10 Causes of Burning Knee Pain: Symptoms & Treatment

Burning knee

10 Causes of Burning Knee Pain: Symptoms & Treatment

The knee bears a lot of responsibility because it allows you to move about and do daily tasks. This industrious joint, which allows you to bend your legs and acts as a cushion for your lower limbs, is vulnerable to friction and wear and tear because of the way it is anatomically structured. The knee is made up of numerous soft and hard tissues, and anomalies in these structures can cause excruciating knee pain.

Knee discomfort and a burning sensation might substantially hinder you and interfere with your daily routines. Burning pain in the knees can be a symptom of a variety of illnesses, from nerve abnormalities to gouty arthritis.

Causes and Treatment of Burning Knee

There are several causes of burning knee pain, but it usually implies that there is underlying nerve involvement. The front, side, and back of the knee, as well as other areas, can all experience, be burning feelings.

Here are some of the most typical reasons of knee pain:

1- Syndrome of Patellofemoral Pain (Chondromalacia Patella)

When nerves detect discomfort in the soft tissues and bone surrounding the kneecap, patellofemoral pain syndrome develops. The tendons, the fat pad under the patella, and the synovial tissue lining the knee joint are examples of these soft structures.

Chondromalacia patella is a condition that can occur in some patellofemoral pain instances. The articular cartilage on the underside of the kneecap softens and breaks down, a condition known as chondromalacia patella. Because articular cartilage lacks nerves, injury to the cartilage itself cannot produce pain. However, it may result in pain in the underlying bone and synovial inflammation.

Treatment of Patellofemoral Pain

  • Resting the knee is the most typical treatment for chondromalacia patella symptoms.
  • Applying an ice or cold pack for 15-20 minutes, four times a day, for a few days. Do not immediately apply ice to the skin. Wrap a cloth around the ice or cold pack.
  • Painkillers known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin.
  • Topical pain relievers—These include skin-applied lotions or patches that are used to treat soft tissue pain.

2- Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) that results in acute knee discomfort

Iliotibial band syndrome occurs when the tendon in your leg that rubs against your hip or knee bones becomes inflamed or irritated. The tendon runs from the top of your pelvic bone all the way down to your knee and is located on the outside of your leg. When it becomes overly tense, it grinds on your bones (tight). Your iliotibial band may tighten for a variety of causes.

Tendons, which connect your muscles to your bones, are elastic-like, flexible fibrous fibers. When you squeeze a muscle, your tendon pushes on the bone, which causes your bone to shift.

Treatment of Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Iliotibial band syndrome can be treated in various ways, some of which can be done at home and others of which call for medical attention. Commonly used therapies include:

  • Rest: Until your discomfort has subsided and your iliotibial band syndrome has healed, some professionals advise against exercising your injured leg. You should discuss how much rest and activity you should obtain with your healthcare physician.
  • Painkillers Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®), a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAID), and naproxen (Aleve®) are a couple of examples. Discuss proper dosages with your healthcare professional.
  • Manual treatment: You might learn how to massage your body with a foam roller from a physical therapist.
  • Physical therapy can help you ease your hip and knee discomfort by teaching you stretches, strengthening exercises, and other methods. You might stretch your iliotibial band with the use of these procedures, which would ease strain. You can learn the best ways to warm up before exercise and cool down after it from a physical therapist.
  • Posture training: Your iliotibial band syndrome may be impacted by the way you hold your body while performing daily tasks, participating in sports, or in other activities.
  • Injections of corticosteroids may help to lessen iliotibial band irritation.
  • Iliotibial band syndrome rarely requires surgery. If medication and physical therapy don’t help, your doctor might suggest it.

Burning pain in the knee is brought on by inflammation of the soft tissues in the knee.

Inflammation of the soft tissues that make up the joint is a common reason for burning pain in the knee. Wearing and tearing on the knee’s connective tissue, including the cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and muscles, can cause knee discomfort.

Various soft tissue issues that can cause discomfort include:

3- Bursitis

Knee bursitis is an inflammation of the tiny fluid-filled sacs or pockets (bursa) that are found in the joint. In response to an injury or excessive use, the bursae become inflamed.

When kneeling, the pain from knee bursitis is more noticeable, and it is very typical in people who are subjected to large loads. The front of the knee is where this kind of pain is felt.

Treatment of bursitis

The following actions can be taken to reduce bursitis pain

  • Rest and refrain from overusing the injured region.
  • For the first 48 hours following the onset of symptoms, apply ice to lessen swelling.
  • Use heat that is dry or wet, like a heating pad or a warm bath.
  • To relieve pain and reduce inflammation, take an over-the-counter painkiller such ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, etc.) or naproxen sodium (Aleve, etc.). Some are available in skin-applying form.
  • If you sleep on your side, put a small pillow in between your legs to support your knees.

4- Tendonitis

Inflammation of the strong fibrous cords that connect muscle to bone is known as tendinitis. Tendons are the name for these cords. Just outside a joint, the disease causes discomfort and tenderness.

Any tendon can develop tendinitis. But the shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and heels are where it most frequently occurs.

Treatment of Tendonitis

Consider the following advice to lessen your risk of developing tendinitis

Ease up: Avoid prolonged or strenuous activities that put too much strain on your tendons. If you get pain when exercising, stop and take a break.

Shake things up: Try a different exercise or activity if one hurts you. You can combine high-impact exercises like running with low-impact exercises like bicycling or swimming by cross-training.

Move more effectively: You may put yourself at risk for tendon issues if you do an activity or workout incorrectly. When learning a new sport or using fitness equipment, think about taking classes or getting advice from an expert.

Stretch: After exercising, extend the range of motion in all of your joints. After exercise, when your muscles are warmed up, is the ideal time to stretch.

Right-move around the office: Ensure that your workstation, chair, and keyboard are properly adjusted for your height, arm length, and the duties you perform. This will lessen the tension on your tendons and joints.

Get your muscles ready for a game: Muscles utilized in your sport or activity can carry more weight more effectively by being stronger.

5- Meniscus tears

A meniscus tear is a cartilage injury to the knee. When you violently twist or rotate your knee while bearing weight on it, a frequent sports injury typically results. Pain, swelling, stiffness, and knee giving way are some of its symptoms.

Treatment of Meniscus tears

Depending on the kind, size, and location of your tear, conservative treatment for a torn meniscus is frequently the first step.

Surgery is typically not necessary since arthritis-related tears frequently become better over time with therapy for the underlying condition. In addition, many other tears that aren’t connected to locking or a block to knee mobility won’t worsen over time and won’t need to be surgically repaired.

Your physician might advise:

Rest: Avoid doing things that make your knee pain worse, especially anything that makes your knee twist, rotate, or pivot. Using crutches might relieve strain on your knee and hasten healing if your pain is severe.

Ice: Knee discomfort and swelling can be reduced with ice. Keep your knee elevated while applying a cold pack, a bag of frozen vegetables, or an ice pack-filled towel for about 15 minutes at a time. The first day or two, repeat this every four to six hours, and thereafter as often as required.

Medication: Knee pain can also be relieved by over-the-counter painkillers.


Injury/Trauma Additionally, tearing as a cause of intermittent, acute knee discomfort

Burning knee pain could have a piercing cause, such as a knee injury. Knee cartilage can be severely destroyed by blunt force trauma, and the bones of the knees can get injured as a result.

6- Tear in the Cartilage:

A torn piece of cartilage can also cause throbbing knee discomfort. Damage to the cartilage and subsequent knee discomfort can result from trauma or sports injuries.

Treatment of Tear in the Cartilage

For minor joint injuries, self-care methods are typically advised as the initial course of treatment.

In the initial days:

  • Utilize support, such as a knee brace, to shield the injured area from further harm.
  • Lay off the injured/affected joint.
  • Regularly elevate the injured limb and massage the afflicted joint with ice.
  • Use over-the-counter analgesics like paracetamol or NSAIDs like ibuprofen to relieve your pain.

If your symptoms are severe or do not go away after a few days, get medical attention. You might require medical care, such as physiotherapy, or perhaps surgery.

7- Ligament Tears

Ligament tears are a frequent source of bodily pain. Your daily activities can be significantly impacted by a damaged ligament or meniscus. The side of the knee may experience pain from a torn lateral meniscus or lateral collateral ligament.

Treatment of Ligament Tears

Following are some examples of early medical care for knee ligament damage:

1) Rest

2) application of an ice pack (to reduce swelling that happens within hours of the injury)

3) Compression (from an elastic bandage or brace) (from an elastic bandage or brace)

4) Elevation

5) Drugs that reduce pain

The following therapies could be used to treat a torn knee ligament:

  • Strengthening exercises for muscles
  • securing knee brace (for use during exercise)
  • Activation restrictions

8- Gout

The formation of uric crystals in the knee joint might be caused by high blood uric acid levels. These crystals cause a clear inflammation that eventually presses against the local nerves and causes excruciating pain.

Treatment of Gout

If you have gout, your doctor can treat you for:

  • Use cold packs and medications such non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), colchicine, or corticosteroids to ease symptoms during an episode.
  • Reducing uric acid levels with medications like allopurinol and other lifestyle changes like decreasing weight or modifying your diet will help prevent further attacks.

Many people who receive treatment can lower their uric acid levels just enough to dissolve the gout crystals, preventing additional attacks. But typically, treatment must last a lifetime.

9- Arterial Disease of the Periphery

Leg and knee discomfort may be brought on by a condition known as artery narrowing in the limbs. Peripheral artery disease is the name of the condition.

Leg gangrene and resting pain are both consequences of impaired blood supply to the limbs.

Treatment of Arterial Disease of the Periphery

The following are the aims of therapy for peripheral artery disease:

  • Control symptoms, such as leg pain, to make activity more bearable.
  • To lower the risk of heart attack and stroke, improve arterial health.
  • Aside from medication occasionally, lifestyle adjustments are part of the treatment for peripheral artery disease.
  • Changes in lifestyle can help with symptoms, particularly when peripheral artery disease is still in its early stages.
  • The single most crucial action you can do to lower your chance of problems is to stop smoking.
  • Walking or engaging in other activities on a regular basis can significantly reduce symptoms (supervised exercise training).

10- Knee cysts as a potential source of intermittent, sharp pain

A fluid-filled cyst may result in throbbing knee discomfort. According to studies, baker’s cyst is a frequent source of pain at the back of the knee (back of the knee).

It is in the region behind the knee and is also referred to as the popliteal cyst. When the patient extends or flexes their knee, the baker’s cyst-related burning knee discomfort gets worse.


Several underlying disorders can result in burning knee pain. Pain and burning feelings are typically signs of nerve involvement. Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) and iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), which induce searing knee pain in the front and side of the knee correspondingly, are the main causes of such discomfort. In addition to these overuse injuries, infection or overuse may cause soft tissue inflammation (bursitis, tendonitis, etc.).

Burning pain can result from injuries to the knee joint’s femur and patella caused by blunt force damage to the knee’s ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. Peripheral artery disease, rheumatoid, and gouty arthritis, as well as Baker’s cyst in the back of the knee, can cause the joints and blood vessels of the leg to disintegrate, resulting in discomfort and loss of movement. Rest, over-the-counter pain relievers, massage therapy, corticosteroid injections, ligament repair, and arthroscopic surgery are among forms of treatment given by medical professionals. For individuals with ligament rips, knee braces are part of the medical advice, but total knee replacement is the sole treatment option for people with advanced osteoarthritis.


Why does my knee feel like it’s burning?

Burning at the front of the knee is frequently brought on by runner’s knee, also known as chondromalacia or patellofemoral pain syndrome, an overuse ailment (PFS). Additionally, the patellar tendon’s irritation may be the source of the tendonitis.

What causes knee discomfort that burns at night?

If you’d describe your knee discomfort as scorching, one of the following conditions is probably at blame: arthritic pain. The cartilage in your joints is harmed by the condition of arthritis. Although it can take many different forms, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two that most frequently affect the knees.

When your knee feels warm, what does that mean?

If one knee starts to become red and feels warmer to the touch than the other, get medical help right once. This can indicate an infection inside the joint.