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What is the reason for sudden severe pain in my knees?

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Practicing since : 2001
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I've been experiencing a sore right knee for several months now, it feels as though something is twisted or pulling mostly behind my knee or where the knee bends, I have never had any issues with my legs or knees just a few minutes ago, I got a very sudden searing pain (twice) in my (left) knee, it was so sudden and painful I had to scream out loud and take all my weight off my leg....I felt it almost start again, when I went to sit down in my chair, but I hurried and moved my leg, and somehow it stopped it....what could this was so sudden and excruciating, and I wasn't doing anything but walking to the refrigerator
Posted Tue, 1 May 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 34 minutes later

Thanks for writing to us.

A sudden severe pain in your knee without any history of trauma is most likely to be due to two reasons-

1. Meniscal tear- Due to overuse and sudden bending, the meniscus in between the knee bones gets torn. Diagnosis can be made by MRI knee joint or after arthroscopy. You orthopaedician will guide you for that.

2. Osteoarthritis- An age related degenerative change in the bones specially weight bearing joints- usually seen bilaterally. Can be diagnosed by having an X-ray of your knees in standing position.

Till the time you get an appointment with your orthopaedician, you can have pain killers like ibuprofen to reduce the pain and inflammation, do a hot compresses, avoid weight bearing on your knee joints and use a crepe bandage around your knee. You can also apply a local analgesic gel after hot fomentation.

I hope my answer and recommendations are adequate and helpful. Waiting for your further follow up queries if any.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What is the reason for sudden severe pain in my knees? 28 hours later
I didn't mention, in my original question, that I was diagonosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, well over a decade ago, but have only ever experienced two significant episodes, at the time of the diagnosis, and have had no icidentsc since. I've recently talked with my doctor about the pain in my right knee, the soreness and the pulling sensation etc., and mentioned the R.A. for the first time, consequently, he ordered a series of blood tests, to see whether or not the R.A. was an issue or how much inflamation was present. The tests came back in the normal range. Would you recommend that I go back to my doctor and let him know about the (new) recent problems, I've now experienced with my left knee, the sudden sharp searing pain, and ask him if an xray is necessary? There is definitely something going on, that I have never experienced before, with both knees, and I don't want to further aggravate things, if there is an issue. On the other hand, I don't want to make something more of this, and incur the cost of an MRI and Xray's etc., (however; I do have good insurance), if this may only be temporary, or due to me being overweight. I am 49 years old, and a size 16-18, and am definitely overweight, however, very active, and toned. I would like to lose 40 - 50 pounds, and am hoping that getting rid of the excess weight, will help the situation, and maybe alleviate this problem all together. Thank you in advance for your help. XXXXXXX S. Hemp
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 17 minutes later
Hello XXXXXXX S.Hemp,

Thanks for writing again.

Even if all your blood tests have come normal still the pain might be due to rheumatoid arthritis. It is more of a symptom based diagnosis.

I suggest you to continue with the medicines your doctor has prescribed you and if there is no improvement in next 10 days then you will have to have X-rays and MRI.

Losing weight will definitely help in decreasing the pain.

Hope I have answered your query.

Wishing you an early recovery.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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