Orthopedist Questions Knee Problems

Stabbing knee pain when lying down sleeping

I am a 14 year old male and over the last couple of months I have had random but really severe knee pain that wakes me up at night. It feels like someone is stabbing my knee. I am unable to move it. Over a couple of hours the pain lessens but for the next day, I am not able to move it up and down fully. It then will be totally fine with no pain until it happens again, sometimes months later. I went for an x-ray and they did not see anything- but something medical has to be happening for me to have such bad pain. What could this be? It is such a strange thing and very scary- I am looking for answers.

26 Answers

I would recommend seeing a knee specialist and having an evaluation. They may suggest a test such as an MRI.
Dear boy,

First of all, sorry for the late response. To me these type of complaints seem to be anterior knee pain, most likely to be incurred by the knee cap. Do you remember whether these painful nights follow day in which you were more active or more sitting on your knees, having them flexed? The knee cap is particularly at your age vulnerable to long standing compression, which induces a sore spot there. You could compare it to a bruise. It is nothing to be afraid of and it will disappear in time. Although it could last for several years. If it occurs again, just try to move your knee a little, take some painkillers and go on living, for it is not harmful, it just hurts.

I hope you appreciate my answer.
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This could be an osteoid osteoma
Are you a runner? Any other joint pains? Any injury?
It sounds like you need to see an orthopaedic surgeon. There are various things that need to be ruled out and it may involve having an MRI scan, but without knowing exactly where the pain is and signs on examination it is not possible to go further with a diagnosis on line.
It could be that during sleep your patella, or knee cap is shifting slightly out of place (subluxation) and causing your muscles to go into spasm, once the patella shifts back into place, the muscles relax and things go back to normal for you. Most of the time, as you complete your growth and if you are athletic with good muscle tone in your quadriceps, it will likely resolve. If it becomes more frequent, happens during the day, or is associated with knee swelling, you should be re-evaluated and consider a repeat X-ray and possibly and MRI.

Hope this helps.

To your musculoskeletal health,

Dr. T
Sounds like a bucket handle meniscus tear but could be a loose body related to an OCD lesion. Need MRI scan of your knee.
Most likely you have an area of soft cartilage on the back of your knee cap that is periodically irritating , it can result in severe pain when bending your knee and be bothersome at times at night , if it persists despite taking an aspirin for several weeks per day the you need to get at an MRI
I recommend to do an exact examination of your hip and knee by a specialist orthopaedic and vascular surgeon. Further, I recommend an MRI examination of the knee and adjacent area.
Thank you for your question.

Your presentation is not very clear, so the answer to your question will not be clear. What you need is an assessment by an orthopedic surgeon specializing in knee problems. It sounds like your kneecap, or patella, is the source of the pain. However, if I were your doctor I would need some additional details in your history about what part of your knee hurts and whether there are any other associated symptoms. I would need to perform a detailed physical exam. I would also want to personally review your X-rays, and if they are normal then order an MRI to look at the soft tissue parts of the knee (cartilage, meniscus, ligaments, tendons, etc.).

Kenneth R. Brooks, M.D.
May need MTI
You need to be seen and examined by an Orthopaedic Surgeon
You are probably experiencing a problem with the patellofemoral joint or the "knee cap". I would recommend physical therapy to strengthen your hip and thigh muscles. Hope this helps.
It depends on several factors. When did it begin? How did it begin? Every had an injury to it? You would require a good examination and then a further history. I suggest that when it does not hurt, practice stretching it out, and then do these stretching exercises daily, to work on your flexibility. Pop-doc.com has suggested exercises.
There are several possible causes for this. Meniscal pathology or a symptomatic plica or most common. A physical examination of the knee will be helpful and an MRI would be indicated to further evaluate soft tissue injury. Hope this helps.
There are a few different sources of knee pain in adolescents. The best place to start is with a diagnosis. The knee should be evaluated by a sports medicine trained physician or orthopedic surgeon so that a proper H&P can be performed. If conservative treatments are not improving the pain then advanced imaging will likely be performed to further evaluate for an underlying cause.
Especially during growth spurts, one can experience such pains. However it is very possible that you may have tendinitis or irritation of your growth plates that may not show up on XR. An MRI may be needed, but would be guide by a physician. please go to www.MichaelLimMD.com to schedule an appointment.
It is not normal to be 14 years old, and without preceding cause (like injury) to have severe deep knee pain. Plain X-rays do not answer the cause question. An expert examination and MRI will likely yield the answer. Mark Snyder MD
It could be "growth" pain. This will often subside on its own
This is an unusual presentation of knee pain. I would get in to see a specialist (orthopedic surgeon) for an examination. You may need a follow up MRI.
Night pain around the knee in a growing individual needs to be investigated by Bone Scan, CTscan and if required a MRI.
Osteoid Osteoma a benign tumor is a possibility .
May be related to growth, but a MRI should show the cause.
It could possibly be Chondromalacia, which is very common in young adults. It has to do with the softening of the cartilage. It may be beneficial to have an MRI done, if the pain persists.
It's probably Osgood-Schlotter disease, which is no big deal. It does hurt, but is not dangerous. Read about it. Rest, anti-inflammatory meds, ice is the treatment.

It could be other things, but that's a very common problem.
You need MRI studies. Osteoid osteoma can be a cause. With aspirin, there is dramatic relief and this is one test.
In the absence of injury, this is most likely pain related to growth and will resolve on its own.