Pain on the Inside of the Knee: Knee Pain Causes and Knee Conditions - Brace Direct

Pain on the Inside of the Knee: Knee Pain Causes and Knee Conditions

Do you rarely have a minute to sit down? If you constantly use your legs to run, walk, jump or skip, you may have noticed inner knee pain developing as you’ve grown older. 

The knee has a challenging job of holding up your body whenever you’re standing or moving. As such, it’s clear why knee pain on inside of knee is a rather common problem. 

If you’re suffering from knee aches, the information below should give you an idea of your possible problem. If your inner knee pain is severe, make sure to see a doctor.

Keep reading to learn why you may have aching or sore knees.

The Building Blocks of the Inner Knee

Understanding the anatomy and what your inner knee is made of can help you better understand where your pain is coming from. Muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons make up the joints of the human body, including the knees.

Tendons are essential for connecting the skeleton and bones to muscles. Then, the muscles and bones work together to move the knee. The two main tendons in the knee include the patellar tendon and the quadriceps tendon.

The quadriceps tendon connects the quadriceps muscles to the patella bone, otherwise known as the kneecap. The patellar tendon connects the patella to the tibia, the long bone in the lower leg. 

The ligaments are also important, as they consist of strong elastic tissue connecting bones to bones. The knee includes four major ligaments known as:

  1. Patellar ligament
  2. Posterior cruciate ligament
  3. Anterior cruciate ligament
  4. Medial and lateral collateral ligaments

If you have pain on inner side of knee, you might have problems with the ligaments or cartilage cushions between your bones. Some other vital parts of the knee include the meniscus, the bursa, and the plica regions. 

The meniscus is a piece of cartilage that cushions the area between the femur and tibia bones, which are the two long bones in the leg. The bursa is a cushion between the bones and tendons. The plica is a fold in the tissue around your knee joint. 

Why Do You Have Inside of Knee Pain?

There are at least five common reasons for pain on the inside of the knee, which include:

  1. Meniscus tear
  2. Medial knee plica syndrome
  3. Bursitis
  4. Knee osteoarthritis
  5. Median collateral ligament sprain or tear

We delve further into each of these possible reasons for knee pain below. 

Meniscus Tear

A torn meniscus is usually one of the most universal reasons for a damaged knee. Often, a torn meniscus occurs if you twist your knee with full force. The activities that lead to a meniscus tear are usually sports-related, such as soccer. 

Furthermore, gymnastics and cheerleading may require twisting of the knee, which could also lead to a meniscus tear.

You may have torn your meniscus cushion if you have knee pain on the inside of a knee, along with stiffness and swelling. First, you should let the injury heal by resting the knee and using ice packs and painkillers. If the pain persists, you may need surgery.

Medial Knee Plica Syndrome

When the plica or the fold around your knee joint gets overused and irritated, you’re likely to have pain and swelling of the knee. Plica syndrome usually occurs among runners, bicyclists, and athletes. However, it can also occur from a car crash or other accident.

You may need to undergo an X-ray for a physician to properly diagnose medial knee plica syndrome. To treat the problem, you need to apply ice packs, let the knee rest, take ibuprofen, and strengthen your quadriceps with workouts. 


Bursitis occurs when the fluid-filled sacs cushioning the bones, muscles, and tendons around your knee joint become inflamed. If your knee undergoes repetitive motion regularly, you may risk having bursitis in the future. 

Is the inside of knee painful? Does it feel achy, swollen, and stiff? You may potentially have bursitis. You will need to rest your knee and possibly wear a knee brace to let it heal. 

Knee Osteoarthritis

When the cartilage in your knee begins to break down, the bones start pressing against each other. That is when knee osteoarthritis occurs. As a result, your knees will likely start hurting and feel stiff. They may also swell up.

Usually, the condition takes place in people above 40 years of age. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for knee osteoarthritis. However, you can slow down its advancement and relieve the symptoms with pain pills, physical therapy, and steroid injections. A knee brace will also help patients maintain alignment as they go through treatment.

Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Sprain or Tear

The medial collateral ligament (MCL) connects your femur and tibia bones. When the MCL gets torn or sprained, you will feel pain when walking and have swelling and tenderness around the knee. 

An MCL tear may happen upon impact to the outside of the knee, when lifting heavy objects, or landing on your knee after jumping. 

If your doctor diagnoses you with an MCL tear, you must use the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method. In addition, you will likely need to wear a knee brace, use crutches, and complete physical therapy.

The Symptoms: Why You Have Pain On the Inside of the Knee 

If you have a torn meniscus, the symptoms you’re likely to experience include:

  • A feeling of popping
  • Stiffness and trouble straightening the knee completely
  • Swelling and pain
  • Feeling as if your knee won’t hold you up
  • Your knee feels as if it is stuck in place when moving

Those suffering from plica syndrome may have the following symptoms:

  • A clicking or popping sound
  • A swollen area around the kneecap
  • Trouble sitting for elongated periods
  • Difficulty walking and standing on stairs

Those with bursitis often have a red and swollen knee joint, have achiness and stiffness in the knee, and feel more discomfort when moving or pressing on the joint.

Osteoarthritis symptoms include:

  • Stiff knees first thing in the morning or after sitting down for a long time
  • Puffiness and swelling
  • Grinding sound when moving your knee
  • Feeling as if your knees won’t hold you up

An MCL tear or sprain can lead you to feel like your knee is about to give out or your joint locks when walking. You’re likely to have a stiff, tender, and swollen knee. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Inside Knee Pain

Below, we answer a few common questions about knee pain and why you have knee pain inside your leg.  

What are the first signs of knee problems?

The first warning signs of having knee-related medical conditions include minor stiffness in the knee and some swelling. You are also likely to feel weak in the knees and may have trouble standing up or walking. Pain is also common.

In addition, you may feel a popping perception or have trouble straightening out your leg. The most common reasons you may have knee problems include injuries, ongoing stress on the knee, and aging.

What causes knee pain without injury?

Knee osteoarthritis occurs due to aging instead of injury. Rheumatoid arthritis in the knee also happens due to an autoimmune disease. An infection inside the knee joint known as septic arthritis can also lead to knee pain. 

Bursitis also doesn’t occur due to injury. Bursitis can occur due to an infection or irritation of the fluid-filled cushions surrounding the knee joint. These are all potential causes of knee pain without the joint getting injured.

How do I know if my knee pain is serious?

You should see a physician if your knee pain is accompanied by redness, major swelling, tenderness and warmth, and a fever. Furthermore, if your minor knee pain is ongoing and progresses to interfere with your usual activities, you should make an appointment with your doctor. 

If a popping noise occurred when you were injured or had severe pain, get medical help immediately. 

Before You Go

The knee is a complex joint, and numerous ligaments, cushions, or tendons can get injured. In the information above, we have covered five of the most common reasons for knee pain and the symptoms associated with the medical conditions. 

If your pain is minor, try resting the knee, using ice packs, and taking painkillers. However, if you experience painful swelling, tenderness, redness, and a fever, make sure to see a doctor. These signs could indicate infection. With medical care, your knee pain can get a proper diagnosis and treatment.