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Why Do My Knees Hurt When Bending?

Knee pain has many origins unrelated to an underlying disease. Injuries due to trauma, overuse or overexertion are common causes of knee pain. Many Americans experience knee pain when bending specifically, which can be troublesome when we don’t know the exact reason behind it.

Experts estimate that for every pound we weigh, our knees can be subject to four to six times that pressure when we bend them and/or place them in a weight bearing position. Therefore, bending, climbing stairs and squatting can make certain areas of the knee ache with pain.

Causes of Knee Pain

Knee pain when bending may be the result of any number of causes, including arthritis, overuse or sports injuries. All of these can result in knee pain when bending or activating the knee joint. Some knee discomfort may have a clear and obvious cause. For example, if you fell on your knee during an athletic exercise, it is safe to assume that is why your knee hurts. Other causes of knee pain, such as arthritis or a degenerative condition, will require a clinical evaluation and expert diagnosis.

Traumatic Injuries

Traumatic injuries are causes of knee pain that you will likely notice right away. Directly following the injury, or perhaps up to 24 hours later, the knee will begin to swell as pain and inflammation set in. Traumatic injuries typically occur during sports, falls, work-related accidents or car accidents. Direct impact and twisting are common mechanisms of injury.

Overuse Injuries

Overuse injuries develop slowly over time as the knee goes through consistent use and overexertion. This type of injury will result in pain that comes and goes with varying intensity. Typically, performing the activity that is responsible for the overuse will cause the pain to flare up again.


Arthritis in the knee is a degenerative or inflammatory condition that will worsen with time unless properly treated. Arthritic joints may be most painful and stiff immediately after waking up or being sedentary and vary in intensity when walking or performing daily activities. Body weight, weather conditions, and other factors may also play a role.

Treating Knee Pain When Bending

Conditions that result in knee pain when bending may be initially treated at home with rest/ice/compression/elevation and self-care. However, more severe injuries or arthritis will require a comprehensive evaluation with one of The Orthopaedic Institute’s specialty physicians. Request your appointment online today or call (352) 309-1437 to begin your comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan. We are here to help get rid of your knee pain, and get you back to having fun and enjoying your activities again!

Dr. Duke is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in adult reconstructive surgery, total and partial knee resurfacing, anterior lateral approach total hip replacement, knee arthroscopy and sports medicine.

Dr. Duke became an orthopedic surgeon because he was mentored by a wonderful hometown orthopedic surgeon who allowed him to observe surgery. As he went through his medical school rotations, Dr. Duke was drawn to orthopedics and felt that it was the best specialty for him to utilize his talents in caring for patients.

What sets Dr. Duke apart is how he listens and communicates. He treats all of his patients like family. Dr. Duke has practiced medicine in the same location for 28 years and has performed over 10,000 total joint replacements. He and his caring staff want the absolute best for their patients.

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