Causes of a burning sensation in the knees include inflammatory conditions, such as osteoarthritis; infectious arthritis; chondromalacia, or cartilage problems; and systemic lupus erythematosus, where the body attacks its own tissues, explains Healthgrades. Other causes include peripheral artery disease, diabetes mellitus and peripheral neuropathy.
Conditions such as alcohol use and diabetes can cause peripheral neuropathy or damage to the nerves of the legs, causing a burning sensation in the knees, notes Healthgrades. Different forms of arthritis can cause stiffness and pain of the joints. Peripheral artery disease, a condition characterized by narrowing of arteries in the legs, can cause insufficient oxygen delivery to the leg tissues, causing a burning sensation in the knees.