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Burning Pain in Knee

Burning Pain in Knee

Do you often experience sharp pain in your knee? Are you finding it difficult to bend the knee? If your answer is 'yes', then you are on the right page. Along with the causes and symptoms of burning pain in knee, treatment options for painful knees are described in this article. Scroll down....
Leena Palande
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
Knee is one of the most used joints and so is an important joint. The thigh bone (femur) meets the largest lower bone (tibia) in the knee. The knee cap (patella) lies in the front side of the joint. Synovial sac is the lining membrane in the joint, which produces synovial fluid. This fluid acts as a lubricant and promotes smooth movement of your knees. It acts exactly same as the oil lubricant of a moving part of a machine. Muscles, cartilages, tendons and ligaments are the other tissues that constitute the joint.
There are shock absorbers like 'menisci' and 'bursae' which act as cushions for the areas of friction in the joint. Any type of functional problem in any part of the knee-joint can lead to burning pain in knee. Knee is a complex joint which gives you a considerable range when it comes to mobility. It allows you to bend, straighten, rotate, glide or roll around, according to your wish.
Knee Pain Causes
The signs and symptoms of burning pain in one knee or in both the knees may vary widely; because of the complex structure of the joint and because of the active participation of your knees in various activities, over the entire lifespan.
1. Knee pain can be a symptom of different diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), osteoarthritis, etc. ITBS is one of the common causes of knee pain in runners.

2. Painful knee can be experienced during different conditions like cold, diabetes, heat/chemical/sun burn, sciatica, cerebrovascular accident or knee injury, etc.
3. Sometimes, you suddenly stumble or fall; when the knee 'gives out'. You may experience sudden sharp pain and/or painful clicking in the knee. When a meniscal cartilage is torn, torn flaps of the cartilage may get trapped in the knee bones, leading to severe pain.

4. Knee joint is one of the most vulnerable joints of the body. The joint is highly prone to injury. Knee injury can cause inflammation of the bursae (bursitis). Warmth, swelling and redness over the inflamed area is noticed in case of an injury. A patient with an injured knee is likely to have burning pain while bending (while walking or going upstairs or downstairs) the knee.
5. Sometimes, the knee gets stuck (locked) in one position and you are not able to straighten your leg. This can lead to severe pain. Torn meniscal cartilage or a loose piece of cartilage or bone in the knee-joint can lead to locking of the knee. The condition requires proper examination and prompt treatment by an orthopedic surgeon. Inflammatory arthritis, gout, septic arthritis, etc. can also cause locking of the knee. In case of patients diagnosed with gout (generally young adults), intense and sudden pain in knee, without any warning can be experienced. Patello femoral pain is observed in young adults, especially, in athletes and also in older adults who have knee cap arthritis.
6. Excessive stress on the knee may lead to burning pain. The pain may last for a short period or may continue for a longer period. Obesity or excessive weight can cause knee pain while bending or walking.

7. Pain in knees can be sometimes due to peripheral nerve compression or peripheral nerve trauma. The nerves of the knee are connected to the spine and hence, injury to back can lead to knee pain. Numbness or tingling sensation or burning pain can be a symptom of a damaged sensory nerve.
8. Injured knee ligament, tendon or meniscus can cause severe pain. In such cases, a patient won't be able to straighten the knee. Sharp pain is experienced even while resting.

9. Tearing of a ligament can result in unstable ligament. This can lead to sharp pain and sudden fall or stumbling.

10. Softening of the cartilage under the knee-cap is known as chondromalacia and it is quite common in young women.
11. Dislocated knee cap is a major and serious cause of burning knee pain and is observed when patella slips out of its place. It can be easily seen from outside. Excessive movement of the knee cap from side to side can be felt.

12. In case of athletic teens and preteens, overuse of knee-joint leads to swelling and pain in the joint, which is known as Osgood-Schlatter disease.
Symptoms
Burning pain in the back or in the front part of the knee, pain when kneeling, straightening, standing, walking is one of the common symptoms of almost all conditions mentioned above. Swelling, general discomfort and stiffness or loss of flexibility of the joint is noticed in some cases. Some patients may have a low-grade fever too.
Treatment
The causes of knee pain may vary from person to person. Treatment for the pain can be designed after knowing the exact underlying cause. Prompt diagnosis and proper treatment play an important role in relieving the pain and discomfort. X-rays, MRI, arthroscopy (keyhole surgery of the knee), etc. help detect the problem. Sometimes, fine needle aspiration of fluid is done to find out the cause behind burning pain in the knee.
If the pain is not disabling or very severe, applying ice for 10 to 20 minutes, 3 or more times a day or placing the knee in elevated position or just resting, will be helpful. Avoid alcoholic beverages, hot packs or even hot showers as they might worsen the condition. When swelling is gone, you can apply heat and start with low intensity exercises. You can take an anti-inflammatory non steroidal drug to reduce inflammation and pain.
Depending upon the cause, wrapping the knee with an elastic bandage can help improve the condition. Massage with oils or ointments helps improve blood flow in the area and gives instant relief. As smoking affects blood supply and delays tissue repair, one should avoid smoking. Leg exercises for bad knees help a lot to overcome the pain caused by cold, aging etc. Regular knee exercises help keep the knees fit and active.
If you have worrisome or unbearable sustained pain, you should consult a physician. Corticosteroid injections and hyaluronic acid shots help lower stiffness, swelling and pain in the knee. The effect usually lasts for a few months. Various types of braces help protect and support the knee-joint. Wearing perfect shoes helps avoid excess pressure on the knee. Physical therapy helps strengthen the muscles around the joint. An injured ligament is sometimes repaired by performing a surgery. Severely injured patients or elderly patients may have to undergo a partial or total knee replacement surgery.
As knees bear the weight of the body, maintaining your weight within the normal range for your height can help prevent knee problems. Regular exercise and healthy diet help maintain the health of the joints. Sports persons and athletes should take proper precautions to avoid knee injuries and they should follow instructions of doctors and trainers religiously.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.