Well, it would be difficult to comment on the situation without a clinical evaluation. Possibilities that may need to be considered include inflammations such as arthritis, bursitis, degeneration, neuro-muscular/ vascular issues etc. I would suggest getting this evaluated by a sports medicine specialist for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate specific management, if required. Meanwhile you may try resting the knee. OTC NSAIDS may be useful during acute episodes.
Hope this is helpful.
I have the same type of issues that you are having. I am 31 and have been diagnosed with having arthritis in my knees. They ache most of the time and they grind, pop, and crack every time I bend them. My doctor told me to wear knee braces whenever I am going to be on my feet a lot. The knee braces help a little but they drive me crazy. My doctor told me that I need to have knee surgery on both of my knees in order to prevent it from getting worse. I have refused the surgery and now two years later they are hurting worse than ever.
I too agree with jengary regarding the wearing of the knee braces. But its good if you get it properly diagnosed as you have Arthritis. Its important to know which type of Arthritis it is? Then start with the medication. Do you experience with the inflammation, stiffness. You can try for some home remedies like applying ice pack and doing a little bit of gentle stretching and massaging.
Have you tried taking regular doses of an anti-inflammatory medication, either Rx or over the counter? That might help with the pain and reduce some of the chronic inflammation, though it won't necessarily fix the underlying problem.
The key to making this work is to take it on a regular schedule to keep a fairly steady amount in your bloodstream. So if the instructions to, say, take one every four to six hours, set your phone to beep to remind you. It *will* work better if you take regularly.
I know, no one likes to take pills. But until the underlying problem is fixed, it'll help. Tell your doctor if it bothers your stomach - they can do something for that, too.
Also, a few sessions with a physical therapist will teach you some stretches and exercises that will keep the muscles and tendons strong and supple, which will also help reduce some of the pain. Hang in there!