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Sharp needle-like pain in the knee when kneeling | Causes

Have you ever experienced sharp needle-like pain in the knee when kneeling? It can be alarming and can hinder your normal activities. Intense pain in the knee might indicate an issue with the bone or adjacent neural structures. Sometimes, you may experience piercing pain when your internal or surrounding soft tissues of the knee are injured. Here you will learn the causes of the piercing knee pain. 

Sharp strain in the knee is usually short-term and a result of a sudden movement. It eases when you stop the triggering activity. Sometimes, the pain in and around the knee joint remains for long. Every so often, it may heal completely or reduces by leaving behind a residual or continuing ache or throbbing pain. 

If you have knee joint pain, some common causes include soft tissue injury or joint swelling. And if you feel a shooting pain that lingers down the leg, it specifies a neuronal problem (either in the knee or the lower back). 

Common Sources of Shrill Knee Pain 

If you feel a sharp needle-like pain in the knee when kneeling, you might be a victim of any knee issues mentioned above. Please do not worry, as medical science has a cure for each one. 

Soft Tissue Damage 

Damaged soft tissue is a prevalent cause of knee discomforts. The impairment of the cartilage lining of the knee or swelling of the knee bursa causes intense pain. 

Ripped Knee Cartilage 

Sharp pain in the knee may also be caused if something is stuck in the joint. Sometimes a trapped loose flap of cartilage in the knee leads to knee aching and locked movement. 

Bucket Handle Tear 

The knee bone surface is encapsulated in a bushy cartilage coating that enables smooth, frictionless, and comfortable movements. It also plays the role of a shock absorber that diminishes the forces that pass through the knee with vigorous sports or exercise activities. Tiny fragments get trapped in the joint if the cartilage is impaired. The two ways this can happen are Cartilage Fragment and Bucket Handle Tear. 

Knee Bursitis 

Knee bursitis can also cause intense pain in any section of the knee. If your bursa (anti-friction sac in the knee) is squashed, you may be a victim of Knee Bursitis. 

Knee Bone Issue

Sometimes an injury to one or more knee bones can lead to a piercing pain in the knee. Three bones form two separate joints of the knee: the Tibiofemoral Joint and the Patellofemoral Joint. 

Wear and Tear

Stabbing pain in the knee might also be a result of wear and tear of the joint. Your cartilage may be damaged if you are involved in sports or intense exercise activities. It makes your cartilage thin and fray. Sometimes an injury can rip the cartilage, forming tiny lumps of bone called osteophytes. 


If you experience sharp stabbing pain in the knee that comes and goesit might be due to osteoarthritis. Usually, the osteophytes diminish the space between bones, and when the protective cartilage is not present, the bones rub against each other. It leads to arthritis. 

When your knee moves, the friction and compression on the osteophytes cause intense pain, the pain comes when you perform strenuous or weight-lifting activities that place pressure on the knees or when you bend or twist your knee. And when you dismiss pressure on the osteophytes, the pain eases. But you may feel a residual ache. 

If you have arthritis, walking might be acceptable, but when you add extra pressure on your knees by squatting, jogging, moving on the stairs, you may experience pain. 

Loose Bodies 

Trapped particles in your knee joint may lead to sharp pain. Usually, it is a tiny fragment of bone or broken osteophyte. Or, it can be a tiny particle of torn-off cartilage from the meniscus. These fragments referred as loose bodies float around in the joint capsule. If you suffer from this condition, it may lock your knee movement. Doctors remove the fragments to restore your normal knee movement. 

Knee Fractures 

A knee bone fracture may also be the reason for shrill pain. If you have suffered a fracture, there might be significant inflammation and obvious deformity. Hence, any bone movement will cause a sharp ache as the broken bones rub together. The fracture usually occurs to the tibia or femur, or if you have broken your front knee, it might be a patella fracture. 

Nerve Problem 

Irritation of one or more of your spinal nerves (that travels down to your legs) may cause a sharp ache. The shooting pain occurs at the point where the nerve is trapped. Also, the pain is accompanied by pins, needles, numbness, or muscle feebleness. 

Sometimes, your nerve may get irritated due to the surrounding inflammatory chemicals. Hence, shooting pain in the knee caused due to nerve problems may be due to soft tissue damage, osteophytes in the knee or spine, or swelling in the back. 

Activities that Cause Knee Pain 


If you feel pain in your knee while you start walking, you may have arthritis. If it sharpens as you walk more, it results from neural compression. 


If your knee feels uneasy when you bend, the possibilities are arthritis or a cartilage tear. And if it worsens while twisting your spine, you may have an issue with the lower side of the spine. 


Sometimes pain worsens when you stand but reduces when you move. It is an indication of arthritis. 


If you feel pain when twisting your leg, there might be something trapped in your knee joint. Other reasons might be ligament sprain or tear. 


If you cannot kick, your knee might be unstable due to an ACL injury. 

Kneeling Down

Inflamed Bursa or Knee Bursitis can cause pain in the knee when you kneel. 

Climbing Stairs 

If you feel pain while climbing stairs, you may have an issue with the knee joint or knee cap. 


If you feel intense pain in the knee while resting, it may be due to nerve irritation, knee bone fracture, or arthritis.


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