The most obvious symptom in many joint-related and knee injuries is feeling knee pain. Sometimes this pain increase at night, leading to sleep disturbance. Osteoarthritis is the most frequent reasonf for this to happen. However, there are other conditions like certain types of bone tumors which can cause knee pain at night.
Increased knee pain at night can be used as an important criteria for determining the extent of degeneration of the knee joint, and evaluating the need for a joint replacement surgery. Some of the conditions that involve nocturnal knee pain are described below.
Osteoarthritis: This is a degenerative joint disease and is the most common reason behind nocturnal knee pain, it is characterized by mild inflammation in the tissues around the joint, and damage of cartilages present in the bones. Overweight people and those above 50 years of age are more affected by this situation. Any knee injury may also lead to osteoarthritis. The severity of knee pain may vary according to different conditions such as weather, the extent of physical activity and rest. Other symptoms include stiffness, tenderness, and locking of knees.
Injury to the Ligaments: Injury to any of the ligaments in the knee for any reason leads to pain and inflammation at the site of injury. This pain generally worsens at night.
Fat Pad Irritation: The infrapatellar fat pad is a structure at the base of the patella, which is the most sensitive structure of the knee. Due to trauma or bad movements, it may get impinged between the head of the thigh bone and the patella. This conditionleads to irritation and pain, is severe when the knee is in the extended position and for this reason the severity of pain may increase while sleeping.
Osteoid osteoma: This is a rare type of benign bone tumor that usually affects the long bones. The formation of this tumor leads to intermittent knee pain that increases at night. It is usually developed between people from 5 to 25 years old and is more common in men.
Patellar Tendinopathy: Commonly known as jumper’s knee, it is one of the most common reasons for sharp knee pain, especially among athletes involved in sports that require a lot of jumping. It begins as an injury to the patella that leads to knee pain, this pain can aggravate while climbing stairs, sitting for long periods or even while resting. The pain experienced at night may be so severe that can create sleep disturbance.
Furthermore, there are other less common conditions that may involve knee pain at night, such as Plica syndrome, bursitis, Baker’s cysts, meniscal tears, and cat scratch. To diagnose this can of problems, many imaging techniques are used. The treatment to be used depends on the exact etiology and may include analgesics, anti-inflammatory medicines, as well as certain minimally invasive techniques in case of lesions. Nevertheless, you should always seek appropriate professional consultation and investigate the symptoms further, instead of ignoring the pain or using of pain-relieving medicines.