» Blog
» Do you have Knee Pain when Lying Down?
Do you have Knee Pain when Lying Down?

Dealing With Knee Pain When Lying Down

If you’re a knee pain sufferer you likely look forward to getting home, getting off of your feet and lying down at the end of a busy day. The problem is that you might actually experience increased knee pain when you’re lying down as the day’s activities catch up to you. This increase in knee pain can be annoying and it can even interfere with your sleep, which can lead to further health problems. We’ll outline some of the common causes of knee pain when lying down, and what you can do to help prevent this type of pain.

Causes of Knee Pain When Lying Down

There are a variety of underlying issues that result in knee pain when lying down, especially overnight when you’re lying down for an extended period of time, including:


This is the most common cause of knee pain when lying down and it happens because the muscles around the knee joint relax when you lie down. This can cause the lower end of the thighbone to rub against the upper part of the leg bone, resulting in increased knee pain.

Rheumatoid arthritis

This type of arthritis is due to an abnormal immune response that typically affects both knees.


This is caused by repetitive movements that lead to a build up of fluid in the joint, resulting in pain that is worse when the knee is bent.


This is caused by overuse of the joint and can result in swelling, redness, warmth and knee pain at night.


This is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the knee joint. Flare-ups, which can be quite painful, tend to occur at night.

Ankylosing spondylitis

This disorder typically affects the spine, but can affect other joints of the body, including the knees and the pain typically worsens when lying down.


Carrying extra weight places added stress on the knees, which can result in knee pain when lying down.

Preventing Knee Pain When Lying Down

There are many treatment options that you can try in order to minimize knee pain when lying down. Rest and elevate your knee, and apply either heat or ice, throughout the day to help minimize swelling and decrease pain. During the day, stretch and strengthen the muscles around the knee to provide support for the joint and minimize your knee pain. When it’s time to head to bed, placing pillows under the knees if you lie on your back, or between your knees if you lie on your side, can help to reduce pressure on the joints, and decrease knee pain.

Additional things that you should be mindful of during the day to minimize knee pain, include:

  • Avoid heavy lifting
  • Use proper lifting techniques
  • Avoid overusing the joint
  • Avoid activities that put excess strain on your knees (squats, lunges, etc.)
  • Wear appropriate footwear and replace shoes when they get worn out (avoid high heels)
  • Use an assistive device, such as a cane or walker, to minimize the stress on your knees
  • Quit smoking (it delays the healing process because it interferes with blood circulation)
  • See a physical therapist and/or a massage therapist to address any muscular or joints issues that may be going on, and to maintain your range of motion and muscle strength


If you’re suffering from knee pain when lying down, consulting with a physical therapist at Blue Hill Sports & Spine Rehabilitation can help to address the underlying issue. They will develop a treatment plan to decrease pain, increase range of motion, and improve function. This will ultimately help to reduce your knee pain when sitting, standing, and lying down, which will help you to get a better night’s sleep.