Kesson Physio

Knee Pain: how to make it go away

April 9, 2021

Knee Pain is common. After back pain it is the second most common complaint our physios see. Luckily in most cases, knee pain settles down after simple treatments and can be managed at home, enabling you to move better and live better.

Understanding the types and causes of knee pain helps find the right treatment method:

1. Knee pain where there’s been an injury

  1. Sprains and strains: these can cause pain after overstretching, overusing or twisting the knee and occur most commonly when you do a sudden burst of exercise you are not used too.
  2. Tendonopathy: not surprisingly, this is where you irritate your tendon often through highly repetitive activities such as running or jumping and is usually felt between your knee cap and shin.
  3. Torn ligament, tendon or cartilage: these injuries often make your knee feel unstable, as if it could give way when you stand on it. There may have been an audible pooping sound at the time of injury.
  4. Osgood-Schlatter’s disease: felt by teenagers and young adults who experience pain and swelling below the knee cap.
  5. Dislocated Knee cap: this is often after a collision or sudden change of direction, where the knee cap changes shape and is painful.


2. Knee pain but without any obvious injury

  1. Osteoarthitis/wear and tear/cartilage degeneration: whilst these are really all the same thing and part of the normal ageing process, they can, nevertheless, cause pain and stiffness in the knees, mild swelling.
  2. Bursitis: where the knee becomes warm and red, with kneeling and bending make the pain and swelling worse.
  3. Bleeding in the joint: this is more likely to happen if you are taking anticoagulants, where it can cause swelling, warmth and bruising around the knee.
  4. Gout or septic arthritis. This comes on suddenly with significant pain and a hot and red knee.


Thankfully, your Physio will be able to quickly identify if your knee pain is caused from a mechanical problem that they will then be able to help you resolve and manage. If they consider it to be a medical problem that needs an Orthopaedic opinion or your GP’s input, they can help advise the best route for you.

If you are currently experiencing knee pain or swelling, here are a few things you can try at home to see if they give you some relief.

  1. Rest your knee: avoid standing for long periods of time (more than 20 minutes at a time).
  2. Gentle movements: when sitting slowly bend and straighten the knee every 30 minutes to stop it stiffening up
  3. Ice: putting an ice pack, or even a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a damp tea towel, on your knee for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours will help.
  4. Pain killers: try paracetamol or speak to your local pharmacist to find out what over the counter pain medication you can use to help with your pain in the short term.


If you are experiencing any of the following, it is bets to make an appointment with your Physio to help with your knee pain management.

  1. Your knee pain has not improved within a few weeks
  2. Your knee locks, painfully clicks or gives way – painless clicking is normal
  3. Your knee is very painful
  4. You cannot move your knee or put any weight on it


If you should find that your knee is badly swollen, has changed shape or you have a very high temperature, feel hot and shivery and have redness or heat around your knee it is important that you make an appointment with your GP or attend your local minor injuries unit. Despite this, be rest assured that most knee pain can be down to a simple mechanical issue.

Your knee relies on strong, fast reacting muscles to stabilise it and control movement and load through the joint. Thankfully this means that even if you do have changes to your joint surfaces or your ligaments, in most cases your knee pain will reduce if you rehabilitate the knee correctly.


Knee rehabilitation can be very straight forward and consists of strengthening muscles, what we call proprioceptive training (improving the sense of movement and body positioning) and flexibility. By making exercises part of your weekly routine you will make a positive step forward in helping your overall knee health.

If you would like a bespoke programme made for you by one of our team, get in touch. We are here to help you and your knees Move Better and Live Better- call 01795 534113 or email contact@kessonphysio.co.uk

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