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Knee Pain: Meaning, symptoms, causes, and other details

Team AckoJan 18, 2024

Knee Pain affects millions of people worldwide and can be the result of various factors. Here, we will explore the meaning, symptoms, causes, and other relevant details related to this medical condition. 




What is Knee Pain?

Knee Pain is the pain experienced in the knee joint. The knee is a complex joint that provides stability and mobility to the lower body. Knee Pain (KP) can occur due to various reasons, including injury, overuse, arthritis, or underlying medical conditions.

Symptoms of Knee Pain

Common symptoms associated with Knee Pain include the following. 

  • Pain: The most prominent symptom of KP is the presence of pain in or around the knee joint. 

  • Swelling: Inflammation and swelling around the knee joint are common symptoms of KP. Swelling may be accompanied by warmth and redness.

  • Stiffness: People with KP often experience stiffness in the joint, making it difficult to bend or straighten the knee fully.

  • Limited Range of Motion: KP can restrict the knee joint’s range of motion, leading to difficulty in performing activities that require bending or straightening the knee.

  • Instability: Some individuals with KP may feel a sense of instability in the knee, which can affect balance and mobility.

Causes of Knee Pain

Here are some common causes of Knee Pain.

  • Injuries: Traumatic injuries can cause this type of pain. 

  • Arthritis: Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid can cause KP. 

  • Overuse: Repetitive activities or overuse of the knee joint can lead to pain and inflammation. This is commonly seen in athletes or individuals who engage in activities that involve frequent kneeling, squatting, or running.

  • Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as gout, tendinitis, bursitis, or infections, can cause KP as a secondary symptom.

Treatment options for Knee Pain

Here are some common treatment options for Knee Pain. 

  • Rest and Activity Modification: It is important to strike a balance between rest and gentle movement to prevent stiffness.

  • Physical Therapy: A personalised exercise program can prove helpful. 

  • Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation. 

  • Bracing or Supportive Devices: Depending on the cause of KP, a brace, knee sleeve, or other supportive devices may be recommended to provide stability and reduce stress on the joint.

  • Surgery: In severe cases or when conservative treatments fail to provide relief, surgical interventions may be considered.

Risk factors for Knee Pain

Common risk factors for Knee Pain include the following. 

  • Age: The risk of KP and knee-related conditions, such as osteoarthritis, increases with age. The wear and tear on the joint over time can lead to degenerative changes and pain.

  • Excess Weight: Being overweight or obese puts extra stress on the knee joints. 

  • Sports and Physical Activities: Participating in high-impact sports or activities that involve repetitive knee movements can be risky. 

  • Occupational Factors: Certain occupations that involve heavy lifting, prolonged kneeling, or squatting can strain the knee joint, leading to pain and discomfort.

Do's and Don'ts for managing Knee Pain

Here are some do's and don'ts for managing Knee Pain.


  • Exercise Regularly: Engage in low-impact exercises. 

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Ensure a healthy weight to reduce stress on the knee joints.

  • Use Appropriate Footwear: Wear supportive and comfortable shoes that provide adequate cushioning and stability for the feet and knees.

  • Practise Good Posture: Maintain good posture while sitting, standing, or walking to prevent unnecessary stress on the knee joints.

  • Apply Ice or Heat: Applying ice packs or using heat therapy can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.

Don'ts (Things to avoid)

  • Avoid High-Impact Activities: Limit activities that put excessive stress on the knee joints, such as running or jumping, to prevent further damage and pain.

  • Avoid Prolonged Standing or Sitting: If possible, avoid sitting or standing in one position for a long time. 

  • Avoid Excessive Weightlifting: Heavyweight lifting can strain the knee joints. 

  • Avoid Wearing High Heels: High-heeled shoes can alter the alignment of the body and increase pressure on the knees. Opt for shoes with lower heels or flats.

Diagnosis of Knee Pain

Common methods used to diagnose Knee Pain include the following.

  • Medical History: The healthcare provider will inquire about the onset, duration, and nature of the pain, as well as any previous injuries or medical conditions.

  • Laboratory Tests: In some cases, blood tests or joint fluid analysis may be performed to rule out underlying medical conditions or infections. This might be done along with imaging tests. 

Common knee problems

Some common knee problems are mentioned below. 

  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis can cause pain, stiffness, and limited mobility in the knee joint.

  • Tendonitis: Tendonitis can cause pain and tenderness in the knee, particularly during movement or physical activity.

  • Meniscus Tears: Tears in the meniscus can occur due to sudden twisting movements or degenerative changes. They can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty in fully extending or flexing the knee.

  • Bursitis: Knee bursitis can cause localised pain, swelling, and warmth.

When to see a doctor for Knee Pain

It is advisable to see a doctor for Knee Pain in case of the following. 

  • The pain is severe and persists for an extended period.

  • There is visible swelling, redness, or warmth in the knee joint.

  • The knee is unable to bear weight or feels unstable.

  • The pain is accompanied by a fever or signs of infection.

  • There is a significant limitation in knee movement or difficulty performing daily activities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some FAQs about Knee Pain.


Can Knee Pain be a symptom of a heart condition?

Yes, in some cases, KP can be a symptom of a heart condition. Referred pain from the heart can manifest as KP. 

Are there any natural remedies for Knee Pain?

While natural remedies may not provide a cure, they can help alleviate KP to some extent. 

Can Knee Pain be prevented?

While not all instances of KP can be prevented, certain measures can help reduce the risk. Maintaining a healthy weight, practising good posture, wearing appropriate footwear, and avoiding excessive strain on the knees can help minimise the likelihood of developing KP.

Can Knee Pain only affect older adults?

No, Knee Pain can affect individuals of all age groups. 

Can physical therapy help with Knee Pain?

Yes, physical therapy is often an effective treatment option for Knee Pain. Physical therapy can also help with restoring normal knee function and preventing future injuries.

When should I consider knee replacement surgery?

Knee replacement surgery is typically considered when conservative treatments have failed to provide relief and Knee Pain significantly affects daily activities. Your healthcare provider will assess your condition, including factors such as pain severity, functional limitations, and joint damage, to determine if knee replacement surgery is appropriate for you.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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