The knee joint is one of the most significant joints in the whole body. Together, the tibia, femur, patella and fibula carry your body’s weight when walking, running and jumping. The ligaments surrounding the joint both limit and stabilise certain movements. People who play a lot of sport regularly injure their cartilage, tendons or ligaments due to added pressure on the knees. Also, people who are overweight may suffer from knee pain, and this is due to the extra weight adding further compression onto the joints.

What are the causes of knee pain?

Osteoarthritis – Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis and symptoms include cartilage damage, the development of bony growths on joints, and swelling of the tissue surrounding a joint. The condition affects more women than men and is common among people over 50 years old.

  • Acute injuries – Injuries sustained after a single event may have a significant impact on the bone, muscle or ligaments surrounding the knee.
  • Meniscal injury – Menisci are small pads of tissue that sit between the bones in your knee. The pads are shock-absorbing but can become worn with age or can tear through sudden movement. Many people in their middle ages suffer from meniscal injuries.
  • Bursitis – Bursas are tiny, fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions between the muscles surrounding a joint or between bones and tendons. Bursas can become inflamed and tender through overuse or repetitive movements. The condition, which is also referred to as housemaid’s knee, is common among people who spend large amounts of time on their knees.
  • ACL injury – The ACL (Anterior cruciate ligament) stabilises the knee, and injuries to the ACL are common and can be relatively serious. If the ligament is overstretched or twisted it could tear, which can result in the knee becoming unstable and its movement becoming limited. ACL injuries are common among people who participate in sports that require sudden changes of direction, like football or netball.
  • LCL injury – The LCL, which is situated on the outside of the knee, limits any side-to-side movement. An LCL injury occurs when the ligament is twisted or if you are hit on the knee.
  • Strain – strain is one of the most common knee injuries and is when the tissue is overstretched. You may develop knee strain after taking part in strenuous physical activity. Although strain may be painful, it will not result in any permanent damage.
  • Chronic injury – Pain from swelling develops over time. This could be related to age, exercise, or due to a former knee injury.
  • Tendonitis – Tendonitis occurs when the tendons connected to the patella are either damaged or overused. The condition may be triggered by sports that involve a lot of running or jumping, such as basketball or netball.

Seeking advice

Any one of these problems can make it harder to go about your daily activities, as well as impede your enjoyment of sports or hobbies. For these reasons, it is critical that one seeks specialist advice,  diagnostic tests and treatment (if necessary) for conditions including dislocation of the knee cap, ligament or cartilage injury and different types of arthritis.

Our highly trained orthopaedic specialists offer reassurance and support and fast access to diagnostic imaging or screening of your knee to ensure early diagnosis. This may include using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanning facilities and ultrasound or conventional X-rays.

Once a diagnosis has been made, our orthopaedic surgeons may recommend follow-up treatment including physiotherapy, conventional management, or advanced surgical techniques such as keyhole surgery, joint replacement or joint preservation surgery.

Our team also works very closely with our musculoskeletal physiotherapists to help you help you back on your feet as quickly as possible.