I’ve got this pain in my knee…

Toby. April 26, 2022

‘My knee is hurting. I just woke up one morning and it hurts. What have I done and can you fix it?’

This is a question that our Xcel Health Physiotherapists hear all of the time in our Sittingbourne and Maidstone clinics.

It’s an easy question to ask, but not a simple one to answer. You see, your knee is a complicated piece of equipment and, as with all equipment that is complicated, it can easily go wrong!

The knee joins your thigh bone to your shin through the kneecap. And it is surrounded by cartilage, tendons and muscle. Any one of these different things can cause the pain that you are feeling in your knee, and it is up to our expert clinicians to work out where the problem is.

There are many causes of knee pain, but there are a few that are common, such as :

  1. Arthritis - either through the natural wear and tear of the cartilage and bone (Osteoarthritis), or through an autoimmune disease (Rheumatoid Arthritis) which tricks your body into thinking that your knee is stiff, swollen and painful.
  2. Injury of the meniscus - the meniscus is a shock absorber between the bones. Through natural wear and tear or an impact/ accident this can cause knee pain.
  3. Tendonitis - this usually happens when your knees get overused, such as doing excessive sport or you have a job where you have to bend your knees a lot
  4. Bursitis -this is a swelling of the small bags of fluid that you have in your joints to cushion them. If you have a dull ache or the skin around the knee feels warm, this is probably bursitis.
  5. Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear - this can be caused by a sudden change in direction, often at speed. You often hear about this problem in Sportspeople, but it can happen to anybody if they slip or fall on the stairs.
  6. Fractures - these occur through road traffic accidents or through people who get injured playing contact sports. However, people with osteoporosis have weakened joints and bones and a minor fall may cause a fracture.

Once your Physiotherapist has examined your knee and can tell you what the problem is, then they can tell you about the best treatment for you. Each knee problem is individual to the person that has it, so this is only a rough guide!

  1. The first and most obvious treatment is Physiotherapy - You will get a mixture of hands on treatment and massage coupled with some exercises that are specific to the type of knee injury that you have.
  2. Rest - this doesn’t mean lying in bed/ on the sofa and doing nothing. It means resting your knee from the movements that are causing the pain. Easier said than done.
  3. Ice - putting ice on a knee injury can help reduce swelling and pain.
  4. Injection Therapy - an injection into the knee joint that will usually provide an almost instant relief and a good solution for chronic or long term problems.
  5. Medication - this is one that we think of as a last resort if everything else has been tried. This can help with the swelling and the pain, but it won’t improve the state of your knee. To be taken with caution.


Stretching. Most knee injuries can be avoided through proper stretching, both at home and before doing sport (if that is potentially a cause). Whilst it cannot help stop a fracture or a torn ligament, it can ensure that your muscles and tendons are ready for the strain that will be put on them.

If you have a pain in your knee or it doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t. You need to listen to your body and seek professional help as soon as you can. The sooner you consult, the less chance there is of the pain worsening and the injury becoming harder to treat. An early consultation also means less sessions with the Physiotherapist, so it’s kinder on your wallet.

If you want more information about knee injuries, we have produced a specialist brochure about knee pain, which can be downloaded here.

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