What is Stiffness of The Knee?

Stiffness in the knee is quite common in older adults and individuals that are physically active. Knee stiffness can be a result of lack of flexibility or balance in the muscles. It can also occur from an injury or arthritis. Knee stiffness is common but should not be ignored as it can be a sign of other problems.

Common Problems Indicated by Knee Stiffness


Knee stiffness can be a sign that there is an injury to the menisci or ligaments. The menisci are two pieces of cartilage behind the knee joint. Most commonly happening in sports or physical activity, the meniscus can be injured with sudden movement or twisting in the knee. This injury is typically accompanied with a popping sound and symptoms such as pain, swelling, or the feeling that the knee is going to give out. Ligaments in the knee connect to the thigh bone, lower leg, or tibia. A tear, sprain, or rupture of a ligament in the knee can cause pain, instability, and swelling.


Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis and pos-traumatic arthritis can cause knee stiffness and knee pain. Other symptoms of arthritis in the knee are swelling, pain in the knee, weakness in the knee, and increased pain or stiff during wet weather or physical activity. Although these types of arthritis are different, they all can lead to knee stiffness.

Treatment & Relief

The type of treatment will depend on what is causing the knee stiffness. For minor injuries, resting the knee, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication and applying ice are best. For more intense injuries, prescription pain medication or physical therapy may be a better option. In some instances, it’s best to avoid exercise. However, sometimes exercise can benefit the knee. Strengthening exercises can increase the strength of the muscles around the know to relieve the stress that is on the joint. Range-of-motion exercises like stretching, can reduce stiffness and keep the knee joint moving. Various treatment options are available depending on the cause of the stiffness. It’s best to consult a physician about what may be causing the pain and the best course of treatment.

At Plano Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center in Plano, Texas, we have several physicians that can treat various parts of the body. We are committed to helping our patients find treatment for their orthopedic pain. If you’re experiencing knee stiffness or pain, call us today and make an appointment with one of off our highly recommended and qualified physicians.

Call POSMC today!

To schedule an appointment with one our specialists, contact our scheduling department at 972-250-5700 or request an appointment online.

POSMC is a full-service medical facility specializing in the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries. The practice is led by a group of 12 board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. Contact us today!

Dr. Matthew C. Comley

Shoulder, Knee and Sports Medicine
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Dr. Adam Wright

Hip and Knee
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Dr. John E. McGarry

General Orthopedics, Shoulder, Knee and Sports Medicine
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Dr. John W. Barrington

Hip, Shoulder and Knee Replacement
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Dr. Randal L. Troop

Shoulder, Knee and Sports Medicine
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