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Inner Knee Pain: Causes, Treatments & Prevention

Experiencing pain in any part of your body disrupts various activities that you engage in daily. Inner knee pain is almost becoming a phenomenon as it affects about 19% of the world population. 

Notably, a knee is prone to injuries because it participates in its complexity and central role in supporting the weighty human being.

The inner knee refers to the part of the knee closest to the other knee. It is also called the medial knee.  

Our knees do so much for us when partaking in our daily activities. Knees allow us to run, skip, walk, and sit appropriately. A knee joint is among the largest and most complex joints in your body. Consequently, many people endure knee pain, especially in the inner side. 

But what causes inner knee pain? Is inner knee pain treatable? What are the most common symptoms of inner knee pain? 

Understanding the condition of inner knee pain starts with the understanding of how your knee works. The human knee comprises bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. 

The four tissues work in coordination to ease movement of the knee joint enabling humans to run, walk, drive, sit, and even stand without experiencing pain.

inner knee pain

Various causes can trigger inner knee pain at any age, notwithstanding gender. Individuals with inner knee pain can experience it when running, walking, standing, and jumping. Inner knee pain has some symptoms unique from all other knee pain. 

Do you know the symptoms of inner knee pain? What are the prevention measures for inner knee pain? Is knee pain treatable? This article provides you with answers to all these questions through expounded discussions. Read along for more information. 

You may experience inner knee pain typically because of a deterioration of the cartilage in your knee joint. Inner knee pain can also occur following sports injuries or any other trauma to your knees.

Universal Causes of Inner Knee Pain

Various occurrences can cause inner knee pain. Typically, most of these occurrences are associated with injuries picked up when running, sporting, pulling, and when one falls. 

In most cases, adults (above 60 years of age) are more likely to experience inner knee pain than youths and children. However, inner knee pain occurs in adolescents and children as well.

In children, the most common causes of inner knee pain include; Osgood-Schlatter disease, patellar tendonitis (jumper’s knee), and patellar subluxation.  

What causes inner knee pain?

Medial meniscus injury

The meniscus is a cartilage tissue found in the knee joint responsible for cushioning the joints. Each human knee has two menisci serving as cushions between the shin and thigh bones. 

If your meniscus becomes damaged or tears up (due to pressure or rotation of the knee), especially during athletic or sports activities, inner knee pain creeps in. 

The human medial meniscus can experience four major types of tears as described below;

  • Flap tear
  • Degenerative tear 
  • Bucket handle tear 
  • Radial tear 

You may also experience the following symptoms depending on the severity of your knee injury;

  • Locking knees
  • A feeling of imbalance
  • Knee stiffness
  •  Sharp pain during knee-twisting. 

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a common knee disease that develops in a human’s knee breaking down cartilage and causing grinding of the bones in the knee joints.

If you experience inner pain in your knee when running, walking down the stairs, or sitting in a chair, the chances are that you have osteoarthritis. 

You may continue to experience more severe symptoms as the days go on because the pressure causing your knee bones to grind is responsible for the pain.

Runners and sportspeople are more likely to experience torn meniscus causing inner knee pain. The cartilage in the knee weakens as runners age, making it prone to tear. A few individuals feel a pop when the meniscus tears, but most patients do not even notice when it occurs. 

A tear worsens with time to the extent of struggling to move the joint. If you suspect symptoms hinting of a meniscus tear, it would be best for you to see an orthopedic surgeon. Knee replacement specialists examine and recommend diagnosis or treatment depending on the location the tear occurred.   

Strain in the medial collateral ligament (MCL)

Ligaments enhance movements in joints and cushion stability. The medial collateral ligament, running along the outside of the human inner knee, helps to stabilize the knee joint. You are likely to have a strain if you overstretch your medial collateral ligament.

People experience MCL strain differently, with some having partial and others undergoing full ligament tear. In most cases, athletes may apply more force to the outer part of the knee, causing an MCL tear.

If you experience inner knee pain while running, then the chances are that you ruptured your medial collateral ligament. Consider visiting a healthcare provider for better medical help. 

Some of the symptoms of MCL tear include the following:

  • Swelling around the knee
  • Experiencing locking knees
  • A feeling of popping sounds during impact or contact
  • Experiencing instability when walking, running, or standing.

Pes anserine bursitis

All joints have a sac filled with fluid and help in reducing friction. In the knee joint, the fluid-filled sac is called a bursa. It is small in size but provides immense friction when working normally. 

Humans have several bursae in different joints throughout the body. 

In the knee joint, a bursa is located between the three tendons and the MCL. The three tendons in the human knee are; the gracilis, semitendinosus, and sartorius. Together, these three tendons are known as pes anserinus.  

Pes anserine bursitis occurs when your bursae become overutilized, irritated, or ruptured, producing extra fluids. The knee responds by swelling and feeling more pressure on the joint. At this point, the knee experiences inflammation called pes anserine bursitis.   

The following factors can cause pes anserine bursitis:

  • If you are obese
  • Existence of osteoarthritis in the knee
  • A continued tendency of knee or leg turning while walking, standing, or running
  • Having tight hamstring muscular tissues
  • Occurrence of medial meniscus strain

Knee contusion

Have you ever injured your knee by hitting it using a blunt object? The feeling is unbearable. If you fall hard on your knees or get hit using a blunt object, you will likely bruise the bone in your knee. 

Injuring your knee bone can result in a contusion, leading to inner knee pain. However, the occurrence of knee contusion depends on the location your knee gets injured.

More symptoms of knee contusion may include swelling, stiffness, having bruised skin, and experiencing trouble in bending the knee. 

Inner knee pain running

Most parts of the human body wear and tear with age and knees are not exceptional. If you experience sharp, dull, or achy knee pain when standing, you should consider checking more symptoms of the following conditions:

  •  Early osteoarthritis
  • Chronic degenerative meniscus strain
  • Patellofemoral syndrome

The three conditions listed above are the significant causes of inner knee pain while standing. 

Current and former athletes and sportspersons have higher chances of developing one or more of these conditions.

Typically, the conditions start with a mere knee nuisance but can worsen, becoming a severe problem, especially if you fail to treat them in time. 

Inner knee pain during activity

Experiencing Inner knee pain during activities can be associated with conditions such as osteoarthritis, Patellofemoral syndrome, and injuries.

However, the intensity and nature of the inner knee pain depend highly on the daily activities you engage in. For instance, athletes are more prone to injuring their knees than non-athletes.
Inner pain experienced while running and standing can also appear during activities. Therefore, you need to seek medical help whenever you experience any inner knee pain.

Treatments for inner knee pain

It is common to pick a knee injury or experience pain around the knee. The good thing about knee pains is that many of them can be treated successfully. Moreover, you can eliminate most types of knee pain at home. 

However, experiencing knee pain more than thrice can be an alarm calling for action. Consider visiting a doctor asap! 

Healthcare providers can recommend more engaging diagnosis and treatment procedures depending on the type of injury and causes of the pain.

Home remedy practices

You can treat minor knee injuries at home if you do the right things.

Some of the most home remedy practices to treat inner knee pain include rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE).

The following are some of the methods commonly used to treat knee pain at home:

  • Keeping away from all the activities causing your knee to ache
  • Support your body weight using crutches
  • Ice your knee 3 - 4 times a day. Icing should take about 20 minutes each time
  •  Use an elastic compression material to bandage your knee, particularly the area where the pain is more intense
  • Elevate your aching knee using pillows or other soft materials. Ensure your knee is above the level of your heart. 

If there is swelling around your knee, you may consider taking anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen to reduce swelling.

Medical treatments for inner knee pain

If symptoms persist, patients should consult a doctor who may recommend the following treatment methods to alleviate inner knee pain:

  • Physiotherapy - this involves exercises, ultrasound therapy, and stretching. 
  • Surgical procedures - surgeons may resolve severe knee damages through surgeries to replace the damaged tissue with a synthetic material. 
  • Injection - administering a steroid injection may treat conditions such as pes anserine bursitis. 
  • Assistive device - wearing protective knee braces can treat some knee injuries. 

What type of exercises should I consider to alleviate inner knee pain?

Not only does exercising treat some form of inner knee pain, but it also prevents the conditions from occurring. Regular exercises strengthen your leg muscles, such as hamstrings and quadriceps. Strong muscles can resist overstretching and bear the weight of the body. 

Some of the most helpful exercises are: 

  • Leg presses
  • Swimming
  • Running, walking, and jogging
  • Performing mini squats
  • Leg extensions

Final thoughts

Inner knee pain affects many people around the globe. Senior citizens, athletes, and sports persons are more prone to picking knee injuries leading to inner knee pain.

Most forms of inner knee pain can be treated successfully either by practicing home remedies or medical treatments.

Failure to address inner knee pain early can lead to severe consequences in the future. It is essential not to ignore any signs and symptoms of inner knee pain.

Exercising helps in the prevention and treatment of most causes of inner knee pain. Embracing regular exercises promotes healthy lifestyles.  


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