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Sudden Knee Pain

Mayuri Kulkarni May 10, 2019
Knee pain is a common health ailment that needs immediate treatment. Enlisted here are the different causes of sudden knee pain and their treatment.
Sudden knee pain, also called acute knee pain, is a common complaint, especially among the elderly. Injuries and stress over the knee joint are some of its common causes in children and adults. In older people, the pain can be a result of arthritis, gout, or overuse of the joint.

Causes and Treatment


Knee dislocation is a medical emergency and should be treated at the earliest. It refers to the dislocation of the kneecap, which is located between the bones of the foreleg and the thigh. It is also called patella, and is a triangular shaped bone. Its dislocation causes it to slide towards the side.
It is very painful, and is a result of sudden trauma, due to too much pressure applied on the joint. Acute pain and swelling are its symptoms. The condition needs urgent medical help.

Strain and Sprain

Strain is a common cause of sudden knee pain. It is also referred as muscle pull and is caused due to excessive stress and overuse of the joint. Sometimes, the pull can occur while performing exercises that involve stretching. Soreness and tenderness are common symptoms of this disorder. It is nothing, but injury to the ligament present around the joint.
There are four different types of ligaments in the joint, i.e., the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), lateral collateral ligament (LCL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL). Thus, a sprain is a result of sudden twist or wrench motions that slight stretch or tear of any of these ligaments. 
Its symptoms are similar to knee strain, but they can be very dangerous, if timely treatment is not provided. Minor sprain can be treated with physical therapy and exercises, while serious ones may have to be operated.


If you experience acute knee pain at night, you can be suffering from gout. Gout can be defined as a sudden severe pain in any joint of the body, which can be the big toe joint, knees, ankles, wrists, etc. Though gout mostly affects the big toe joint, it can also cause sudden and severe pain in the knee joint.
It is basically a result of accumulation of urate crystals in a joint. These crystals are formed due to increased uric acid levels in the blood. Uric acid is actually the waste product formed after metabolism of purine, which is present in certain food items. It is a waste product which is removed from the body in the form of urine. 
The level of uric acid in blood increases due to excess consumption of high purine foods, or when the kidneys fail to flush out the uric acid from the body. These crystals cause redness, swelling, and tenderness of the affected joint and lead to severe acute pain, usually during night. Health experts recommend a low purine diet to prevent the gout attacks. 
Certain medications that prevent the formation of uric acid are also prescribed. Gout should not be ignored, and timely treatment should be taken, else it may cause serious consequences.


Fracture of a knee can refer to fracture of patella, femur, or tibia. Sudden fall on the knee, is one of the common reasons that leads to a fracture. It has similar symptoms as the sprain, and hence, many a time it goes unnoticed and is mistaken as a ligament tear. Minor bone fractures can be treated with casting, while severe fractures may require surgery.
Sudden knee pain can cause severe problems if left untreated. Moreover, since there are so many causes, it is necessary that the actual cause is diagnosed properly. Do not neglect the pain, do take immediate treatment to stay fit and healthy.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.