Knee Pain

What causes Knee Pain?

The knee is the largest joint in the body. It is a major weight-bearing joint and is one of the most frequently injured joints in the human body.

Knee pain can have a number of different causes and can be painful and debilitating and although some conditions may require surgery many can be helped with the right advice, exercise and treatment.

The knee joint lies between the femur and tibia and at the front is the patella or kneecap. It is made up of a number of structures including ligaments, muscles, capsule, synovial membrane and two ‘c’ shaped pieces of cartilage which sit between the femur and tibia known as the menisci.

Damage, strain or sprain to the structures of the knee can give rise to symptoms. It can be the result of a sudden injury as often seen in sports injuries or by repeatedly placing strain on an area of the knee. Poor alignment of the knee or kneecap and altered joint mechanics in relation to other joints such as the hips and knees are often significant. Osteoarthritis or wear and tear is also a common condition that affects the knee.

Common symptoms in the knee include:

  • pain
  • stiffness
  • aching
  • pain
  • locking
  • swelling
  • limping
  • difficulty straightening or bending the knee


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What will happen when I see a physiotherapist?

When you see a physio, they will assess your problem and give you advice. They may give you a physical treatment. Everything you tell the physio will be completely confidential.

So that your physio can have a good look at your knee, they may need you to remove some clothes. It’s a good idea to dress comfortably and wear suitable underwear.

X-rays, scans and other tests are sometimes required to make a diagnosis and your physio may refer to your GP or a specialist for any additional investigations or treatment.


How can I help myself?

There are exercises that can reduce joint pain and ways to try and avoid it coming back. Depending on the individual person, changes in your posture and lifestyle may be useful.

Hold an ice pack to the knee for 15 minutes and repeat every hour (try a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel). Raise your leg on cushions to reduce swelling in the knee. Avoid putting weight on the knee.

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More information on Knee Pain

Arthritis Care – The UK’s largest arthritis charity
NHS Choices – Comprehensive information on knee pain


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