How do I Treat Knee Joint Pain?

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  • Written By: Jacquelyn Gilchrist
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2019
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Knee pain is a common problem, especially among athletes and those who are overweight. The condition can have many possible causes. Fortunately, one can treat knee joint pain at home if the case is mild. For more severe cases, a doctor usually can help.

An injury to the knee such as during a car accident or a sporting event is a common cause of knee pain. Also, you may also injure your knee if you fall in an awkward position. Your knees may simply be degenerating due to the natural aging processes, as well.

The specific symptoms of knee joint pain will vary depending on the exact cause of the injury. For example, if you have a ligament injury, you may hear a popping sound. You will likely be unable to place much weight on the injured knee. A tendon injury may cause swelling and an inability to completely straighten the knee.

You may also have bursitis, which is the inflammation of the bursae. Bursae are sacs filled with fluid that act as cushions for your knee joint. If they become inflamed, you will likely experience redness and swelling at the knee, as well as stiffness and pain when moving. Bursitis can also result in a fever if the bursae become infected.


There are other possible causes of knee pain, such as arthritis. If your pain is severe, persistent, and you are unable to bear weight on the knee, see a doctor. You should also see a doctor immediately if you have a fever, swelling, or your knee appears deformed.

Your doctor can explore options with you on how to treat knee joint pain. He will likely recommend that you wear a brace or a compression wrap to help ease pain during walking. Resting from physical activity and keeping the knee elevated may also help. Your doctor may advise that you apply an ice pack to the knee for approximately 20 minutes to relieve the pain and inflammation.

Ask your doctor about pain medications, as well. Over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen can be tried first. If these are not strong enough to control the pain, your doctor may prescribe a pain reliever, such as prescription-strength naproxen. Consider the possible side effects before taking any medication.

In addition to oral medications, you can also ask your doctor about injected drugs. An injection of a corticosteroid medication can reduce inflammation and pain. Some topical ointments, such as those containing capsaicin, can also provide pain relief.

You might consider working with a physical therapist to treat knee joint pain. Physical therapy can help rehabilitate a damaged knee by improving the strength of muscles around the knee. It can also help you regain stability and range-of-motion.

If these measures are not enough to treat knee joint pain and heal your damaged knee, you may need to consider surgical options. A doctor can help you decide the surgical approach that will work best for you. This usually depends on the severity and the type of the injury. Sometimes, surgery may be able to repair the damage to your knee. Otherwise, you may need to consider a partial or total knee replacement.


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