Knee pain is a common complaint that affects people of all ages. Knee pain may be the result of an injury, such as a ruptured ligament or torn cartilage. Medical conditions — including arthritis, gout and infections — also can cause knee pain.

Consult your Doctor

If you suspect any of the following, then please contact your doctor or GP immediately:

  • A fracture : an inability to weight-bear or walk 4 steps/ severe tenderness along the inside

  • A ruptured tendon or muscle: severe weakness and pain, with moderate swelling.

  • Wound penetrating the joint.

  • Known bleeding disorder.

  • Signs of septic arthritis or haemarthrosis: if the joint is moderately swollen or hot and tender/painful to touch.

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and symptoms that sometimes accompany knee pain include:

  • Swelling and stiffness

  • Redness and warmth to the touch

  • Weakness or instability

  • Popping or crunching noises

  • Inability to fully straighten the knee

What Causes It?

  • Trauma

  • Repetitive overload of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and/or joints 

How to Self Manage

  • Taking anti-inflammatories if it is safe for you to take (take anti-inflammatories only if it is a chronic long-term issue, or there is a severe amount of swelling- do not use if there is an acute rupture, strain or sprain.

  • Painkiller as long as these are safe for you to take.

  • P R I C E: Protect. Rest. Ice. Compress. Elevate.
    Heat packs or hot water bottles may relieve pain and muscle spasm (do not use if red, hot and swollen already).
    Icing for any pain and swelling- no direct ice to skin.
    Compression by self adhesive bandages- follow guidelines- making sure the taping/strapping is breathable and your toes are not loosing circulation by going purple- check regularly.
    Elevation- keep feet elevated above the level of the heart for 30 minutes if moderately swollen.

  • Modify or temporarily stop your activities or running.

  • Have a gradual return back to exercise.

  • Use appropriate footwear- speak to specialists regarding this.


Depends on the severity of the injury.

How Physio Helps


  • Usually consists 6-12 weeks of a personal management plan discussed with your physiotherapist.

  • Exercise programmes: aerobic activity, stability and movement advice, muscle strengthening, and proprioception.

  • Assessments and screening to determine which structures have been affected and what symptoms can be addressed.

  • Foot biomechanics/ footwear review

  • Soft tissue massage and trigger point release.

  • Acupuncture and dry needling.

  • Injury prevention exercises

  • Mobilisations and manipulation (manual therapy)

  • Referral to an orthopaedic specialist for advice on management with more severe or chronic injuries


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Disclaimer: Information made available by AskPhysio (Sammy Margo Physiotherapy) is provided for guidance only and should not be considered as medical recommendations or advice.  AskPhysio is not responsible for errors or omissions in the information. Please consider what the best options for your healthcare are, based on the urgency of your condition and nature of your condition. Please consult a GP or Healthcare Specialist to discuss any specific concerns that exist prior to using the information provided.