Pain When Kneeling

Pain in knee when kneeling

Whether you are tying your shoe or doing a lunge at the gym, every day activities can trigger this pain. There are three possible reasons why it hurts when you kneel. There could be a problem in the kneecap, in the center of the knee, or in the back of the knee. Depending on which region hurts, it signifies a different situation.

Pain in knee when kneeling
Pain in knee when kneeling

If the pain is in the kneecap, or patella, then it is most likely because a tension pattern has arisen to protect the knee from potential injury. This tension is creating pressure on the nerves in your kneecap sending a pain message to your brain, even though there is nothing mechanically wrong.

The first step in stopping this patella pain is to relax the tension and take your knee to a place of comfort. There are different positions and stretches that you can perform to relax and calm the nerves in the kneecap so you create space in the joint and relieve the pain when kneeling.

If the pain seems to be more centrally located or in back of the knee, this could be some sort of rotational issue or maybe there’s something amiss with the alignment of the upper and lower legs. Both of these issues will create pressure on the meniscus, which squeezes the nerves and results in pain.

If you have had pain in knee when kneeling for a long period of time, however, it would be a good idea to go to a doctor and have the knee evaluated. If you get an X-ray, CT scan or MRI and nothing is broken or torn, then you can easily resolve this chronic condition using relaxation stretches like the ones I demonstrate in the Comfort Zone stretches video series. This method uses 11 different pain-free stretches to get your knee in comfortable positions so the nerves relax. A relaxed knee resets the nerves so the knee can heal the pain.

If you haven’t already done so take my Knee Pain Assessment and see the video recommendations for your situation.

36 comments on “Pain When Kneeling

  1. On April 25th while crossing a Northern Blvd, my knee buckled! The pain was terrible, lucky for me, I had my daughter with me, so I took of my shoes and she helped me cross the Blvd.-the next morning I made an appointment with a rheumatologist; he inserted a kneedle and drew waater-in-the-knee-he also gave me a cortisone injection and said I should go for an MRI within a month…my daughter did not want to wait so i had the MRI and I found out I had a torn cartledge….the doctor suggested I see an orthopedist specialist, which I did…3 of them…then it was recommended that I get 3 injections-a week apart-which I did-still the pain was bad…it’s now August – 3 months already, and I have pain-I wear a brace bandage for support-I can walk, not as fast, swim, kayak, but I’m in pain on and off. I take medication.

    What does this indicate? I’m 84 years old, and my right knee is a bit swollen….

  2. Elizabeth,
    Mechanically your knee is not sound. There is something torn in your knee that is moving around so sometimes it hurts and sometimes it doesn’t. One option would be to consult with your doctor about having the meniscus addressed otherwise I believe you may be in for more of the same with your knee. Another option is to begin to setup the conditions of comfort in your knee which creates space and makes more room for the tiny little nerves in your knee being squeezed making your knee hurt.

  3. I was playing basketball at 24 hour fitness and my knee started hurting and i just kept playing, I have basketball period at school and i play during that too, but i cant do any quick cuts run full speed or squat.. I dont know what to do

  4. I have suddenly found that I cannot kneel down because my left knee is so painful. I can walk, jog, do anything at all, except comfortably kneel down. I have to sort of stick my leg out to one side. It feels as though there is some kind of swelling or conjestion behind my knee. Although there doesn’t seem anything to feel when pressing, it feels like a swelling from the inside.

  5. Do anybody know how to get rid of Patellafemoral pain syndrome, it’s been a year, I did stretchings and strenthening, I did a lot, nathing is helping, Everyday went to Physiotherapy, I am 26 years, I am in shape, A year ago I had strongest knees, but slowly pain got my both knees, no matter what I do isn’t helping me, Is there any help on PTS?????

  6. I have a bone on bone (no cartilage left) condition, preventing me from enjoying all of the activities that I used to do. Will an injectable knee lubricant make any difference?? I am too young (58) for knee replacement, and I’m afraid that too many moguls and 10K’s have exacted their toll. What can I do now? Bicycle for strength? What is my best option for the pain and constant swollen condition???? I’m too active for a wheelchair, but it hurts.

  7. Several weeks ago, I hurt myself while kneeling down scrubbing the tub. Ever since then, kneeling brings on shooting pains around both knees, and pain that will continue for several hours afterwards. I have never been injured in this area; I do not run or jump. I am 55 years old.

  8. I had had a bad tibial plateau fracture about 3 years after an motorbike accident. Ligaments torn, ACL had been removed by my OS and patellar ligament torn and repaired. But I think I have damage in my LCL too. Grinding noise is a usual issue but not so painful though. Much problem with range of motion not more than 90-100 degrees. I would like to have my knee as much normal as it was before, but I know it is impossible. My knee is stable though, I think because of scar tissue and my quads strength. But my knee fails when I go downstairs and grinding and some pain upstairs. I cannot kneel of course, my knee seems swollen all the time, I have lost the sense of it when I try to kneel on a soft surface, it is too painful on a hard one. I cannot feel myself as a normal. I’m not young, I’m 59, but I would like to be energetic as I could with a knee like this. A TKR could be a solution, but I’m not sure that the outcome will be positive, and my OS and PT told me to delay it as much as I can. But it is a real devastating feeling to be partially crippled. I forgot to tell you that my knee has diffucult lateral dorsiflexion and half degree rotation too. I can walk for about 2.5 miles without much pain, but cannot be standing for more than 10 min. Thanks for your advices, they are very useful and helpful for all of us.

  9. I’ve been having pain while kneeling and after my leg has been in the same position for a while. It’s been happening slightly below my kneecap and then at the top as well. It’s been happening for a couple months and does not hurt at all when exercising. In fact that’s when it feels the best. I feel like it’s something with my kneecap but I’m not sure. Thoughts?

    • Hi Nathan,

      Thank you for reaching out to us. Have you seen the doctor about your knee pain at all? If not, please see your doctor first to obtain a diagnosis and then email us the results at If you have see the doctor, please contact us with the information that you received at the same email address.


      Customer Support

  10. Hi, I would like to know one thing, if you find out that your MRI results and it’s says Medially patella facet, does it mean that my VMO is pulling patella medially ? please explain with details.

    • Hi there Boshk,

      Thank you for writing. That’s an awesome question and I will submit this for the next live call with Bill! Please ensure that you subscribe to his mailing list so that you don’t miss the date/time of the call. Feel free to reach out to us for further assistance!

      Customer Support

  11. Hi, a couple of weeks ago I twisted my ankle and fell hard with all weight on my right knee on to the concrete. Both ankle and knee were extremely painful at the time now with ache rather than acute after two weeks. However, I have noticed my knee seems to have a dent and although generally just a dull ache, kneeling is very painful. Is this likely to be just a bruise?

    • Hi Marlon!

      Thank you for reaching out to us. I would definitely get that checked out by a doctor and get a diagnosis. Once you receive the diagnosis, contact us at and we will be happy to assist you further.

      Kind regards,

      Mimi|Customer Support

  12. Hi,

    I have severe pain in the front of my left knee when I kneel. I’ve had no injuries, or bumps, I can put pressure on the area when standing or sitting, but the moment I kneel on it the pain is excruciating. There also appears to be a slight spongy lump where the pain is located :0/
    Any tips please ??

  13. My left knee is fine, until I put any weight on it while kneeling like giving my son a bath, and the pain is so severe it’s hard not to scream. It hurts mostly around the lower portion of the knee/knee cap. There is no swelling, lumps, or anything, but prolonged kneeling causes continuous pain but I can walk run and everything fine, just cant put weight on it while kneeling…. Is there a simple fix?

    • Josh – I’m basing everything you’re telling me off the premise that you’ve gone to your doctor and determined nothing is broken or torn in your knee. I’d try working with “The Comfort Zone” for a few weeks and let me know how that goes for you. At that point we’ll know if it’s simple or not…

  14. I slid down a few steps yesterday morning and initially thought everything was fine. About an hour later my knee began to hurt on the back side and felt sore & stiff. Today it feels the same and when I knelt down to put my son’s shoe on, the pain was magnified by 100. Do you think this is a sprained knee or something more serious?

  15. My right knee is ok until I kneel then the pain is excruciating! The pain is a burning sensation that feels like my leg is on fire, on the outside upper calf down my leg. I went to a neurologist he did an emg/ncv test and said it was normal, did an mri, tumor on fibula went to ortho he said that is not causing the problem, also saw a spine doctor (as i have sciatica issues) no pinched nerves found to be causing the problem. It hurts to walk, and I sleep on my side and that is very uncomfortable so i no longer sleep well. I take gabepentin but still have pain constantly. Please Help!

  16. I have been only having pain in my left knee and only when I kneel on it, whether a hard surface or soft. It is not swollen and I can walk on the treadmill, do the ellipitical machine or other workouts and nothing bothers it. It looks the same as my right knee. What could this be?

  17. Cannot kneel on R knee. Started months ago with mild discomfort. It has graduated to a feeling of spontaneous combustion when I kneel. Pn located lateral to R patella along the IT band. Does not travel. Burning, ripping type pain. if i forget and kneel down the pain will stay for a few hrs. Now, if i graze it, i get this pain, clothing touching area – the same. I’m hoping it is a pinched nerve. there is no swelling or red area – just the feeling of my knee on fire. It is starting to become 24/7 now and not just when I kneel.Any thoughts?

  18. I cannot kneel on my right knee. It hurts severely and almost “cramps” up for lack of better description. Then after even less than a minute of kneeling, even on a soft surface like a bed or couch, it seems sort of frozen in place with excruciating pain until it “loosens” back up. I had surgery on this knee one year ago, they cleaned up a torn meniscus and did some patella realignment. But I’m still no better thank before the surgery. Any thoughts? It’s the kneeling that really puzzles me. Otherwise I walk without pain

  19. I have patella femoral syndrome.
    I have a knee that “locks up” occasionally if I put any pressure on when kneeling. Sometimes with ice and elevation it goes back to normal. But sometimes, it takes a whole day to be able to stand on it again.
    I’ve had MRI’s and have done PT.
    How do I help get it back to ‘normal’ as quickly as possible?
    -Day off ruined in NJ

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