Knee Arthralgia - What Is It And How Is It Treated?

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Video: Knee Arthralgia - What Is It And How Is It Treated?

Video: Knee Arthralgia - What Is It And How Is It Treated?
Video: Knee Pain , Knee arthritis treatment - Everything You Need To Know - Dr. Nabil Ebraheim, M.D. 2023, March
Knee Arthralgia - What Is It And How Is It Treated?
Knee Arthralgia - What Is It And How Is It Treated?

Knee arthralgia: symptoms and treatment

Knee arthralgia
Knee arthralgia

Knee arthralgia is a symptom of joint pain in the knee area. Arthralgia develops due to irritation of the nerve endings, which are concentrated in the synovial joint capsule.

It is the knee joints that are often exposed to strong overloads, as they are responsible for flexion and extension of the leg in different planes. A significant functional load on the joints, inflammatory diseases, salt deposits, endocrine pathologies, neurological problems, excess weight - all this can lead to arthralgia.

It is not surprising that hundreds of patients visit doctors every day with complaints of knee pain. Such patients should be carefully examined, which will allow to establish the causes of arthralgia and prescribe the correct treatment. The fact is that sometimes even an X-ray examination of the joint does not allow visualizing any pathology. However, arthralgia is often the first symptom of serious organic damage to the knee and other joints. In addition, knee pain can be a sign of a formidable extra-articular pathology.


  • Knee arthralgia symptoms
  • Knee arthralgia causes
  • Diagnosis of arthralgia of the knee joint
  • Knee arthralgia treatment

Knee arthralgia symptoms

Knee arthralgia symptoms
Knee arthralgia symptoms

The symptoms of arthralgia of the knee joint primarily depend on what exactly provoked the painful sensations.

Therefore, depending on the pathology, the following features of knee pain can be distinguished:

  • With deforming arthrosis, cartilage tissue suffers, which provokes pain in the knee during exercise. The pain increases at night, and the joint itself turns red and swells during the exacerbation.
  • With inflammation of the veins and arteries, knee pains bother a person from time to time. Most often, they proceed as seizures. Other signs of thrombosis and phlebitis are described above.
  • With inflammation of the lymph nodes, the pain will increase when pressure is applied to the knee joint, as well as when wearing tight clothing.
  • Trauma-induced arthralgia depends on the nature of the injury. In this case, the pain can be pulling or sharp. Sometimes stress on the joint leads to increased pain, and sometimes to relieve it.
  • Skin diseases are accompanied by swelling and redness of the tissues. The pain is most often burning. Sometimes it is so intense that it is even difficult for a person to move a limb.
  • With bursitis, the mobility of the knee joint is significantly limited, since it is not painful to move normally.
  • With arthritis, intoxication of the whole organism is observed.

Thus, several signs can be distinguished, more often than others developing with arthralgia: pain of a different nature, which increases with palpation, swelling in the joint area, skin redness, local increase in body temperature, impaired knee mobility. Sometimes arthralgia is accompanied by crunching or knocking in the knees.

Knee arthralgia causes

Knee arthralgia causes
Knee arthralgia causes

Arthralgia often accompanies the course of various acute infectious diseases. Moreover, pain in the knee joint can develop even before a person has the first symptoms of the underlying disease. If arthralgia is triggered by an infection, then the person will complain of aching pains in the knees and elbows. In parallel, the patient experiences muscle discomfort. In this case, the mobility of the joints is not limited. After a few days, joint pains pass, as the intoxication of the body is weakened.

Sometimes knee pain develops after an infection. Moreover, at first glance, such diseases have nothing to do with joints. It can be urogenital or intestinal infections, tuberculosis, secondary syphilis, endocarditis. Chronic foci of infections that have been present in the body for a long time are capable of provoking arthralgia of the knee joint. This includes cholangitis, pyelonephritis, paratonsilar abscess, and even parasitic infection.

Knee joints often hurt in rheumatic diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis manifests with lesions of the joints of the lower and upper extremities. In this case, a person will experience stiffness in the legs and arms in the morning. The pain is intense, migratory, covering both knees. It is difficult to get rid of them.

Gouty arthritis is manifested by arthralgia in the type of attack. Moreover, pain occurs only in an isolated joint. It makes its debut suddenly for a person, quickly gains intensity and lasts for several days.

Deforming osteoarthritis and other degenerative-dystrophic lesions of bone tissue are manifested by arthralgia of the knee joints. The pains often occur with changes in the weather, are dull, aching, the joints crackle during movement. When a person is at rest, painful sensations do not bother him. Pain goes away quickly with pain relievers.

Endocrine diseases such as hypothyroidism and hyperparathyroidism can cause arthralgia of the knee joints. In addition, pain will occur in the pelvic bones and in the region of the spinal column.

Bursitis of the knee joint, accompanied by damage to the intra-articular bursa, is another cause of arthralgia. At the same time, the tissues surrounding the knee swell, become hot to the touch, and turn red. Joint movements are limited, possibly a general increase in body temperature.

Other risk factors that can provoke arthralgia of the knee joint include:

  • Poisoning of the body with heavy metals, such as thallium and beryllium.
  • Overloading of the knee joint.
  • Regional inflammation of the lymph nodes.
  • Knee injuries.
  • Long-term medication intake.
  • Post-allergic reactions of the body.
  • Hypothermia of the joint.
  • Deterioration of joint tissue nutrition due to age-related characteristics.
  • Osgood-Schlatter disease, which is accompanied by the destruction of the tuberous tissues of the tibia. Pathological changes occur during puberty. Pain occurs during squats, climbing stairs and other stress on the joint. In addition, it can occur as a type of cutting, which is localized in the lower part of the knee. Local tissue edema is possible.
  • Dermatological conditions such as erysipelas or dermatitis.

  • Some people develop patellar tendonitis. In this case, the pain will be concentrated in its lower part. At first, they bother a person only after physical exertion, and then they are present on an ongoing basis.
  • Baker's cyst is another cause of knee arthralgia. Pain occurs when the cyst begins to press on the nerve endings. They extend to the entire knee, intensify with prolonged standing, as well as with knee bending. If the cyst compresses the vessels, then the patient will experience numbness in the limbs.
  • A meniscus cyst can form in the inner and outer meniscus. Arthralgia worries after knee stress.
  • Perthes disease affects children. Pain in this case is localized in the hip joint, and in the knee occurs while walking. As the pathology progresses, necrosis of the femoral head occurs.
  • Atherosclerotic disease. Sometimes the accumulation of cholesterol and plaque calcification can occur in the vessels located in the knee joint. This will lead to the fact that the pain is localized precisely in the knee. Other symptoms of vascular lesions include numbness and heaviness in the legs, rapid muscle fatigue. If the atherosclerosis of the vessels is not treated, then further development of tissue necrosis with the formation of gangrene of the leg is possible.

  • Flat feet. In this case, arthralgia of the knee joint will be pronounced, it will be difficult for the patient to do squats. The pain is also localized in the area of the foot, thigh, back. Flat feet are indicated by the disproportionate leg muscles. The arch of the foot will be flattened.
  • Phlebitis of the vessels in the area of the knee joint can provoke characteristic pain. In this case, the skin in the area of inflammation will be red, possibly a local and general increase in body temperature and swelling. When a person lifts his leg up, the pain syndrome recedes slightly (if the veins are affected). When phlebitis is concentrated in the arteries, the pain will decrease as you lower your leg.

Arthralgia of the knee joint in pregnant women

Arthralgia of the knee joint in pregnant women
Arthralgia of the knee joint in pregnant women

Often women who are carrying a child complain of arthralgia of the knee joints.

There are several reasons for this, including:

  • Weight gain and tissue swelling. These causes especially often lead to joint pain during the third trimester of pregnancy.
  • The shift in the center of gravity increases the stress on the knee joints.
  • Hormonal fluctuations in the body can affect the muscles and ligaments of the knee joints.
  • Calcium deficiency, which is spent on the needs of the child, will affect the condition of the woman's musculoskeletal system.

Arthralgia of the knee joint in childhood

Arthralgia of the knee joint in childhood
Arthralgia of the knee joint in childhood

In childhood, arthralgias of the knee joint are often transient. During the so-called growth periods, the muscle tissue is stretched. In this case, the vessels do not have time to stretch after it, which leads to a deterioration in their capacity and severe pain.

Most often, arthralgia is aching in nature, concentrated in the area of two joints. In this case, knee mobility is not affected. This problem is relevant for children of preschool and school age. As a rule, by the age of 19, arthralgia ceases to bother a person.

In addition, children are more likely than adults to receive various injuries that are not mentioned. In particular, sprains and bruises. This can be another cause of knee pain. Also, one should not lose sight of the likelihood of a child developing flat feet.

Diagnosis of arthralgia of the knee joint

Diagnosis of arthralgia of the knee joint
Diagnosis of arthralgia of the knee joint

At the first signs of arthralgia of the knee joint, it is necessary to consult a therapist. In the future, it may be necessary to consult narrow specialists, such as an orthopedist, rheumatologist, vascular surgeon.

After the initial examination and listening to complaints, the patient will be assigned the following tests and instrumental examinations:

  • Blood donation for general analysis. It is important to assess the level of leukocytes, ESR indicator. When they increase, it will be clear that there is inflammation in the body.
  • Blood chemistry. The doctor will be interested in rheumatoid factor, ASL-O, liver function tests, the presence of C-reactive protein in the blood, etc.
  • X-ray examination of the knee joint. If the study is not very informative, for example, in the early stage of osteoporosis, then it is complemented by MRI or CT.
  • If a cyst is suspected or if the vessels are damaged, the patient may be prescribed an ultrasound scan.
  • The collection of joint fluid allows you to detect abnormal cells or bacteria in it.
  • Serological blood tests allow diagnosing allergic and immune pathologies.

If all of the above methods do not make it possible to establish the cause of arthralgia of the knee joint, then it makes sense to send a person for examination to a psychotherapist.

Knee arthralgia treatment

Knee arthralgia treatment
Knee arthralgia treatment

Depending on the cause of arthralgia of the knee joint, the patient may require emergency or delayed medical attention.

You need to see a doctor immediately in the following situations:

  • Pearl, dislocation, subluxation, or other serious injury to a limb.
  • Joint hemorrhage.
  • Purulent processes in the area of the knee joint with intoxication of the body, increased body temperature and throbbing pains. A similar situation is most often observed with a knee injury with the addition of an infection.
  • The inability to move the knee for no explainable reason.

Any of these situations requires a house call. The leg, before the arrival of an ambulance, must be given such a position that maximizes the relief of pain. If there is no open wound, then you can apply a cold compress to the knee, or a heating pad with cool water. It is forbidden to massage the affected area, or apply an elastic bandage on it.

Video: Dr. Evdokimenko on the treatment of knee pain:

Possible treatment options for knee arthralgia include:

  • Rheumatic joint damage requires the use of glucocorticosteroids (Prednisolone), as well as drugs from the NSAID group (Indomethacin, Ibuprofen). Complex treatment will suppress the inflammatory process and relieve pain.
  • If arthralgia in the knee joints is caused by infectious diseases, then the patient needs to lower the body temperature. So, taking Paracetamol not only fights high fever, but also helps to eliminate pain in muscles and joints. If necessary, the patient is prescribed antibiotics, antiviral agents, antihistamines.
  • If the knee was injured, then the limb is temporarily immobilized. It is possible to apply a plaster cast, use hardware fixation methods. Diclofenac helps relieve joint pain. With intense arthralgia, an injectable form of the drug is prescribed.

During treatment, it is necessary to minimize the load on the sore knee, therefore the patient is shown bed rest.

Sometimes the help of a surgeon is required. The operation is performed when purulent contents accumulate inside the knee joint. Also, surgical care is needed for people with damaged ligamentous-tendon structures. The operation is performed to remove cystic neoplasms. The vascular surgeon assists patients with phlebitis and atherosclerosis of the veins of the lower extremities.

Neurological arthralgia requires the help of a neurologist and psychotherapist.

During treatment, you must follow a diet. In this case, the patient is limited to fried, sour, smoked and salty foods. Minimize salt and spice intake. You must definitely refuse to take alcoholic beverages. The menu should contain cereals, lean meat, fresh vegetables and fruits. Pregnant women should pay special attention to their dietary table. Their diet should be enriched with foods rich in calcium and vitamin D. It is imperative to eat fermented milk drinks and foods, eat fatty sea fish.

If the cause of arthralgia was established correctly, then it is possible to get rid of pain in the knee joint quickly enough. The prognosis for a complete recovery largely depends on the etiology of the disease.


Author of the article: Kaplan Alexander Sergeevich | Orthopedist

Education: diploma in the specialty "General Medicine" received in 2009 at the Medical Academy. I. M. Sechenov. In 2012 completed postgraduate studies in Traumatology and Orthopedics at the City Clinical Hospital named after Botkin at the Department of Traumatology, Orthopedics and Disaster Surgery.

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