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One of the most common causes of knee pain and loss of mobility is the wearing away of the joint’s cartilage lining. When this happens, the bones rub against each other, causing significant pain and swelling—a condition known as osteoarthritis. (Trauma or direct injury to the knee can also cause osteoarthritis.) In addition, without cartilage there is no shock absorption between the bones in the joint, which allows stress to build up in the bones and contributes to pain.