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4 Common Causes of Knee Pain

4 Common Causes of Knee Pain

Nearly everyone experiences knee pain at some point in their lifetime. For some individuals, their sore, stiff, achy knees become a source of chronic discomfort and frustration. Fortunately, knee pain is not usually a sign of a serious medical condition, and in most cases, it is caused by modifiable risk factors.

These are four of the most common causes of knee pain:

1. Muscle Weakness

Strong leg muscles help stabilize the knee to prevent pain and injury. When muscles surrounding the knee, hip, or ankle joint become weak, the knee is often exposed to abnormal forces and strain. Leg muscle weakness can occur due to factors like postural imbalances, residual effects of an old injury, or sedentary activity, especially with advancing age.

2. Footwear

Do you love wearing flip-flops in the summer? Take note of whether you also have knee pain! These types of shoes shorten your natural stride length and typically have no arch support—both factors that can cause knee pain. High-heel shoes also shorten stride length and put excess pressure on the knees.

Ill-fitting footwear can also lead to tissue tightness and mobility restrictions at other joints, such as the hip or ankle, which can further stress the knee.

3. Sleeping

Sleep is supposed to be restorative, but depending on how you sleep, you might wake up in the morning with aches and pains. Side sleepers who have morning knee pain can consider putting a pillow between their knees at night to improve their knee, pelvis, and spine alignment. If you sleep on your back, putting a rolled towel or small pillow under your knees may help prevent knee pain, too.

4. Excess Weight

Imagine this:

As you walk, the force going through your knees is equivalent to about 1.5 times your body weight. For a 150-pound person, that means 225 pounds of pressure goes through their knees with every step. The pressure through the knees increases, even more, when a person is running or walking on uneven surfaces.

With this in mind, it’s clear why carrying around extra weight—even if it’s just a few pounds—can put excess strain on the back, hips, and especially knees. Obesity is also a leading risk factor for osteoarthritis, a common knee pain condition.

The good news is, that healthy lifestyle changes like diet and exercise are effective ways to lose excess weight and manage knee pain. Some people find that consulting with a pain management specialist will help them tolerate increased physical activity.


No matter what’s causing your knee pain, our team at Integrated Pain Solutions can provide individualized treatment to help you start feeling and moving better. Call 614-383-6450 to schedule your consultation.