Why does my knee hurt ?

I spend a lot of time looking at knees and I hear this every day:  Doctor why does my knee hurt?

When I see someone who says their knee hurts, or has knee pain, there are a few key thoughts that go through my mind to break it down and better understand why.  Understanding the reasons why a knee hurts is the first step to solving the problem. Let’s look at several of the big categories to consider for why a knee hurts and people have knee pain.

Your Age

Sorry – the first thing I always want to know is how old are you?  This is because knee pain can have very different causes in a young people than in an older adult.  If you are older, I am more likely to want to see your x-rays.  We will talk more about what kind of x-ray you need in another post.  Regardless, age is the first critical factor to consider when thinking about knee pain.


This seems more obvious.  Did a specific event lead to your knee hurting, or did it start slowly and progress with time?  Did you injure yourself playing sports ?  Did you trip and fall at home?  There are many questions to ask to paint an accurate picture of why you have knee pain.  There are some diagnosis I will consider with injury that I might look past for a chronic problem.


How long has your knee hurt?  Did it start yesterday, or has it been several years, or a lifetime !  I hear all these answers every day.  Something that started recently and is severe enough (like a meniscus tear) that you came in to the orthopedic surgeon is often different than a chronic problem that is just starting to become a bigger problem (like arthritis).

These basic facts about your knee will help me narrow down possible causes of pain.  There is more to any evaluation.  I always perform a thorough examination and usually get standing x-rays of your knees.  All this is needed to help give you options that will get you back to your life.  Ask me if you have more questions.  Keep your body in motion !