One of the more common causes of knee pain is sports activity. In cycling, running, or any activity that requires repetitive motion, some of the muscles are worked more than others, which can lead to muscular imbalances and general wear and tear. Each stride you take when running can place up to 550% more force on your knee than just standing, so whether you are running, playing soccer, walking, dancing, or hiking, all that force can wear on the structures of your knee.
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Old injuries, either minor or major, can commonly cause scar tissue, which can change the way you use your knee, potentially leading to pain and arthritis (degeneration).
Another common cause of knee pain is arthritis, essentially degeneration and narrowing of the joint space, which can cause swelling, stiffness and pain.