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What Are the Most Common Causes of Knee Numbness?

Knee numbness may result from an injury or an illness.
Knee numbness is easily treated in most cases.
A dislocated kneecap can occur after a sudden shift in direction while running.
A diagram of the knee.
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  • Written By: April S. Kenyon
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2014
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Knee numbness, or paresthesia, can be caused by a variety of injuries, illnesses, and conditions. Trauma to the area may also cause numbness or tingling. Some illnesses or conditions that may result in numbness include diabetes, lupus, and gout. Nerve damage and injuries, such as strains, sprains, or torn ligaments, might also be the cause. Other common causes of this condition include bursitis, tendinitis, and a dislocated kneecap.

One of the most common causes of knee numbness is an injury to the knee or leg. Injuries may include strains, sprains, torn ligaments, fractures, or overstretched muscles. In these instances, the knee numbness will generally disappear as the injury heals. If it persists, however, a physician should be consulted to determine if extensive injury has occurred. Knee surgery may be required in some instances.

Poor blood circulation is another common cause of knee numbness. In some instances, poor circulation might be due to a lack of nutrition. Proper circulation might be restored through eating a healthy diet. Certain diseases, such as diabetes or lupus, may also be the underlying cause of poor blood circulation and knee numbness. Blood circulation should improve with proper treatment of the illness, and numbness in the knee should subside.

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Bursitis and tendonitis are two other common causes of knee numbness and tingling. Tendonitis is caused by inflammation of the tendons around the knee. It is most often the result of aging, overuse, or injury. Bursitis occurs when the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that cushions the joints of the knee, becomes inflamed. Gout, injury, arthritis, and overuse are common causes of bursitis.

A dislocated kneecap can also cause nerve damage and knee numbness. Most often, a dislocated kneecap is the result of an injury or excessive pressure on the knee. It can also occur when a sudden shift in direction is made while running or walking. In severe cases, knee surgery may be required to relocate the kneecap.

Knee numbness is easily treated the majority of the time. The specific treatment required often depends upon the underlying cause. In more complex instances, such as cases resulting from diabetes, lupus, or a dislocated kneecap, more extensive treatments or therapy may be required. If an individual is frequently experiencing numbness in the knee or a tingling feeling is present for a prolonged period of time, a physician should be consulted to determine if a more serious condition or illness is the underlying cause.

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Discuss this Article

anon338544
Post 8

I have numbness in my left knee. I think I hurt it when I was fixing a sink. I must have hurt my back (which I have had problems before) I play a lot of golf and have lost my game because of the knee being numb. it is not the same every day. Some days it is worse than others. Is there an exercise that someone knows that will get the numbness to stop?

golf07
Post 7

My mom has had diabetes for as long as I can remember and she complains of knee numbness and pain, along with a lot of other aches and pains.

If she keeps her blood sugar under control and closely regulates what she eats, she seems to have less problems. She isn't very stable on her feet anyway, but when she starts feeling her knees go numb, she is afraid to do much walking or put much weight on them.

I know there are a lot of reasons why someone might have numbness in their knees, but for someone with a long history of diabetes, I don't imagine this is something that will eventually go away.

bagley79
Post 6

I fell on the ice last winter and dislocated my kneecap. The pain is what bothered me the most at first, and then as it started healing I had problems with numbness.

I never knew when the numbness would happen. It would come and go at random. Eventually both the pain and numbness went away, but it can be kind of a scary feeling when you can't feel anything in your knees for awhile.

SarahSon
Post 5

My husband has arthritis and bursitis in both of his knees and this causes numbness from time to time. He doesn't have numbness all the time, and thankfully has not had it in both knees at the same time.

In addition to the numbness he also has knee pain which causes him more problems than the numbness. He will eventually have to have both of his knees replaced, and is hoping the numbness and pain will be gone after he has the surgery.

shell4life
Post 4

@Oceana – I get knee and leg numbness and tingling after doing my daily brisk walk. I was worried about it at first, but I found a way to lessen the tingling.

I had been walking at the same pace the whole time, and then I would stop abruptly and sit down. I have found that it is better to give my muscles time to cool down slowly.

So, during the last minute or two of my walk, I slow my pace to a stroll. This way, my muscles aren't totally shocked when I come to a standstill. I don't tingle nearly as much now.

Oceana
Post 3

I've noticed tingling in my legs after a workout, and the sensation goes through my knees, as well. Has anyone else ever experienced this?

DylanB
Post 2

I would rather have knee numbness than knee pain. I injured my knee in a car accident once, and the pain was excruciating.

I had to take pain pills for weeks. I thought I might need surgery, but thankfully, it healed on its own. I would have welcomed numbness at the time, though.

lighth0se33
Post 1

I've had numbness in my hands before, but I've never experienced a numb knee. I think I would be worried if this happened!

I do a lot of bending and standing at my job, so if I were to suddenly lose sensation in my knees, I would be concerned. I suppose if no pain were involved, though, I could probably continue to work.

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