Contact Us Today

How to Stop Nighttime Knee Pain

Knees take a lot of abuse, wear, and tear throughout the day. Having pain in your knees when you go to bed can be caused by a variety of injuries and conditions. While a specific injury can result in pain that will keep you awake at night, though knee pain can also come about for a wide range of reasons. Strains, sprains, arthritis, gout, tendonitis, and simple overuse are common causes that can have your knees aching in pain.

What Causes Knee Pain at Night?


If you suffer from osteoarthritis, the muscles around your damaged knee relax when you lay down to go to sleep. Thinning cartilage in between the bones in your arthritic knees will cause pain when the bones rub against each other as your muscles relax.

Rheumatoid arthritis

A form of arthritis that is also an autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis can cause nighttime knee pain when the immune system attacks your joints, resulting in pain and deformity.


Gout pain at night is due to the formation of joint crystals caused by excess uric acid that swell up in your knee and cause pain as you try to fall asleep.


Knee injuries are common among athletes and fitness enthusiasts, though your knees can suffer trauma doing just about any physical activity. The pain from injuries or other trauma can flare up in your knees at night as your body relaxes.


Repetitive knee motions can cause a buildup of fluid over time around the joint in your knee. The pain tends to increase when the knee is bent. Bursitis is common among tradespeople like carpet layers and roofers, as well as football players and other athletes.


Inflammation of knee tendons can be caused by overuse or injury, resulting in swelling, redness, and pain. As the body winds down and the muscles around your knee relax, the pain from knee tendonitis tends to increase at night.

Daytime Knee Pain Management

Overuse of your knee joint during the day will lead to a more painful night’s sleep. Noting activities during the day that can put extra strain on your knees can help to reduce pain at night.

Some simple recommendations to help reduce nighttime knee pain during the day include:

Consider replacing time on the treadmill with less stressful exercise options like the elliptical, swimming, or the stationary bike to get the same workout without severe and repetitive knee motions.

Stop any activities that cause immediate pain in your knee. It is your body’s way of telling you to slow down and reassess the way you are moving and using your knees.

Taking the stairs can put excessive pressure on your knee joint. Avoid stairs when a less stressful option is available.

Excess weight will put undue stress on your knees throughout the day. Losing a few pounds will go a long way to easing pressure and pain on your knees.

Before and after exercising or performing any other physical activity, make sure you stretch out your legs and body. Regular stretching regardless of your activities will help reduce knee pain when you go to bed.

Tips to Prevent Nighttime Knee Pain

If you have bad knees due to trauma, arthritis, or any other conditions, there is only so much you can do during the day to prevent pain at night. As your body winds down and the muscles surrounding your damaged knee relax, the pain will naturally increase.

There are some simple tips and suggestions that work to help prevent or reduce pain in your knees as you are trying to fall asleep. Pain can range from mildly annoying to seriously disabling. Wherever your pain is on the spectrum, it can keep you tossing and turning all night, and have an effect on your production and quality of life the next day.

Try following these basic recommendations to help reduce or prevent knee pain at night.

Warm Bath Before Bed

Sliding into a warm bath before you go to sleep can relax your mind and body, making it easier for you to drift off when you get into bed. It will also work to relieve joint pain to help you fall asleep. A nice warm bath reduces the gravitational pull that puts pressure on your knees. It will also increase circulation to reduce the swelling and inflammation in your knees.

Painless Sleeping Position

Much of the tossing and turning that goes on as you try to fall asleep is an attempt to find the most effective sleeping position that will put the least amount of stress on your knees. A common way to relieve pressure and pain on aching knees is to place a large pillow between your legs or underneath your knees to prop them up.

Hot or Cold Pack

Applying ice or heat to your knees for about 20 minutes before climbing into bed will help to reduce swelling and relieve at least some of the pain. Placing ice directly on your knee may cause skin damage and additional pain, so always wrap ice in a towel or cloth.

Medication Adjustment

If any pain medication you are taking wears off in the middle of the night, knee pain can wake you and make it difficult to fall back to sleep. When this happens, it is recommended that you consult with your doctor to adjust your medication schedule.

Additional Tips, Remedies for Nighttime Knee Pain

Some other things you can do to help reduce or prevent nighttime knee pain include:

Wear knee guards and pads during strenuous activities

Wear proper footwear and avoid wearing heels

Use compression wraps

Keep your knees elevated whenever possible

Reduce stress on the knee by using a cane or crutches if the pain is severe

Why Choose Joint Pain Orthopedics

If these remedies and tips do not help to relieve your nighttime knee pain, it could be time to consult with the professionals at Joint Pain Orthopedics. Dr. Christopher Jimenez and his incredible staff of health care specialists have extensive knowledge of knee pain and perform knee replacement surgeries.

Get Started Today

Contact Joint Pain Orthopedics today for complete information on our wide range of services and treatments for knee and hip pain, or schedule your next appointment today.