize the strain on the joint, thus decreasing sore knee issues. Many people report that wearing knee braces have reduced knee soreness and knee pain. Though the results vary from situation to situation, it may be an option for your form of treatment.

Be sure to consult your physician before pursuing any type of treatment for sore knees.