Knee pain

Pain is by far the most common symptom presenting to St Joseph’s knee clinic.

The pain may be characterised by different features:

  • gradual or sudden (acute) onset
  • constant or intermittent
  • activity or rest related
  • sharp and stabbing, or aching and burning
  • general or localized

A constant, dull, aching pain within the joint often suggests inflammation and wear.  This may be caused by conditions such as osteoarthritis or inflammatory conditions such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis.  Often this type of pain is worse during and after activity and may be particularly severe at night.

Sudden sharp pains may imply a mechanical problem within the knee, such as a torn cartilage (meniscal tear). This may intermittently get caught within the joint causing pain and then settle down quite rapidly over a few days.  Typically, this pain is associated with crouching or twisting activities.

Burning pains are often due to injury or inflammation in or around a tendon e.g. patellar tendinopathy (‘Jumpers Knee’).  Initially this pain may only occur following exercise and training but, without adequate rest and treatment it can develop into a more constant and limiting pain.

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