Knee Pain at Night

When I sleep on my side, the bottom knee starts hurting after a while.
I wake up a couple of times for peeing purposes so I do not really know if the pain plays any part in waking me up.
Anyway, when I return to bed I change positions, and if I end up sleeping on my other side, by morning, the other knee is hurting.
When I tried googling I got hits for knee pain “at night” meaning when you lie down in bed, not after you have been asleep for a while.
I would appreciate any opinions on what it might be, or even how I might refine my search terms!

See a doctor. Knee pain is extremely difficult to diagnose in person, online it’s practically impossible to be sure what is causing it. Unfortunately, a physical exam is really the place to start with knee pain.

Having said that, you could try sleeping with a knee pillow to see if that helps. That could help the diagnosis or at least it’s a relatively cheap thing to try.

This happens to me as well. When the pain wakes me up I roll over to the other side. In my case the pain is likely not a part of Polymyalgia Rheumatica which is currently responding well to treatment.

Have you tried taking a NSAID at bedtime?

@Telemark: yes, my purpose wasn’t to be diagnosed, just either possible things it MIGHT be as googling brings results of a specific condition which is similar but with a basic difference, or ways to refine my search.

@kayaker : It’s a relief to know I am not the only one! NSAIDs are contraindicated due to another medication I am on, unfortunately, also I would prefer not to take medications of my own accord.

This! You need read no further.

Thanks, I understand what you are saying, but again, I am not trying to get a diagnosis!

This is a good article.

What are you going to do with your google search results? Are you gathering information before seeing a doctor?

Thanks Jasmine, but as with the articles I found, it talks about pain that starts when you lie down in bed. My thing starts after I have been asleep for a while. And when I turn to the other side, the first knee doesn’t hurt any more, the other one does. (Not saying that it isn’t any of the things mentioned in that article of course, the losing weight bit stood out to me…)

I have a host of other probably more serious stuff to deal with before I can allocate/ divert time, energy, and most importantly money to this, so in a sense yes.
If I become concerned with what I find, the knee thing may get bumped up.
It is only recently that it started happening (or perhaps that I noticed it?), so I am exploring what it might be.

There is one simple answer, one that I experience. The upper leg is applying its weight on the lower leg’s knee joint, pressing it sideways. This will inevitably result in knee pain for me. Indeed what is described is exactly the type of knee pain I get.

Simple remedy. Be aware of where your legs are, and avoid sleeping with the upper leg crossed over the lower one.


Heh, I hope it’s that innocuous.
I don’t get it when I am on my back or belly so it’s a strong possibility.

I suppose then you could get a knee-stabalizing knee brace and see if that helps. It would keep the upper leg from bending the lower knee.

I considered one of those knee pillows, but my doc told me to sleep with a pillow that extends from knee to ankle.

OP, I sympathize with you. Pains in the legs are something I know about – once a week or so, I wake up with a baseball-sized knot in the muscles of my leg just below and behind the knee, or cramps in my ankles that are so bad it seems like they are bending inwards. It strikes when I’m asleep, it hurts like a mofo, and the only thing which eases it is to get up, get the bottoms of both feet on the floor, and walk it off.

I tried various spandex “sleeves” to try to keep everything in the right place. At first they seemed to help. As time went by the knee wore out, and I started having a lot of pain driving home after work. The doc took x rays, said I was almost bone on bone in one leg and how did I injure it? Errm, I don’t remember injuring it. Other knee was totally fine. I had it totally replaced.

Some people get injections rather than surgery. Not sure how expensive or whether they’re covered by insurance or any of that, and they wear off.