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Ongoing knee pain for over 5 years no diagnosis, only 24

I have had ongoing knee pain in both knees for around 5 years.
It started when I worked in a supermarket and was bending down a lot but have not worked there for 4 years and still have this. I have pain killers from the gp for it.
Blood tests show nothing abnormal and xrays show nothing abnormal. It lasts for 3 weeks at a time and then goes away for 3-6 weeks.
It is painful to go up stairs and bend the knees. Sometimes it is so bad it is painful all the time.
I am 24 years old and do not run very often my exercise is mainly walking.
There is very often and crunching and grinding sound from the knee, it feels like the pain is above or behind the knee cap.

What could this be? Has anyone had similar experiences?
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Avatar universal
Forgot to add my BMI is around 22 so it’s not because of weight
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Avatar universal
You're going to need to see someone more capable than a GP for this.  You're going to need an MRI.  You're going to need to see an orthopedic surgeon.  There are several parts to the knee area, and it could be any one of them.  Could be meniscus.  Could be patella tendonitis.  Could be cysts.  You need pictures and a diagnosis based on what movements make it hurt.  My guess is, you're going to end up in physical therapy.
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2 Comments
I don't know who will be able to help you, but I was misdiagnosed with torn meniscus by a few doctors after an injury, so nursed it in pain for close to a year until I saw a sports rehab guy who said it was just stuck meniscus. He fixed me up in one session more than a year ago.
I have also had pain from a chip whenever it moves to a spot that in the past has hurt for days or sometimes weeks until it migrates back to where it doesn't hurt. It shows up on an X-ray so one surgeon wanted to operate but another told me he would never be able to fix it. Last time it bothered me was 16 years ago, so I am glad I did nothing.
I had sore knees and shoulders one winter at school when I became sedentary but they disappeared when I got active again. Do you work on a concrete floor - they don't have any give so can irritate some people's body.
The only advice I can give is keep seeing professionals who work with body problems if you can, because there is a chance that someone will be able to figure out what your problem is.
Thank you both for your help, I will look into these
15695260 tn?1549593113
Hello and welcome to the forum.  We appreciate your question and are sorry you have this ongoing situation.  Knee pain is very common although you are young to have it on a chronic basis.  Something to look into is patella tendonitis.  That you have pain going up stairs is a sign of this type of issue.  Here is some information about that to review.   https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/patellar-tendinitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20376113  This also continues to worsen over time.  It can be an overuse injury.  Little tears multiply and inflammation and pain increase.  It helps to do gentle stretching as tight muscles are a risk factor. It's great that you walk regularly as staying physically active is important.  I don't know if they've looked for this as you mention testing not producing any diagnosis thus far.  Normally, this will eventually show up through imaging like MRI or x ray or ultrasound. Ibuprofen and other nsaids are often prescribed as short term pain management but other things like physical therapy can be very beneficial. They do also have second line treatment they can go to including everything from steroid injections to surgery.  So, this is something to discuss with your doctor to see if it is a possibility.

Truly, stretching is one of the best things you can do overall and if you have knee pain due to tightness, this can greatly help.  Talk to your doctor about this.

There is also something called patellofemoral pain syndrome which is an imbalance of muscles surrounding the knee which then affects the knee cap or patella.  This is common in younger people.  Yes, this is also blamed for 'runner's knee'.  https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/patellofemoral-pain-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20350792  But it also could be part of your situation as well.  Please let us know if you can see your doctor again.  
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Thank you for your help, I will look into these
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