Knee Pain

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aman Priya Khanna
Written by Rajath R Prabhu, last updated on 12 October 2023| min read
Knee Pain

Quick Summary

  • The knee is the largest joint in the body and is made up of four bones: the femur, tibia, fibula, and patella.
  • Knee pain is a common problem that can be caused by a number of factors, including injury, arthritis, and overuse.
  • Treatment for knee pain depends on the underlying cause, but may include rest, ice, heat, medication, physical therapy, and surgery.

The knee is the largest joint joining your thigh bone (femur) to your shin bone (tibia). The fibula and the kneecap (patella) are the other two bones that make a knee joint. Other knee parts include tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and muscles. Knee pain is a common problem among all age groups. It often starts after a disease or injury. Whether the pain is due to an injury, ageing, or overuse, mild discomfort can slowly worsen and be a nuisance.

In today’s increasingly active society, knee pain has become a common reason for people to visit a doctor. The pain can originate from any bony structures that comprise the knee joint, knee cap, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. It can be triggered by intense physical activities, obesity, and other causes. Knee pain exercises and physical therapy can relieve minor knee pain. However, it is essential to note here that you may need to go through surgery to repair your knee in some cases. 

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Knee Pain?

The place and intensity of the pain can vary due to various knee pain causes. When you suffer knee pain due to an infection or inflammatory process, your whole knee might become painful. Whereas pain may arise only in one specific location in case of a fracture or a torn meniscus. When suffering from a baker cyst, a fluid-filled swelling that can cause a bulge, you may experience pain in the back of your knee. The extremity of the pain can vary from acute to chronic. Symptoms that accompany knee pain include:-

  1. Experience crunching noises from the knee
  2. Swelling, redness, and stiffness in the knee
  3. Difficulty in walking or bearing weight
  4. Unable to straighten the knee
  5. Difficulty in climbing the stairs
  6. Unable to bend the knee
  7. Limp due to discomfort

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What Investigations can be done if you have a Knee pain?

When visiting a doctor for your knee pain, they will perform a physical exam to inspect the knee and understand where it is tender. In addition, the doctor will try to understand the nature of the pain by asking you questions like:-

  1. Where do you feel the pain?
  2. How long has the pain persisted?
  3. Does the pain wake you at night?
  4. Do you have any medical problems, like arthritis or a previous injury?

Then the doctor will further move on to perform the following tests:-

  1. X-Rays 
    1. 1X-rays are performed to diagnose fractures, bone dislocations, arthritis, and joint spaces. 
    2. A doctor may suggest doing an X-ray based on the medical history and physical exam. 
  2. CT Scan
    1. A CT scan offers your doctor a more detailed view of the inside of the knee than X-rays.
    2. It allows the doctor to diagnose your knee problems without performing exploratory surgeries.
  3. MRI Scan 
    1. Doctors use Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans for examining damage in ligaments, tendons, cartilage, muscles, bones, and blood vessels. 
    2. The test uses large magnets to create a 3-dimensional image of the knee. 
  4. Bone Density Scan
    1. A bone density scan measures your bone strength.
    2. The test is performed to find and treat bone loss (osteoporosis) and prevent fractures.
  5. Fluid Removal (Arthrocentesis)
    1. Arthrocentesis is a diagnostic procedure where the doctor takes fluid out of the knee joint.
    2. The knee and bursae of the knee are filled with fluid. 
    3. The doctor may remove this fluid from the knee using a needle or syringe if your symptoms suggest the presence of infection or arthritis. 
    4. The fluid is then used to diagnose any bacteria or pus better. 
  6. Arthroscopy 
    1. Arthroscopy is another diagnostic procedure for knee pain diagnosis where the orthopaedic surgeon can examine and treat your knee joint without the need to make a large incision through the skin. 
    2. The surgeon inserts a small camera, also known as an arthroscope, in your knee joint to display images of your knee on a video monitor.
    3. This enables them to look at the damaged cartilage and menisci closely. 
    4. It also guides them to use the surgical instruments and treat the damage. 

How can Knee Pain be treated after diagnosis?

Knee pain treatment varies according to the causes of the pain. 

  1. Medications: Doctors prescribe medicines to relieve pain and treat conditions like arthritis.
  2. Injections: In some cases, the doctor suggests injecting medicines directly into your knee joint. Injections like corticosteroids, platelet-rich plasma, and hyaluronic acid can help relieve pain and promote healing. 
  3. Therapy: Knee pain exercises or physical therapy helps in strengthening the muscles around the knees. Doctors recommend therapies and exercises based on the cause of your knee pain.
  4. Surgery: Some knee injuries may require surgical treatment. Based on the damage, doctors suggest different types of knee surgery like osteotomy, partial knee replacement, total knee replacement, and arthroscopic surgery. 

Self-care measures to relieve your pain at home:-

  1. Lots and Lots of Rest: Give yourself a 2-3 days break from all the usual activities and avoid putting strain on your knee. 
  2. Put a Bag of Ice: Ice can help you reduce inflammation and pain.
  3. Apply a Heat Bag: Applying a hot water bottle to the injured area can help in temporary pain relief.
  4. Use a Compression Bandage: A compression bandage can help support your knee and avoid fluid buildup in damaged tissues and tendons. 
  5. Elevate Your Leg: Placing your legs on a pillow or sitting in a recliner can help reduce swelling.

Please Note: Do not apply ice for more than 20 minutes as it can cause damage to your skin and nerves.

Lifestyle changes that can help you prevent knee pain include:-

  1. Keep your weight down
  2. Warm-up before exercise
  3. Run on a soft, smooth surface
  4. Try bicycling or swimming instead of running
  5. Ensure wearing comfortable running shoes with good cushioning


Consult online healthcare professionals of HexaHealth which has top orthopaedic doctors, top surgeons and the best hospitals empanelled in their network among other specialities. The professionals at HexaHealth provide complete care services and hassle-free surgery experience at the right hospital and at the right price. Your one simple phone call with them will ease all your worries, doubts and concerns about your Knee pain.

Updated on : 12 October 2023

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational and learning purposes only. It doesn't cover every medical condition and might not be relevant to your personal situation. This information isn't medical advice, isn't meant for diagnosing any condition, and shouldn't replace talking to a certified medical or healthcare professional.


Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES

12 Years Experience

Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More


Rajath R Prabhu

Rajath R Prabhu

MSc. Clinical Research I PG Diploma in Public Health Services Management

3 Years Experience

His work in medical content writing and proofreading is noteworthy. He has also contributed immensely to public health research and has authored four scientific manuscripts in international journals. He was assoc...View More

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