Read below about severe knee pain, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your severe knee pain 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 Severe Knee Pain

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

  1. 1.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
  2. 2.Knee Arthritis

    Arthritis is inflammation of one or more of the joints. Pain, swelling, and stiffness are the primary symptoms of arthritis. Any joint in the body may be affected by the disease, but it is particularly common in the knee.

    Knee arthritis is a chronic problem once it develops.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in both knees, knee stiffness, knee instability, swollen knee, morning joint stiffness
    Symptoms that always occur with knee arthritis:
    pain in both knees
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.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
  4. 4.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

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  5. 5.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
  6. 6.Acl Injury

    The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is a super-important tendon that connects the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin), keeping the tibia from flying forward every time a step is taken. Tearing happens in a lot of accidents and sports, unfortunately.

    Full recovery may take months of physical therapy.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    knee pain, pain in one knee, knee instability, swollen knee, knee pain from an injury
    Symptoms that always occur with acl injury:
    knee pain
    Symptoms that never occur with acl injury:
    mild knee pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  7. 7.Septic Arthritis

    Septic arthritis is an intensely painful joint infection.

    12-14 days with treatment

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, spontaneous shoulder pain, chills, knee pain, joint pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  8. 8.Dislocated Kneecap

    The kneecap connects the muscles in the front of the thigh to the shinbone (tibia). When the kneecap slips out of the groove, problems and pain often result.

    Resolves upon reduction of dislocation.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one knee, knee pain from an injury, knee injury, swollen knee, knee instability
    Symptoms that always occur with dislocated kneecap:
    kneecap sliding out to the side, knee pain from an injury
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  9. 9.Lupus

    Lupus is a disease in which the immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues by mistake. This can damage joints, skin, blood vessels and organs.

    Lupus is a chronic condition but symptoms can be managed.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, nausea, anxiety, depressed mood, joint pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Severe Knee Pain

  • Q.Is the knee pain affecting one or both knees?
  • Q.Do you feel like your knee is unstable, weak, or giving out?
  • Q.Do you often feel your knees buckling?
  • Q.What is your body mass?

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

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Severe Knee Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced severe knee pain have also experienced:

    • 5% Knee Locking
    • 4% Lower Back Pain
    • 4% Knee Pain
  • People who have experienced severe knee pain had symptoms persist for:

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

    • 40% Meniscal Injury
    • 30% Knee Arthritis
    • 30% Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
  • 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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