The Cause Of Sharp Needle Like Pain In Knee When Kneeling

Sharp needle like pain in your knee when kneeling can be debilitating and concerning, on top of the intense, painful sensations it causes.

If you work a profession where you are constantly kneeling down, such as a mechanic or plumber, it can prevent you from getting to work. Or, maybe you’re an athlete worried about your career.

Whatever the case, we are here to help you understand why you are feeling this specific type of pain, and why it occurs when you kneel down.

We’ll share some potential causes, along with some home remedies to help you feeling better pain wise, and about your situation! Let’s start with a quick anatomy lesson.

Understanding The Anatomy Of The Knee

To help you understand why it’s not easy to diagnose pain in your knee, we need to explain just how complex of a joint the knee is.

There are all kinds of different ligaments, tendons, muscles, and bony structures in a small area. When it comes to knee pain, we can really sum up the anatomy in three categories:

  • Knee bones
  • Knee bursae
  • Knee tendons/ligaments

Knee Bones

The knee bones consist of the different leg bones connecting at your knee – that is the femur, tibia, and patella. We don’t usually discuss the fibula when talking knee pain, because it’s located further down.

Knee Bursae

The knee bursae category is made up of structures within the knee. These structures act as cushion and reduce friction between bone ends. There are three of them, and located above, in front, and below the patella.

Knee Tendons and Ligaments

Finally, you have the most likely culprit – your knee tendons and ligaments. These are notorious for tearing or becoming sprained, which leads to severe pain and immobility. The most noteworthy are:

  • MCL
  • ACL
  • PCL
  • Patellar tendon
  • Quadriceps tendon

What Could Be Causing Sharp Needle Like Pain In The Knee When Kneeling on it?

The tricky part of diagnosing a sharp, needle like pain in the knee when kneeling is that any of the three categories described above could be to blame.

To help narrow it down, consider what you were doing that could be causing the pain – did you bump your knee into something, or take a fall? If so, it could be the knee bones.

Or, did you overextend your leg when running? Then it is more likely a ligament or tendon that has become stretched and aggravated, which is giving you grief.

To know for sure, you are best off visiting a doctor to get a professional opinion. The doctor will ask you specific questions about your condition, and can perform tests on your knee as well.

But, there are some conditions that are actually really common, and so it’s fair to assume one of the following issues could be to blame.

Knee Bursitis

The most likely cause for sharp needle like pain in the knee when kneeling is bursitis. This is when one of the three bursa we mentioned earlier becomes inflamed. This causes pressure on surrounding nerves, which are further pressed upon when you kneel down.

Unlike tendinitis, this condition is more likely in those who are somewhat inactive. You are also more at risk if you kneel a lot, as this will wear down the knee bursa.

You can tell it’s bursitis causing the pain if the sharp needle like pain when kneeling subsides and becomes a dull, aching pain when you stand up/extend your knee straight.

Ligament Tears

These are easy to diagnose, because you typically know right when they happen. For example, a bad knee on knee hit in football, hockey, or some other contact sport.

In some instances, though, ligaments can suffer small microtears from overusing the knee in question.

Like your spine, these ligaments break down with age. If you are in the elderly population and feel needle like pain in your knee when kneeling, don’t rule out a ligament tear until you get some professional tests done!

Patellar Tendinitis

As the name suggests, patellar tendinitis is an aggravation of the patellar tendon. The tendon can become inflamed, which causes sharp pain and tenderness to the touch. This pain becomes exacerbated when kneeling and putting pressure on the knee joint.

In some instances, you can feel for a lump on the patella where it hurts the most. This is a common injury for active individuals, as it is an overuse injury. Those who are constantly kicking and jumping – such as soccer, basketball, track and field athletes, etc.

Home Remedies For Sharp Needle Like Pain In The Knee When Kneeling Down

While we still recommend you visit a doctor to get a professional diagnosis along with the proper treatment plan, there are some things you can do while you wait to decrease the inflammation in your knee and lower your pain levels.

RICE Method

Start with the RICE Method: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Following this protocol will do wonders for the initial inflammation you suffer from any sort of injury, and will speed up your recovery dramatically.

You should avoid painkillers unless prescribed by a doctor, and even then, use them as an emergency on your most painful days.

After some initial downtime, and doing some things to try and lower inflammation, you can try and increase blood flow to the injury.

This can be done with low level activity on a daily basis, such as taking a walk around your neighborhood or doing some stretching. Take it slow at first, or you will only re-aggravate the injury.

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Stevie Compango, CNSC, CPT

Stevie is Certified Nutrition Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer for the past 10 years. He specializes in mobility and chronic pain management. His methods have helped thousands of clients improve the quality of their life through movement.

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