Is one or both of your knees painful at night? Not sure what is causing the problem?

Then take a look below as some of the reasons for knee pain at night.

The most common reason for nocturnal knee pain is osteoarthritis. However, there are other conditions that can cause this problem.

Below, we look at some of the common causes of knee pain at night.

Knee Pain At Night, What Cause It?


Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of knee pain at night.

  • Your knee joint is made up of three bones: the thighbone (femur), shinbone (tibia), and kneecap (patella). Between these bones are pieces of cartilage, which act as cushions to prevent the bones from touching. The joint is surrounded by a thin membrane and a fluid to help lubricate the cartilage to allow smooth movement.
  • If cartilage tissue is lost or the membrane damaged, these bones rub together. This friction leads to pain.



This is an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue in the body. It targets the tissue lining the joints which result in damage to cartilage which leads to arthritis.



Gout is caused by excess uric acid, which forms crystals in the joints, causing pain and swelling. Gout pain flares-up during the night.



Knee injuries can cause knee pain at night and include:

  • Fat Pad Irritation

There is a soft tissue at the base of the patella, (the infrapatellar fat pad, also known as Hoffa’s pad).  Trauma or sudden movements can cause it to become pinched between the head of the thigh bone and the patella. This is referred to as fat pad irritation (or Hoffa’s syndrome).  It causes irritation and sever pain when the knee is extended.

  • Ligament Injury

There are four types of ligaments in the knee – anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, lateral collateral ligament, and medial collateral ligament. You can injure these ligaments through accidents, sudden twisting of the knee, or injury from sporting activities. The pain tends to worsen at night.

Is injury to the patella tendon. It commonly occurs in athletes who take part in sports that involve a lot of jumping.



Carrying extra weight puts added stress on the knees so increasing the incidence of cartilage DAMAGE.



Statins are drugs that are used to lower cholesterol but can cause pain in calf muscles and around the knee.



This is an autoimmune disease, that usually involves the spine, but it may also affect the knees. Pain in ankylosing spondylitis gets worse when lying down.



Bursitis is caused by repetitive movements that lead to a build-up of fluid over the knee joint. The pain gets worse when the knee is bent.



Tendonitis is an overuse injury to the connective tissue of the knee and is often caused by jumping activities.



This is a rare benign (non-cancerous) bone tumor usually located in the femur.

If knee pain is frequently disturbing your sleep, you should speak to your doctor. As we have seen, there are a number of conditions that cause knee pain at night so you need to find out exactly what is causing your symptoms.

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