Common Conditions That Cause a Burning Pain in the Knee

Doctor checking the knee xray result

A dull ache in the knees is a normal experience after a long day of physical activity. This kind of pain is usually familiar to most people. It typically goes away after a day or two of rest and home treatments like icing and compressing. However, some conditions cause burning pain in the knee. Often, this kind of pain is a sign you need medical treatment.

What causes burning pain in the knee?

Many conditions can cause pain in your knee. If you would describe your knee pain as burning, it’s likely due to one of the following:

  • Arthritis — Arthritis is a disease that causes damage to the cartilage in your joints. It comes in many forms, but the two that most commonly affect the knees are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

    Arthritis pain can be described as burning. The pain is long-lasting and limits the range of motion and strength of your knee.
  • Iliotibial band (IT band) syndrome — The IT band is a long piece of fibrous tissue that runs from the knee down to the top of your shin. Overuse of the knee can cause irritation and inflammation in the IT band, which leads to a burning pain on the outside of the knee.
  • Torn cartilage — The shin and thigh bones on each side of the knee are cushioned by a piece of cartilage known as the meniscus. There are two C-shaped menisci between each knee. A sudden twisting motion of the knee can cause a meniscus tear. This may feel like a burning pain and may limit the range of mobility in your knee.
  • Torn ligament — Each knee is held together by several ligaments. An injury, such as a direct impact to the knee or a fall, can cause the knee to bend in an incorrect direction or twist hard. When this happens, one of the ligaments can tear, which causes sharp, burning pain and limits your mobility.

Burning knee pain can be indicative of a problem with the joint of soft tissues around the knee. The burning sensation in your knee is often surrounding an issue with your ligaments and tendons. It's important to discuss the location of your knee pain with your physician. Is your burning knee pain concentrated in the front, back, or sides? Identifying the central location of the pain is helpful in identifying the potential cause. 

Top Questions To Ask Yourself to Determine if Your Knee Pain is Serious

If you're experiencing persistent burning sensations in the knee or knee pain in general, here are a few questions to ask yourself. If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, it may be time to see a doctor. 

  • Does your knee pain keep you awake at night? Does your knee pain interrupt your sleep? 
  • Are you able to complete normal daily activities including climbing stairs, walking, and comfortably getting in & out of your car?
  • Has your quality of life decreased as a result of your knee pain? 
  • Are you restricting certain normal activities as a result of knee pain (shopping, walking, travel, golf, etc.)?  

Visit the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute for knee pain treatment

A burning sensation in the knee may be a sign of a serious condition. Our team at the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute can examine your knee to determine the cause of the pain and develop a treatment.

Contact us today to learn more about treatment for burning sensations in the knee, or to schedule an initial appointment.