Your knees are two of the most important joints in your entire body, and are often the ones that get treated the worst every single day. My college roommate was on her third knee surgery by the time we were getting ready to graduate, simply because she played volleyball for 8 years.
Taking care of your knees is crucial for a healthy life, so here are some common reasons why they might be hurting and what you can do about it.
1. Overuse and Tendonitis
When a tendon around the knee gets irritated from constant use (take my roommate's jumping and diving in volleyball for example), it'll start to hurt. The affected area will swell, or a lump will develop along the tendon.
Another sign: The pain in the area will increase when you move or flex the knee.
Try this: The first step is resting and applying ice to the knee. Another exercise my roommate used was to kneel on the floor with your feet underneath the couch to keep them in place (you should be facing away from the couch), then lean your torso toward the ground slowly. It sounds like it would strain the knee but it actually strengthens and stretched the tendon.
2. Bad Form
Whether your running, walking, or doing anything physical with incorrect form, you are putting yourself at risk for injuries. Proper form and technique are key to preventing stress and strain on the joints. Something as simple as putting your knees in front of your toes while squatting can irritate the joint.
Try this: Try sitting on a chair and raise your knee up to your chest, release, and repeat with the other knee. If pain persists, ice, rest, and revisit.
3. Cartilage Pain
My roommate was the queen on the torn meniscus (this is why she was on her third knee surgery before turning 25) The meniscus is the part of your body that connects the knee joint, and you can tell when it is strained when you hear/feel clicking, popping, or snapping deep inside the knee. This usually happens from starting, stopping, and changing position fast. It can also happen if you squat too low or get up from a chair in a weird way/
Try this: After a suspected meniscus injury, ice it immediately. Check with your doctor after that. Once given the okay to exercise, strengthen and stabilize the knee with standing leg raises, hamstring curls, and heel raises.
4. Stretched Ligament
After a ligament is stretched or sprained, it doesn't return to the normal shape. This is not something you want to mess with, so get a brace on it ASAP.
Try this: The best approach is rest, ice , compression, and elevation. Bracing is best for this injury.
5. Muscle Pain
Straining or tearing a muscle around the knee joint will cause pain in that area and it is NOT fun. If you pull or strain the hamstrings, groin, or quads, it will most likely cause extra pain around the knee.
Try this: Rest, heat and gentle stretching can make the healing process easier.
Arthritis in the knees is overwhelmingly common, and is something that causes daily pain from annoying to excruciating levels.
Try this: The treatment of choice for any joint arthritis is heat, aquatic therapy, and gentle range of motion exercises. Everyone has different approaches to dealing with this pain, but low impact exercises is a MUST.