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Knee pain is a common complaint. If the pain is not associated with a trauma, the most likely causes include incorrect loading of the joint, excessive stress or muscle tension/weakness. Pain may be a reaction to starting jogging or engaging in vigorous sporting activities involving jumping. In this case, the problem is functional, causing pain in the tendons supporting the knee, and in their attachment points. If knee pain is associated with a high-energy trauma (such as a fall, knock or twisting) accompanied by swelling, the pain may be caused by damage to ligaments or other knee structures. 

Self-care

  • Avoid all straining of the knee that causes pain. 
  • Pay attention that your knee is well aligned when you are using it. 
  • Stretch and strengthen your leg muscles as the pain allows. 
  • Use analgesic gels, cold packs and NSAIDs as needed. 

When should you see a doctor?

See a doctor if:

  • your knee pain is associated with a high-energy trauma and swelling; or
  • if you cannot bear weight on the leg as usual.

When should you see a physiotherapist?

See a physiotherapist if:

  • your knee pain is related to physical stress or there is no clear reason for the pain;
  • the self-care instructions do not help;
  • your knee pain has persisted for a long time; or 
  • your pain is intermittent.

FSHS Physiotherapist / 4 October 2019 

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