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Knee Pain

The knee is a complicated joint comprising of several parts. The kneecap joins the upper leg bone (Femur) to make the Patellafemoral joint. The joint between the upper and lower leg is called the Tibiofemoral joint. There are several structures within the knee that can become painful. Normally these will improve with simple management techniques and will not require surgery.

If you have experienced any trauma to your knee and continue to get pain it is important to have this looked at by you physiotherapist or GP. You can self-refer here.

What can I do to help?

Pain relief: Simple painkillers (like paracetamol) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDS, (like ibuprofen) are available over the counter and can be very effective but don’t use them for more than 2 weeks without seeking medical advice. You should carefully read the Patient Information Leaflet that is provided with this medication. 

It is advisable to consult your GP or pharmacist before taking additional pain relief if you are currently:

·         taking any form of medication

·         have any other pre-existing medical conditions

·         pregnant

Ice: Using an ice pack may be helpful for reducing pain and swelling. A packet of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel works well as an ice pack. Leave the peas in place for up to 20 minutes at a time. This can be repeated several times a day as comfort allows.

Reducing the strain on your knee: It is usually best to carry out your normal activities, but try not to overdo it. You need to pace yourself to start with and try to do a bit more each day.

Rest: Aim for a balance between rest and exercise to prevent your knee from stiffening up. Try to avoid the movements that are most painful, especially those that are repetitive. However, it’s important to remain generally active even if you have to limit how much you do.

Exercise: The strength of the muscles of around your knee often influences knee pain. Keeping the mobility in your knee is important in rehabilitation.

A little post exercise discomfort is not uncommon and not a sign of damage. If you experience pain that regularly lasts for more than 30 minutes after exercise and feel that overall your pain is worsening please stop all exercises and seek advice from the physiotherapy department.

Exercises to try:

Inner Range Quads


Inner Range Quadriceps

Lying or sitting with your leg out straight

Place a towel or pillow underneath your knee 

Press your knee down into the towel and contract your thigh muscle

Hold for 5 seconds, then relax


Straight Leg Raise


Straight Leg Raise

With your leg out straight in front of you

Lift your leg, keeping the knee straight

Slowly return to the starting position


Sit to Stand


Sit to Stand

Begin sitting on a chair

Cross your arms across your chest

Stand without using your arms to assist you

Slowly sit down again

(The higher the chair, the easier this exercise will be)


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