Knee pain and discomfort can be experienced many different ways: a dull ache, a sharp, stabbing pain, possibly accompanied by stiffness, warmth and swelling of the knee. Some people also experience weakness or locking of the knee joint, which can be a strange and discomfiting sensation and inhibit one’s ability to function. In a recent study that explored the nature of pain through extensive interviews with 20 patients, 80% profiled two distinct types of knee pain: mechanical pain and inflammatory pain:
- Mechanical pain
This type of pain was described in many different ways, such as sharp or aching. It resulted from weight-bearing activities and knee joint movements, such as climbing stairs or squatting down. This type of pain intensified with increased knee joint strain and went away after a brief period of rest. It was also worse after a prolonged period of inactivity, such as getting up after sitting for a long time, and would go away after a few minutes of gentle movement of the joint.
- Inflammatory pain
This type of arthritic pain was often described in the interviews as burning, and often accompanied by swelling and a sensation of warmth. It was less predictable, sometimes occurring as flare-ups of intense pain in addition to the dull, aching form of mechanical pain, brought on by changes in the weather or by activity.