When I fold my knee it hurts, what’s wrong?

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The knee is an incredible mechanism within the human body, serving a crucial purpose in our daily mobility. Its impressive structure and precise function offer vital stability, enabling us the freedom to lead an active and gratifying life.

Nonetheless, the knee is not impervious to injury; on the contrary, it can be susceptible to various issues. When experiencing pain while bending the knee, this discomfort provides valuable insights into the potential underlying pathology. To gain further understanding and guidance, our orthotists in Saint-Jérôme are available to assist you.

Bending the knee induces additional stress

Bending the knee induces added stress due to the activation of muscles involved in the movement and the alteration of forces on the joint. When the knee bends, the quadriceps muscles contract, extending the leg and creating tension in the surrounding tendons and ligaments, leading to an increased load on these structures.

Furthermore, knee flexion changes the distribution of loads and forces on the joint and patella. The knee supports more of the body’s weight when bent, leading to elevated stress on the cartilage, ligaments, and tendons comprising the joint. Consequently, experiencing pain while bending the knee is normal if it originates from any of these affected areas. To restrict unwanted movement and provide support, a knee brace is often recommended.

What causes knee pain when bending

Knee pain when bending can be caused by several reasons, hence the importance of talking to a professional about it. Here are some pathologies to consider.

Ligament injury

Pain during knee flexion may result from a tear or sprain in knee ligaments, such as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or collateral ligaments. These injuries are often triggered by sudden movements, twists, or direct impacts on the knee.

Patellofemoral syndrome

Also known as “runner’s knee,” patellofemoral syndrome is characterized by irritation of the back surface of the patella and the trochlear groove of the femur. Pain is typically felt at the front of the knee during both flexion and extension, often accompanied by a crackling sensation when the knee is bent.


Knee pain on flexion can be caused by arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis. Worn articular cartilage leads to discomfort and pain, especially when the knee is bent. Managing knee osteoarthritis is crucial to minimize its impact on the body.

Knee tendonitis

Inflammation of the tendons surrounding the knee, such as the patellar tendon (patellar tendonitis) or the hamstring tendons (hamstring tendonitis), can induce pain when bending the knee, as these are the points where the tendons attach. Knee tendonitis is also referred to as crow’s-foot syndrome.


Bursae, small fluid-filled pockets near the knee joint, can become inflamed and cause pain during knee flexion. Overuse, injury, or infection are common factors contributing to bursitis.

Iliotibial band syndrome

Pain on the outer side of the knee during flexion may be due to iliotibial band syndrome. This condition is often caused by excessive friction between the iliotibial band (a tendon) and the femur bone.

These are just a few potential causes of knee pain during flexion. If you experience persistent knee pain when bending, it is important to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis. They will assess your specific situation, provide an appropriate diagnosis, and recommend suitable treatment.

If you can’t bend your knee without pain, here is what you can do

To alleviate knee pain when bending, consider following these steps:

  • Rest: Give your knee adequate rest and avoid activities that worsen the pain.
  • Ice: Apply ice to the painful area for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day to reduce inflammation.
  • Compression and Support: Utilize compression bandages or a knee brace as mentioned earlier to support the joint and reduce stress on it. A knee brace can provide significant relief.
  • Stretching and Strengthening: Engage in stretching and strengthening exercises that target the muscles around the knee. Gentle and progressive flexion exercises, supervised by a healthcare professional or orthotist, can enhance joint mobility and strength.
  • Modify Activities: Avoid sudden movements or high-impact activities until the pain subsides.
  • Seek Professional Advice: If the pain persists or worsens, consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan.

By taking these measures, you can promote healing, reduce discomfort, and improve the overall condition of your knee. Remember, individual cases may vary, so personalized guidance from a healthcare expert is essential for the most effective treatment.

Relief your knee pain with the help of our orthopedic laboratory

Do not underestimate knee pain. If it continues, schedule an appointment promptly to promote a swift recovery for your knee(s). If your doctor recommends a knee brace, visit our Laboratoire Orthopédique at Saint-Jérôme or give us a call – 450.504.5122.

Our experienced orthotists will offer you top-notch guidance, assisting you in restoring excellent knee mobility efficiently. 😊

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