Sharp Stabbing Pain in the Knee That Comes and Goes: Here’s the Cause
Whether you're an athlete or simply dealing with knee problems, knee pain can be disruptive. Find out the possible causes of this common condition.
Published May 9, 2023.
If you've ever experienced sharp stabbing knee pain, you know how unpleasant it can be. This type of pain can disrupt everyday activities, making it difficult to walk, stand, or even sit comfortably. While the pain may be due to bone fracture, there are several other less obvious factors that may be responsible for intermittent knee pain and any other associated symptoms.
It's important to understand the potential causes of sharp stabbing knee pain so you can get proper diagnosis and treatment to alleviate the pain and improve your knee function.
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5 Causes of Intermittent Knee Pain
1. Overuse or Strain
Overuse or strain is a major cause of intermittent knee pain, especially among athletes, generally active people, and those with physically demanding jobs.
The repeated stress on the knee joint from these activities can lead to swelling and discomfort, which may come and go over time.
2. Inflammation or Irritation
Sometimes, underlying medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or lupus may cause inflammation of the knee joint. Inflammation can also occur due to the irritation of the tendon or bursae in the knee, which can result in conditions like tendinitis and bursitis.
Typically, such inflammation can lead to pain, stiffness, and swelling in the knee joint, leading to a sharp stabbing pain that comes and goes.
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3. Ruptures and Tears
Ruptures and tears in the knee can happen due to an acute injury or repetitive stress. These injuries can affect ligaments, tendons, or cartilage in the knee joint and cause intermittent pain, swelling, and instability.
4. Compressed Nerve
The sharp stabbing pain in the knee may also be the result of a neural problem caused by a compressed nerve. When a nerve that innervates the knee is compressed, you may experience sharp, shooting pain in the knee. It may also lead to feelings of numbness, tingling, or weakness in the leg.
5. Loose Bodies in the Joint
Loose bodies are small broken-off pieces of cartilage floating in the joint that can develop following an injury, wear and tear, or an underlying medical condition like osteoarthritis. These fragments move within the knee joint, causing on-and-off pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility when they get stuck.
Find the Cause of Your Knee Pain
Like chronic joint pain, intermittent knee pain may occur due to several reasons, so identifying the exact cause is crucial for effective treatment and pain management. If sharp pain in your knee that comes and goes persists, make sure to consult your healthcare professional to determine the best course of action to manage the pain and improve knee function.