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Burning Knee Pain: Signs, Causes, and Treatments

Medically Reviewed by Cellaxys

By Published: November 7, 2022Updated: February 12, 2024No Comments
burning knee pain
Dr Pouya Mohajer

Contributor

Medically Reviewed

Published on: November 7, 2022 | Updated on: February 12, 2024

Constant burning knee pain is horrible. The sharp stabbing pain can occur anytime, whether you’re in between an important business meeting or relaxing on your couch. You may feel like your entire knee joint has caught fire.

Most people with burning knee pain also find it hard to sleep. You can feel the pain in multiple parts of your knee: the side, front, or back.

Burning knee pain sometimes indicates a problem in the knee joint, but it could also be a sign of any underlying health issue. Thus, it’s better to consult a doctor as soon as you feel intense burning knee pain.

Burning Knee Pain Signs To Look For

Burning Knee Pain Signs To Look For

Knee pain not only affects the joint, but it can also cause multiple disturbances in your entire body. Some of the most common burning knee pain signs to watch for are:

  • Severe knee pain, especially at night
  • Weakness
  • Numbness in legs
  • Bladder or bowel control problems
  • Slurred speech
  • Disturbed vision
  • Sudden weight loss
  • High temperature

If you experience all or a few of these symptoms, get yourself checked by your doctor as soon as possible.

Causes of Burning Knee Pain

Inflammation and swelling in the joint are the most common reasons for burning knee pain. Many health conditions can cause inflammation and burning sensation in your knee, some of which include:

Gout Knee

Gout is an inflammatory condition caused due to high uric acid levels in the blood. It is also a common reason for burning knee pain that typically occurs at night. It happens for a few hours and makes the person feel like their knee is on fire.

You can feel a burning sensation in your knee just by touching it from the outside. The joint also appears swollen and red. People with gout find it very painful to walk. The episodes may disappear in a few weeks but return after some months.

Immediate medical attention can help reduce pain and inflammation. Your doctor may prescribe you certain medications and some lifestyle changes to prevent gout attacks from recurring.

Knee Arthritis

Arthritis refers to joint inflammation. It has two main types: rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Both of them can cause severe burning pain in your knee.

Osteoarthritis is common in aged women and is caused by the usual wear and tear of the knee joint, cartilage, and bones. On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition that causes joint swelling, making it stiff and painful.

Both types of knee arthritis result in burning knee pain when you sit for long periods or wake up in the morning. Treatments for this condition include anti-inflammatory medications, massages, heat and cold therapies, and more.

Knee Bursitis

The bursa is present throughout our bodies. These tiny fluid-filled pockets between bones and soft tissues reduce friction and ensure smooth movement.

Our knee has about 15 bursae present nearby. Inflammation or swelling of any of these bursae is called knee bursitis, one common cause of burning knee pain.

An inflamed bursa looks like a small orange. You may not feel the symptoms of knee bursitis immediately. Instead, they will appear over time due to repetitive friction. However, sometimes, knee bursitis may develop right after the injury.

Some common types of bursitis causing burning knee pain include:

  • Prepatellar Bursitis. It affects the knee front, called the Housemaid’s Knee.
  • Semimembranosus Bursitis. It causes pain behind the knee called Baker’s Cyst.
  • Pes Anserine Bursitis. It impacts the inner side of the knee.
  • Iliotibial Bursitis. It causes pain in the outer side of the knee.
  • Infrapatellar Bursitis. The pain occurs just below the knee.

Infection

Many kinds of infections can also cause burning knee pain. The most common is septic arthritis. In this condition, the bacteria enter the body and infect the knee. As a result, the knee becomes red and swollen, and you may feel high temperature and weakness.

The most common treatments for knee joint infection are intravenous and oral antibiotics. However, if your doctor diagnoses a significant fluid build-up, they may drain it through a needle. The process is called aspiration.

Seeking immediate medical attention when you see any unusual activity in your knee is recommended.

Trauma

Knee injuries, such as stiffness, instability, locking, or popping, can cause burning knee pain. These conditions occur due to sudden knee twisting, a joint blow, an RTA, a sudden fall, or a cartilage tear in the knee, resulting in severe trauma.

Trauma can cause bleeding in the joint that puts pressure on the nerves and causes burning knee pain. You’re more likely to feel the pain in the affected area, and the other knee will stay fine.

Nerve Damage

Nerves are the vessels that transfer signals between the spinal cord or brain and the entire body. Any irritation or damage in the nerves can cause burning knee pain.

If a nerve becomes squashed, it causes a burning pain throughout the body. If the problem is primarily in the spine, you may feel back pain, but that’s not always true.

Nerve damage can show multiple symptoms, such as abnormal sensations, weakness, numbness, or tingling.

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

Peripheral artery disease can cause a sudden decrease in blood flow toward the legs, affecting the calves, feet, and knees. PAD causes severe pain when you stand up, which may ease when you rest.

The condition is primarily caused due to plaque build-up in the blood vessels. However, in some cases, it may also develop due to other factors, including diabetes and smoking.

Cramping and numbness in the legs are common signs of PAD. The conventional treatments for PAD include angioplasty or artery bypass graft.

Orthobiologic Treatment for Burning Knee Pain

Knee pain can be a nuisance if not treated on time. If the above conventional treatment methods don’t work, trying orthobiologic treatments can be a good option. These procedures are less invasive, less painful, and have a shorter recovery period.

At CELLAXYS, we perform two orthobiologic methods to treat burning knee pain: cell-based and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapies.

Cell-Based Therapies

You may already know them as stem-cell therapies. In cell-based therapies, the doctor harvests healthy cells from the patient’s body, processes them, and reinjects them in the injury site (knee). The two main types of cell-based therapies are:

  • Minimally Manipulated Adipose Tissue Transplant (MMAT). The doctor extracts cells from your adipose (fat) tissue and injects them into the knee.
  • Bone Marrow Concentrate (BMAC). The doctor harvests highly concentrated cells from your bone marrow and reinjects them in the knee.

Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)

PRP involves drawing a blood sample from the patient, isolating platelets, and reinjecting them into the injury site. Platelets are healing components that release 10 Growth Factors for tissue development, attract healing cells from the blood, and produce a web-like scaffolding called fibrin to support the growth of new cells.

A high number of platelets in the injury site boosts healing and shortens recovery. PRP is a popular treatment for orthopedic, spine, and sports-related injuries.

Cell-based and PRP therapies are outpatient procedures so that you can go home right after the procedure. PRP takes about 45 minutes, while cell-based therapies are completed in 1.5 to 2 hours. 

Sources

Footnotes

References

CELLAXYS does not offer Stem Cell Therapy as a cure for any medical condition. No statements or treatments presented by Cellaxys have been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This site contains no medical advice. All statements and opinions are provided for educational and informational purposes only.

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Dr. Pejman Bady began his career over 20 years ago in Family/Emergency Medicine, working in fast-paced emergency departments in Nevada and Kansas. He has served the people of Las Vegas as a physician for over two decades. Throughout this time, he has been met with much acclaim and is now the head of Emergency Medical Services in Nye County, Nevada. More about the doctor on this page.

burning knee pain

Dr Pouya Mohajer

Contributor

Pouya Mohajer, M.D. is the Director of Spine and Interventional Medicine for CELLAXYS: Age, Regenerative, and Interventional Medicine Centers. He has over 20 years of experience in pain management, perioperative medicine, and anesthesiology. Dr. Mohajer founded and is the Medical Director of Southern Nevada Pain Specialists and PRIMMED Clinics. He has dedicated his career to surgical innovation and scientific advancement. More about the doctor on this page.

Dr. Pejman Bady

Dr. Pejman Bady began his career over 20 years ago in Family/Emergency Medicine, working in fast-paced emergency departments in Nevada and Kansas. He has served the people of Las Vegas as a physician for over two decades. Throughout this time, he has been met with much acclaim and is now the head of Emergency Medical Services in Nye County, Nevada. More details about the doctor on this page.

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