Causes of Random Sharp Pain in the Knee that Comes and Goes

sharp pain in knee comes and goes

Random and sharp pain in the knee that comes and goes is irritating. It seems safe for a while and nothing to worry about. But you shouldn’t ignore other possibilities.

Sudden sharp pain in the knee that comes and goes for no reason maybe frustrating. After some time, it went by itself and you can do your activities as usual. Then, after a few days, it comes again and this is where you want to get rid of it.

The symptoms usually sharp and short. Some people feel a stabbing pain like an electric shock flows on your kneecap. In some occasion, it may force you to stop walking for a while if the pain is getting worse. Strangely, after you did a gentle massage on your knee, the pain is gone.


Why could this sharp pain in the knee that comes and goes happen?

Actually, the answer is it depends. It needs further medical attention because the knee-joint is one of the busiest parts of our body that is complex and have many structures behind it. It is an active joint as well.

When we talk about random momentary knee pain, the reasons that come with it is varied. Especially when you did not feel the pain before, no injury, and just appear out of nowhere.

What are other possible causes of random knee pain?

You can self-diagnose by recalling yourself about the condition before the momentary knee pain strike. Comes and goes joint pain mainly has 2 factors which are either by physical injuries or caused by a disease, such as:

1. Knee Osteoarthritis (Gonarthrosis)

Firstly, sharp pain in the knee that comes and goes, usually caused by inflammation. Arthritis is one of the causes of common joint pain, where the particular joint gets inflamed. The arthritis of the knee joint which is called gonarthrosis is a condition of the weary articular cartilage

Gonarthrosis leads to a loss of the movement ability of the knee and thus makes a stabbing pain in the joint.

The symptoms of gonarthrosis usually strike after you wake up in the morning. Sometimes you will feel like there is a mild pain. For the elderly, in some cases, the pain in the knee joint eventually getting worse at night.

Other symptoms of gonarthrosis may feel like a stiffness in the joint. After a few minutes of simple stretch and movement, the pain suddenly fades away. Of course, the main problem still exists and you better consult with a doctor.

2. ACL injury (Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury)

You might feel like an electric shock pain after doing a sport or when lifting a weight. This will make you gasp like this is the end. The pain is actually happening in the ligaments. As we know, a ligament is a strong line of tissue that connects one bone to another.

It also occurs when you suddenly stop or changing direction when moving. Because basically, you give the joint much pressure in short time. For example, when improperly landing from a jump or directly receiving a hard blow.

The damage seems to be relieved after doing first medical treatment, but the injury is already there waiting to be triggered anytime.

3. Patellofemoral pain syndrome

Patella or kneecap can be damaged due to overuse and repetitive works. It also called “runner’s knee,” because it is commonly suffered by people who doing running and jumping in a sport. This pain also increases when you sit by bending your legs for long periods of time.

4. Piriformis syndrome

The radiating pain in the legs that randomly comes and goes is also caused by the neuromuscular disorder. The piriformis syndrome closely related to the sciatic nerve in the lower back. This is a condition which is the nerve becomes compressed or irritated by the piriformis muscle, thus resulting in a pain.

Other symptoms such as tingling and numbness in the hips also occur and descending to the knee. Piriformis syndrome has possibilities as the cause of comes and goes knee pain because the damage is not in the kneecap, instead, it is in the nerve level.

Moreover, Piriformis syndrome is also known as “fat wallet syndrome”. Because the condition can be caused by sitting for a long time. When doing this, usually you have a thick wallet in your rear pocket. This causing strain in the muscle and leads to compression then pinched the sciatic nerve.

What is the best treatment when a sharp pain in the knee that comes and goes hits you?

  • Stop your activity and rest for a while. Sit down and try to relax your knee. Moving it slowly by bending and straightening it.
  • Apply a gentle massage around the pain with your fingers to circulate the blood.
  • Apply an ice pack to compress the kneecap.
  • Rub a pain relief cream or anti-inflammation gel.


When do you need to see a doctor?

Apply first aid kit treatment as soon as possible. It is only to relieve the pain because the pain might be a common muscle soreness. But, after a few tries to relieve the knee pain and did not get the result, even in a few days, consult a doctor.

Wrap it up

The causes may come from several conditions either by disease or by physical injury. Accompanying symptoms need to acknowledge such as swelling, dull pain, sharp pain, or red skin.

If the external signs are not predictable, then the possibilities of neuromuscular disorders such as piriformis syndrome could be one of the cause. The sharp pain in the knee that comes and goes can be treated with proper medical attention.