Why Do My Knees Hurt When Bending?

Knee pain has many causes 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 up 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 things, including arthritis, overuse or sports injuries. All of these can result in knee pain when bending or activating the knee joint. Some knee aches will 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.

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 movement that is responsible for the overuse will cause the pain to flare up again.


Arthritis in the knee is a degenerative disease that will worsen with time unless properly treated. Arthritic joints may be most painful and stiff immediately after waking up and vary in intensity when walking or performing daily activities.

Treating Knee Pain When Bending

Acute injuries that result in knee pain when bending may be treated at home with rest and self care. However, more severe injuries will require a comprehensive evaluation with one of The Orthopaedic Institute’s expert physicians. Request your appointment online today or call (352) 336-6000 to begin your complete diagnosis and treatment plan.