About the author:

Howard J. Luks, MD

Howard J. Luks, MD

A Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon in Hawthorne, NY. Dr. Howard Luks specializes in the treatment of the shoulder, knee, elbow, and ankle. He has a very "social" patient centric approach and believes that the more you understand about your issue, the more informed your decisions will be. Ultimately your treatments and his recommendations will be based on proper communications, proper understanding, and shared decision-making principles – all geared to improve your quality of life.

16 comments on “Pain In The Front Of The Knee: 6 Common Causes

  • Had a post put in my left leg, from knee right down the shin bone, down the bone canal, in January. Area around knee and beneath now swelling obviously. Getting sharp nipping pain, and pain half way down shin when I walk. Advice please.

    • Have your doctor take a look. There are many reasons why you can be having that pain in this situation. Too many to cover here….
      Good luck

  • getting knee pain on front of knee around the middle of the kneecap. I also get a sharp pain when coming up out of a squat position. the pain seems to be around the kneecap but varies from left to right of the middle. i get pain in the middle of the kneecap if i am seated at a desk with my foot off the ground and i bring my heel back towards the desk chair legs. does this sound like jumpers knee/runners knee? I was diagnosed with tendonitis but the PT tends to think I have a patellar tracking issue or pinching of fat pad. Should I get an MRI? I had an xray and ortho said no arthritis and knee looks good. any ideas ?

    • I could be either… patients with a jumpers knee frequently have edema or inflammation of the fat pad too. If the PT is not helping then it’s worth talking with your doc about whether or not they feel that an MRI is worth pursuing.

  • I had a knee injury about 9 years ago, several rounds of PT but never felt right- 5 years after started doing more PT and after no improvement from discomfort they decided on surgery – lateral separation with medial plication. Took a while to heal but finally started to gain strength and some mobility back. This last year and a half I’ve become much more active with the knee feeling better, with some light pick up sports and weight training 4xweekly. About a week ago the same knee started feeling achey and now is very painful when bending. If holding leg out straight pain doesn’t start till knees is bent at 90 degrees and pain continues through rest of bend. Pain is sharp and is at the top of patella from the very middle point towards the interior. While bent the area is also very sensitive to touch and pressure. Any advice or thoughts on what it may be from?

    • If the pain persists for a while then an Xray might be useful. Tightening the patello-femoral joint (medial plication) can in theory increase risk of arthritic changes under the kneecap.

  • I was simply jogging on cement (i don’t jog often) the other day and I started feeling a a pain in my right knee below my knee cap. Now when I walk I start feeling that pain and it persists. From the sounds of it, it can jumpers knee, although I grew up playing soccer. Now I’m starting to feel the same thing in my other knee (which I had an ACL surgery about 6 years ago), any solution?

    • A “runners knee” is more likely… jogging rarely causes patella tendinosis (jumpers knee). A good exam by a sports doc should be able to tell the difference.

  • About 2 weeks ago I was going down just a couple stairs in our garage and landed awkwardly, I felt immediate pain in my knee cap. I figured it would just hurt for a couple days, maybe a pulled muscle but the pain seems to be getting worse. It only hurts when going down stairs and squatting though, it doesn’t hurt when just walking. Do you think I need to get it looked at or maybe just some certain exercises could help?

    • Julie… this is a common area to strain. if the pain persists and worries you it’s always best to have someone take a look.

  • Hi, I did a 6 day hike that included a lot of incline and decline which caused my knee to play up and after the hike I could not go up or down stairs. I went to a physiotherapist who treated me for a sprain of MCL. In the treatment he did dry needling. The last needle he inserted on the inside of knee caused excruciating pain – a day or so later I started having a tender spot on the other side of knee that now is causing significant pain. The weird thing is that if I rub the inside of knee I can feel pain on the other side. It’s like it moves it. Over the area of pain I can rub my hand one way but if I rub and pull the skin the other way I get really bad pain. I have had a MRI and everything is ok. My doctor is now treating me for nerve damage. Is this possible? It’s now week 6 since my hike and I’m still unable to get out and walk as my knee just gets so tired by end of day. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • HI Su …
      Understandably without examining you this is all simply speculation and certainly not formal diagnostic or treatment advice … but should provide you with info that you can share with your local docs.
      Needles placed on the inner side of the knee could contact either the Saphenous Nerve, or more likely, the Infrapatella branch of the saphenous nerve. The later of the two crosses from the inner side of your knee to the outer side. Therefore if that nerve is injured, or upset then you can feel pain on the opposite side of the knee. We see this with some injuries on the inner side, and after surgery. It is not common, but can occur. Often times the symptoms will calm down over time. Nerves heal very slowly… often taking many months to calm down. If your symptoms persist after another 8-10 weeks then you can talk to your docs and see if your doc can order an ultrasound guided injection around the infrapatella branch. If that injection improves your pain then you know it is the likely source of pain. Once proven to be the source of pain, a microsurgeon (typically a plastic surgeon with peripheral nerve experience) might be able to release the nerve and help the pain subside or resolve completely. Again… this is pure conjecture and a guess given my being halfway around the world and not examining you. But I hope the info was useful.

      • Thank you so much for taking time to answer my enquiry. Your speculation has helped enormously as I have not been able to find information on possible nerve damage to the knee. Hopefully time will heal and if not I will seek further advice from my doctors. Very much appreciated- Su

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