Knee pain at night is a common problem, as by the time the night falls and you finally lay to rest, the day’s activities finally catch up to you, causing worsened knee pain. Nightly knee pain can keep you awake, disturbing your sleep and thus causing even greater health problems.
The likelihood of experiencing knee pain at night grows with age. Nighttime pain is also commonly seen in overweight or obese individuals, or those put an added stress on the knee through strenuous activities.
To better understand knee pain at night, we will outline the common causes and share how you can treat knee pain at night from the comfort of your own home.
Knee pain at night causes
Common causes of knee pain at night include sprains and strains, anterior knee pain, menisci or cartilage damage, osteoarthritis tendonitis, bursitis, torn ligaments or tendons, bleeding into the joint, Osgood Shatler’s disease, gout, septic arthritis, overuse, and obesity.
Osteoarthritis: This is the most common cause of knee pain at night because when you lay down the muscles surrounding the knee begin to relax. When cartilage between the bones is thin, as seen in osteoarthritis, the bones end up rubbing against each other, causing pain.
Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease and a form of arthritis. It can contribute to knee pain at night as the immune system wrongfully attacks the joints, thus causing pain and deformity.
Gout: Another type of arthritis, gout is caused by excess uric acid, which forms crystals in the joints, causing pain and swelling. Gout flare-ups are quite common at night.
Trauma or obesity: Injuring the knee or being overweight can cause knee pain at night. Carrying extra weight puts added stress on the knees, so pain can emerge at night when you relax.
Certain medications: Certain medications like statins for cholesterol have been found to lead to nighttime knee pain.
Ankylosing spondylitis: Another autoimmune disease, which typically involves the spine, but may also affects the knees, too. Pain in ankylosing spondylitis worsens when a person is lying down.
Bursitis: This is caused by repetitive movements that cause buildup of fluid over the knee joint. Pain worsens when the knee is bent. The condition is seen in professions like carpet layers and football players.
Septic arthritis: This is a serious painful condition, which is also followed by feelings of unwell and a fever. The knee becomes infected and built-up fluid must be drained for proper treatment.
Tendonitis: Overuse of the knee or injury to the connective tissue is often caused by jumping activities. Tendonitis can cause redness, swelling, and knee pain at night. Ice packs, pain relievers, and rest can often help heal tendonitis.
How to prevent knee pain at night
There are means to help you reduce knee pain at night, such as resting the knee and applying heat or ice to the area before heading to bed. You may also consider taking an over-the-counter pain medication to reduce inflammation prior to going to sleep.
During the day, take the time to exercise the leg muscles in order to strengthen the surrounding muscles of the knee for greater support.
If knee pain at night persists, you will then want to speak to your doctor to uncover exactly what the underlying issue is and get into any treatment plan they may put you on.
Home remedies for knee pain at night
Here are some further prevention tips and home remedies to help you better manage your knee pain at night.
- Avoid carrying heavy objects
- Wear knee guards when engaging in sports and other activities
- Stretch prior to any physical activity
- Use correct techniques when lifting, exercising, or performing any physical activity
- Use appropriate equipment for your size, strength, and ability
- Avoid overuse of the knees and make modifications to prevent it
- Ensure you exercise your legs and perform stretches whenever possible
- Avoid activities that put excess stress on the knees
- Wear proper footwear – avoid heels
- Replace shoes every 300 to 500 miles (480 to 800 kilometers) – this is roughly three months
- Rest your knee
- Apply ice or a heat pack
- Use compression wraps
- Keep the knee elevated
- Use an assistive device like a cane or crutches to avoid added stress on the knee until it begins to feel better
- Get a massage
- Don’t smoke – smoking delays healing as it limits blood circulation
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications
By following these tips, you can help promote relief to your aching knees. If the cause of your knee pain at night is more serious, ensure you follow your doctor’s orders and treatment plan.