Knee pain: What you need to know

In the vast majority of cases, knee pain is a result of biomechanical factors, degenerative joint processes or traumatic injuries to the knee.

If you’re having any knee pain, this guide will give you some pointers around potential causes, treatment options and give you some handy tips on how to stay active with a knee injury or condition. Our trained consultants & knee specialists are also available to discuss your condition in more detail and recommend an appropriate course of action. Simply complete the form on this page to book your consultation.

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About the knee joint

The knee joint is actually formed by three separate joints. The two compartments of the knee joint itself are known as the medial compartment (inside knee joint) and lateral compartment (outer knee joint). The third joint is the knee cap joint known as the patellofemoral joint.

The knee joint allows two movements of extension (straightening the knee) and flexion (bending the knee). However, to accommodate different surfaces as we walk and to allow our bodies to perform higher level functions such as twisting and turning movements during sports, a healthy knee joint also allows a small degree of rotation.

Due to the complex nature of the anatomy, as well as the three planes of movement that the knee allows, knee pain may span a great number of varied diagnoses. Acute sports injuries are a commonly seen problem in sports that involve jumping, landing and rotational movements. The high degree of muscular control needed to control these movements, as well as the repetitive nature of some sports on the knee, can give rise to overuse injuries to the patellar (knee cap) and the tendons around the knee.

As the knee is placed directly between the hip joint and foot, both of which have a high degree of rotation, many cases of knee pain may be due to faulty rotational biomechanics across the whole leg. The knee has very little isolated ability to control its rotation. So rehabilitation will often involve specific rotational strengthening exercises at the hip and foot as well as the placement of orthotics to help support a more neutral knee alignment. 

Osteoarthritis is the medical term given to describe degenerative changes to joints. This process is characterised by pain, swelling, progressive stiffness and sometimes a feeling of weakness in the joints affected.

Causes of knee pain

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