Read below about pain in the front of the knee, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your pain in the front of the knee from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Pain in the Front of the Knee

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced pain in the front of the knee. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

    The kneecap (patella) is located directly in front of the thigh bone (femur), and should normally glide freely up and down. In this condition, called patellofemoral pain syndrome, the kneecap may rub against the thigh bone instead of gliding smoothly, causing damage and pain.

    Most people get better within weeks to months of physical therapy.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    knee pain, pain in one knee, knee pain that gets worse when going up stairs, dull, achy knee pain, knee pain that gets worse when squatting
    Symptoms that always occur with patellofemoral pain syndrome:
    knee pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Meniscal Injury

    A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries. Any activity that causes forceful twisting of the knee, especially when putting the pressure of one's full weight on it, can lead to a torn meniscus.

    6 to 8 weeks

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one knee, knee stiffness, knee instability, pain in the inside of the knee, swollen knee
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Prepatellar Bursitis

    Prepatellar bursitis occurs when the bursa, a fluid-filled sac, around the knee becomes inflamed and painful.

    Recovery depends on extent of inflammation.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in the front of the knee, swollen knee, knee redness
    Symptoms that always occur with prepatellar bursitis:
    pain in the front of the knee
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Iliotibial (It) Band Syndrome ('Runner's Knee')

    Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome is the lateral knee pain that results from overuse that occurs after repetitive motion. It is the most common cause of lateral knee pain in runners and cyclists.

    Within 6 to 8 weeks with conservative nonsurgical treatment

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    knee pain, pain in one knee, dull, achy knee pain, knee pain that gets worse when going down stairs, sharp knee pain
    Symptoms that always occur with iliotibial (it) band syndrome ('runner's knee'):
    knee pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Pain in the Front of the Knee Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having pain in the front of the knee.

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  5. 5.Infrapatellar Bursitis

    Bursae are small fluid-filled sacks located around the body in strategic locations to provide a cushion and help reduce friction. There is a pair of bursae below each kneecap (patella). Infrapatellar bursitis is a condition where these bursae are inflamed. It is a common cause of knee pain in people whose work involves frequent kneeling on hard surfaces.

    Condition goes away on its own in a few weeks.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one knee, spontaneous knee pain, dull, achy knee pain, knee pain that gets worse when going up stairs, knee pain that gets worse when squatting
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  6. 6.Repeated Kneecap Dislocation (Patellar Subluxation)

    Recurrent patellar subluxation is the continued instability of the kneecap, which causes anterior knee pain and usually occurs laterally. It occurs unpredictably with varying durations.

    Recovery timeline is dependent on treatment type.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one knee, dull, achy knee pain, pain in the front of the knee, pain in the inside of the knee, swollen knee
    Symptoms that always occur with repeated kneecap dislocation (patellar subluxation):
    kneecap dislocation
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Jumper's Knee (Patellar Tendonitis)

    Patellar tendonitis (Jumper's knee) is the inflammation of the patellar tendon, which attaches the knee cap to the shin bone (tibia). This condition is caused by frequently from sports and jumping.

    1 month with rest

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one knee, spontaneous knee pain, knee pain that gets worse when going up stairs, knee stiffness, knee pain that gets worse when squatting
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Osteochondritis Dissecans

    At joints where bones meet, bones are covered with a layer of cartilage which provides shock absorbance and lubrication. Osteochondritis dissecans is a condition where a piece of cartilage with a thin layer of bone detach from the larger bone, causing pain.

    Conservative treatment should resolve the problem in 3-6 months.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one knee, knee stiffness, knee instability, knee pain that gets worse during a run, pop in the knee
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Pain in the Front of the Knee

  • Q.Is the knee pain affecting one or both knees?
  • Q.How would you explain the cause of your knee pain?
  • Q.Do you often feel your knees buckling?
  • Q.Do you feel like your knee is unstable, weak, or giving out?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our pain in the front of the knee symptom checker to find out more.

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Pain in the Front of the Knee Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced pain in the front of the knee have also experienced:

    • 11% Knee Pain
    • 4% Pain in the Back of the Knee
    • 4% Knee Stiffness
  • People who have experienced pain in the front of the knee had symptoms persist for:

    • 40% Over a Month
    • 20% Less Than a Day
    • 19% Less Than a Week
  • People who have experienced pain in the front of the knee were most often matched with:

    • 40% Meniscal Injury
    • 30% Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
    • 30% Prepatellar Bursitis
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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