Understanding knee pain

  • December 19, 2023
  • Sports injuries

Understanding knee pain

Common causes and effective treatment options.

What is Knee Pain?

Knee pain is a prevalent issue that can impact individuals of all ages, limiting mobility and affecting overall quality of life. Various factors contribute to knee pain, ranging from acute injuries to chronic conditions.

Common Causes

Understanding the root causes of knee pain is the first step towards effective management. Injuries, whether sudden or resulting from overuse, can lead to a range of particular issues. Ligament sprains and muscle strains can result from sudden twists, falls, or overexertion, causing pain and inflammation. Additionally, tears in the meniscus, the knee joint's cushioning cartilage, often occur due to abrupt twisting motions. Overuse and wear-and-tear contribute to conditions like tendinitis, caused by repetitive activities, and bursitis, triggered by kneeling or prolonged pressure. Arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, gradually breaks down joint cartilage, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced flexibility.

Mechanical problems such as the following can also contribute to knee pain:

  • Dislocated Kneecap (Patellar Dislocation): The patella (kneecap) can shift out of its normal position, causing pain and instability.
  • Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome: Inflammation of the IT band, a fibrous tissue running along the outer thigh, leading to outer knee pain.

Arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, gradually breaks down joint cartilage, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced flexibility.

Risk Factors

Various factors can contribute to an elevated risk of experiencing knee problems, with each factor playing a unique role in compromising the health and functionality of the knee joints. Certain activities or sports place greater stress on the knee and surrounding muscles. The repetition of performing these can increase the likelihood of injury or wear and tear over time.

Being overweight or obese also increases the amount of pressure on knee joints even during routine activities. This can accelerate the rate of cartilage degeneration, resulting in osteoarthritis.

Treatment Options

There are a number of treatment options that can assist in the recovery and improvement of these conditions. These include:


  • Rest and Ice: Resting the affected knee allows tissues to heal, while ice helps reduce inflammation. Applying an ice pack for 15-20 minutes at a time can be beneficial, especially in the initial stages of injury.
  • Preventative methods such as increasing flexibility and muscle strength in the muscles around your knees will reduce the risk of injury.
  • Knee bracing and supports can help stabilise the joint, providing additional support during activities and reducing the risk of further injury.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can provide temporary relief. In some cases, prescription medications may be recommended.
  • Corticosteroid injections may be a recommended solution to reduce inflammation and relieve pain, particularly in cases of arthritis or severe inflammation.
  • In cases of significant injuries or advanced arthritis, surgical interventions like arthroscopy, meniscus repair, or knee replacement may be necessary to restore function and alleviate pain.

Dr Yas Edirisinghe approaches knee surgery with technological innovation and a wealth of experience and accolades. Get in contact today to book a consultation.