Why Is My Knee Pain Worse During the Night?

Why Is My Knee Pain Worse During the Night?

Having a chronic knee pain that occurs especially during the night is a fairly common phenomenon. After a long day at work, when you finally get to rest, you feel the pain catching on. Having a bad knee pain can adversely affect the quality of your life, hampering your day to day activities and in some cases even cause depression.

It is important to understand why knee pain occurs especially during the night, and how to take care of it.

Causes of knee pain during nighttime

Knee pains are often caused by sprains or strains due to physical exertion, cartilage damage, osteoarthritis tendonitis, torn ligaments/tendons, internal bleeding and so on. Knee pain at night is most common among senior citizens and obese people.

It can also be due to a wide range of medical conditions, for which treatment might be necessary.

  • Osteoarthritis (OA) – OA is among the leading causes of knee pain at night. It is also one of the most common forms of arthritis. It is the result of damaged, worn out or thin cartilage between the bones. So, when at night when you lay down and the muscles begin to relax, the bones start rubbing against each other causing a lot of pain.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) – RA an autoimmune disease that can vary in severity but is often extreme. During the night when the body is about to rest, it begins the healing process and so the immune system starts attacking the joints. In an autoimmune disease, the immune system wrongly identifies the body’s own cells as hostile and fights them like it fights an infection. This can cause a lot of joint pain in the knee, and often requires immunosuppressants (drugs that disable the immune system).
  • Obesity – Obesity is a growing concern especially among young adults. But it can create a lot of problems as the age progresses. Being obese puts a lot of extra weight on knees, causing a lot of stress and trauma. The effect might not be apparent during the day when a person is busy, but during night time the pain seems to increase since the body is trying to relax and the mind is often not preoccupied.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis – This is another autoimmune disease which is much rarer. It typically affects the spine but can also manifests itself in the form of knee pain. Pain due to this condition worsens when a person lies down which is typically during the night.
  • Gout – Gout is a common form of arthritis that is caused by excess uric acid which forms crystals in the joints. Gout is typically accompanied by swelling, and often acts up during the night.
  • Bursitis – This condition is caused by the build up of fluid around the knee joint due to repetitive movement. The pain worsens when the knee is bent, so if you sleep with your knees bent, you might be suffering from this condition. Bursitis is common among athletes and people who do a lot of physical exertion.
  • Tendonitis – Tendonitis is caused by the overuse of the knees or injury to the connective tissue often due to jumping activities. Tendonitis can cause redness, swelling, and knee pain at night.
  • Septic arthritis – Another form of arthritis that can be very severe in nature. It is often accompanied by other symptoms such as fever. It is caused by infection in the knees and built-up fluid, which can become especially painful at night when the muscles relax.

Knee pain during the night can also be caused by certain medications you might be taking. For example, statins for cholesterol has been observed to cause knee pains during nighttime.

Rest at ease without discomfort

A good night’s rest is an essential ingredient to living a happy and healthy life. Without adequate sleep, and with knee pain constantly bothering you, the quality of your sleep can degrade very quickly. Try to avoid over-exertion on your knee, and gently massage it before going to sleep. A little exercise can also help, provided that it is supervised. Mobile apps such as Injurymap can help you manage and reduce the pain through exercise training.

You deserve a pain-free night of sleep!