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Knee Pain

Knee Pain

This is caused by many reasons and most resolve with time and if symptoms persist, physiotherapy can resolve most issues. Certainly don’t consider surgery before having correct rehabilitation. If conservative measures don’t work you should not be worse – the same cannot be said of surgery.


Knee arthritis (Osteoarthritis)

Forget “Wear and Tear”, Osteoarthritis is more the process of “Wear and Repair”. The myth that joints wear out is wrong and if we use the joint sensibly it will last longer than you! Knee pain can be a result of damage to the cartilage (thick discs between the two bones that reduce the stress between them).

The human body is very clever. When we place stress on our joints, the body will adapt to this by becoming stronger and repairing itself. Therefore, with optimum loading and training we can actually reverse this process and improve joint health. This is why physical activity and exercise is so important for our physical health, whilst also providing mental benefits too.

Rehabilitation with knee arthritis aims to change your view about your joint and show you how to walk correctly and begin increasing your activity levels again. Research clearly demonstrates that an active programme aimed at restoring movement, control and strength does work in reducing pain and returning function. Don’t have surgery before trying conservative treatment. Your knee joints have the potential to improve if you learn a few new ideas and start living again.


A ligament is a band of tissue that connects two bones together to provide joint stability and helps to control movement. A ligament has some elastic qualities, but if stressed beyond those limits it will be damaged (e.g. rupture or complete tear). A partial tear of a ligament will repair with the formation of scar (connective) tissue and in the case of a rupture the ligament will not repair. However, muscles around a damaged joint may compensate for a ruptured ligament, but if this is not successful, surgery may be required.

Physiotherapy following a ligament injury aims to optimise recovery and gradually increase the stresses across the ligament (damaged tissue responds to controlled movement to stimulate the healing process). If surgical repair is required, physiotherapy helps to regain the patients control around the affected joint by strengthening muscle across the joint and regaining co-ordination of the limb before returning to previous sport or function.

Anterior Knee Pain

This is pain felt at the front of the knee around the kneecap area, however the exact location of pain can be difficult to describe. There are many reasons for developing anterior knee pain, but often you may not recognise an obvious reason or injury that caused it to start and the pain may have gradually built up over time. Some reasons include altered tracking of the patella (kneecap), or a change in load or activity that leads to an overload on the knee joint.

Typical symptoms include:

  • Pain on stairs or hills, more often going down
  • Pain when squatting down
  • Pain when sitting with the knee bent for long periods (sometimes called ‘movie goers knee’)
  • Feelings of the knee ‘giving way’
  • Catching or clicking noises or sensations
  • Pain when kneeling down

Physiotherapy for most anterior knee pain requires tailored treatment to address imbalances between what your knee or leg is capable of and what stresses you are putting it through. This typically involves activity modification and an individualised strengthening programme. Additionally, it is sometimes necessary to treat the hip and foot, as abnormal movement within either of these joints can lead to altered patella tracking.

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