Why Do Shins Hurt With Arthritic Knee? 

 July 9, 2022

By  Linda Rook

Osteoarthritis of the knee.


I have been asked this many time ' why do my shins hurt, when I have arthritis of the knee?'


To start with when you have arthritis of the knee, you could have painful shins and thighs; this is because your knees have three bones attached, which are:

  • Kneecap or Patella.
  • Thighbone or Femur.
  • and the Shinbone or Tibia.

  • At the end of each bone, you have a substance called a cartilage, which is smooth and covers the ends of the bones.

    The cartilage keeps the joints from rubbing together, and you have a synovial membrane that is a tissue surrounding the joint that lubricates the cartilage.

    When you have osteoarthritis of the knees, the symptoms are wearing away of the cartilage, leaving a slow degeneration of the joint, and will end up with your two joint bones rubbing together. As a result, it will not be just your knee cap but also the surface of the shin and thigh bone.

    Eventually leading to pain, swelling and inflammation that will make movement difficult.

    But, I know this will be painful, as I have arthritis in the knees as well, but you must keep the knee moving or else the knee will stiffen more, and be immobile.

    Osteoarthritis mainly develops in the knees but can also affect your hips, lower back, neck and fingers. The fact is that an estimated ten per cent of men develop arthritis in the knee at the age of sixty and older.

    You are at an increased risk as you age or have a family history of osteoarthritis or a past injury.

    You may get short-term relief from the pain if you go onto steroid injections and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, such as Advil, aspirin or Motrin. But these have side effects. It would be safer to manage your symptoms by keeping moving.

    The best remedy is to keep your knees moving; you need to have regular gentle exercises like walking or, better still, swimming as you are weightless in the water.

    Keeping your knees moving will help to strengthen your knees and surrounding muscles that protect the joints from stress.

    Exercise you knees

    Types of arthritis that attack the knees

    Three main types of arthritis affect the knees. They include:

    Osteoarthritis.  – the first one is the most common type. This one wears away the cartilage that cushions between the three bones femur, tibia and patella. Without this your bones will rub together. Therefore, you will develop pain and stiffness and limit your movement. Also, bone spurs will grow and will get worse in time.

    Post-traumatic arthritis is a type of osteoarthritis where the cartilage starts to get thin after an injury, for example, playing sports or after a car crash. The symptoms are the same as osteoarthritis but can form years after the trauma.

    Rheumatoid arthritis – the last one is an autoimmune disease. This is where the healthy immune system is attacked and causes inflammation when your body is trying to protect you from infection, injury or other invaders.

    Inflammation is one of the ways that your body protects itself. Unfortunately, when you develop rheumatoid arthritis, you already have an unhealthy immune system, which triggers inflammation in the joints. Even if you have no infection etc.. this inflammation is the cause of the pain, stiffness and swelling of the joint's synovial membrane that also wears away the cartilage.

    5 stages - Arthritis of the knee.

    Osteoarthritis of the knees is the most common type of arthritis and has five stages.

    Stage zero - Normal.

    Stage zero is where your knees are healthy, and the diagnosis is no arthritis.

    Stage one – Minor.

    At stage one, you have some wear and tear, and you will not notice any pain.

    Stage two – Mild.

    You may feel pain and stiffness, but you still have cartilage to keep the bones from rubbing.

    Stage three – Moderate.

    You will develop more pain at this stage when you run, walk or kneel or squat. First thing in the morning, your knees will be worse. Because the cartilage may have narrowed and bone spurs may develop.

    Stage four – Severe.

    The last stage is severe; it's where your knee cartilage is nearly gone. You will feel stiffness, pain and maybe immobile.

    At this stage, you may need surgery.

    Causes - Arthritis in the knees.

    Some genes, could identify the causes of arthritis. However, you may have a gene linked without knowing, also an injury or virus can also trigger arthritis in the knee.

    Although the causes are unknown, some risks can increase arthritis.

    The risk factors of osteoarthritis are:

    osteoarthritis of the knee

    Age – when you get old, the risk factor increases as you wear away your joints.

    Bone anomalies – if your bones are naturally crooked, you are at a high risk of osteoarthritis.

    Gout – gout is also a type of rheumatoid arthritis, where its inflammation of the joints, leading to osteoarthritis of the knees.

    Injury – a sports injury or just falling can create knee osteoarthritis.

    Stress – you are at high risk if you jog or play sports regularly or have an active job.

    Overweight – You are carrying around extra weight, and this adds more pressure on your knees. Therefore, it would help if you go on a diet. The best ones to go on if you have arthritis are the Mediterranean or the dash diet.

    Signs - Arthritis in the knees.

    The most common signs are pain and swelling, but you can also have the following:
    • You may hear and feel creaking, grinding, clicking or snapping noises when you move.
    • You may have difficulty walking.
    • The joint pain can get worse or better depending on the weather. I have noticed that the pain in my arthritis, is worse when it's cold or raining, or hot, humid, and sticky.
    • Your joints stiffen; this could be first thing in the morning where you have laid still all night.
    • Your knee could buckle.
    • Redness colour around the joints and swelling.
    • The knee joints could become locked when trying to move.
    • And your skin is warm to the touch.

    Some treatments could reduce the symptoms or even slow down the progression. However, you should consult your healthcare provider or doctor if you have any symptoms.

    Diagnosis - Arthritis in the knees.

    When you develop any of the above, you should go and see your doctor; they will send you for x-rays to check for arthritis or any other diseases.

    The x-ray should show them:

    • What type of arthritis you have.
    • If you have any bone deformity.
    • If there are any bone spurs developing.
    • and How much cartilage is there between the bones? Less cartilage means the narrower the space is and the greater the pain.


    When you get arthritis in any joint, the treatment and symptoms are the same.  Also if you see any of the symptoms mentioned above you must make an appointment at your doctors, were they will diagnose your symptoms to find out which arthritis you have.

    The doctor may make an appointment for you to go for a CT scan (or computerized tomography) or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging.)

    I hope this article has helped you. Please subscribe to my website, and I will keep you updated on new blogs. Also, if you need to know anything about arthritis, please go to my contact page and leave a message, and I will get back to you.

    In the meantime, if this post is informative, I’d be very grateful if you’d help your friends or family if they have a similar condition to tell them. So please share it on Twitter or Facebook or send them an email.

    I am not a medical professional, and this blog is for information only. If you have any worries, you should consult your doctor.

    I hope this blog has helped.


    More useful Information.


    Linda Rook

    Linda is now retired and has suffered from Osteoarthritis for about 40+ years.  She struggled with her weight until she found the correct one that also helped with her arthritic pain.  Linda was in terrible pain until the physician thought her right hip needed replacement. 

    Now Linda has an artificial right hip, which has left her with the left leg shorter than the right.  Therefore, her spine is now wonky, and has arthritis of the lower back, also it seems to be going all over the body, her pain is now in the knees, elbow, wrist, fingers and both hips.

    Linda now spends her days writing information to help others with the same conditions, so they do not suffer like Linda.

    related posts:

    Natural Ways To Decrease Inflammation.

    What Supplements Are Good For Arthritis?

    Coping With Pregnancy and Chronic Illness.

    Get in touch