What’s Wrong With My Knee? Your Guide to the Most Common Knee Problems

Injury, illnesses, and general wear and tear of the knees can make moving from work to sports to home life a painful experience. While there are many conditions that can affect various parts and functions of the knee, some of the most common knee problems fall into the following diagnoses, affecting adults, teenagers, and children.


A knee’s complex design includes eight small sacs called bursae that cushion joints to reduce friction. When bursae become inflamed, a condition known as bursitis results. Bursitis in the kneecap or patella region can cause extreme knee problems and pain, limiting mobility. Taking anti-inflammatory medication can help reduce inflammation for comfort. 


Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disorder that most commonly causes extreme pain for adults over the age of 60. With this condition, the knee joint steadily shrinks with internal sections of knee becoming jagged. Bones begin to rub together and mobility declines as pain sets in. Steroid injections, surgery, and topical solutions can provide pain relief.

Poor Ankle Mobility

When ankles move in an unnatural inward position, it results in poor ankle flexibility, promoting risk for knee pain. Participating in sports and other activities with this condition adds stress to the knee, causing pain and even injury over time.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Runners, hikers, and weightlifters tend to overuse the connective tissues of the outer thighs. This constant flexing, extending, and rubbing causes the iliotibial tendon to become inflamed, leading to pain and knees problems. Acupuncture, stretching, and massage are often used for treatment. 


Commonly seen as a cause of knee pain for adults and children, tendinitis affects the tendon that connects the shin bone and kneecap. Exercises that require knee-bending, jumping, and running cause inflammation or degeneration of the patellar tendon, damaging it for chronic pain and chronic knee problems.

Popliteal Cyst

A popliteal cyst develops as a fluid-filled bulge in the back of the knee, usually as a result of arthritis or gout. Symptoms include a general feeling of tightness behind the knee, mild pain in the calf, stiffness, and swelling. You may also hear a clicking or popping sound coming from your knee. These cysts often go away on their own, although they can be drained by a physician for relief.

Runner’s Knee

The wrong footwear, muscle imbalances, or sudden increase in exercise intensity can cause runner’s knee, formally known as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. This occurs when there is an imbalance in the forces performing patellar tracking during extension and flexion. Taking time off to rest, stretch, and strengthen the knee area helps alleviate pain.

Torn Meniscus

Made of dense and ductile cartilage, the rubbery, c-shaped diminutive meniscus acts as a cushion between the shin bone and the thigh bone. A sudden excessive turn or twist of the knee under full weight can cause it to tear. Surgery or physical therapy can help restore the region for pain-free activity and no more knee problems.
RMC expert orthopaedic doctors, surgeons, nurses, and rehabilitation staff provide a full range of treatment options for knee problems. Contact us to learn more.