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Common knee injuries

Knee pain is a common complaint that affects people of all ages. Knee pain is often the result of an injury, such as a ruptured ligament, torn cartilage, or tendinitis. But it can also be related to inflammatory conditions such as Osteoarthritis, or growing conditions such as Osgood Schlatter Disease.

Many types of minor knee pain respond well to self-care measures. Physiotherapy also helps relieve knee pain and restore function. In some cases, however, your knee may need onward referral to an orthopaedic specialist or sports physician.

The location and severity of knee pain may vary, depending on the cause of the problem. Signs and symptoms that sometimes accompany knee pain include:

  • Swelling and stiffness

  • Redness and warmth to the touch

  • Weakness or instability

  • Popping or crunching noises

  • Inability to fully straighten the knee (locking)


Seeing a physiotherapist is advised if you:

  • Can't bear weight on your knee or feel as if your knee is unstable

  • Have marked knee swelling

  • Are unable to fully extend or flex your knee

  • See an obvious deformity in your leg or knee

  • Have severe knee pain that is associated with an injury

Common Injuries

A knee injury can affect any of the ligaments, tendons, joints, or fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that surround your knee joint as well as the bones, cartilage and ligaments that form the joint itself. Some frequently seen knee injuries relating to accidents are listed below, and will all benefit from treatment with a physiotherapist. 

  • Medial Cruciate Ligament (MCL) sprain

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury 

  • Strained or Torn meniscus

  • Patellofemoral Joint sprain

  • Patella tendinitis (Jumper's knee)

 Arthritis (Osteoarthritis)

There are many different forms of arthritis. But mostly commonly seen in the knee is Osteoarthritis. Sometimes labelled a degenerative change, osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It's a wear-and-tear condition that occurs when the cartilage that lines the surfaces of your bones deteriorates with use and age.

Osteoarthritis can affect several key places inside our knee joint, more commonly seen on the inside of the knee. While we can't get get rid of osteoarthritis in the knee (unless we opt for a total knee joint replacement), we can manage the symptoms and ensure a good level of function is maintained  

Osgood Schlatter Disease

Osgood-Schlatter disease can cause a painful, bony bump on the shin, just below the knee. It usually occurs in children and adolescents experiencing growth spurts during puberty.

Osgood-Schlatter disease occurs most often in children who participate in sports that involve running, repetitive jumping or swift changes of direction — such as soccer, basketball, volleyball, and ballet.

This condition typically occurs in boys ages 12 to 14 and girls ages 10 to 13. The difference is because girls enter puberty earlier than do boys, signalling the start of their growth spurt. The condition can affect a child for a number of months, but physiotherapy treatment can reduce the painful symptoms with stretching and strengthening programmes. 


Depending on your knee injury, your physiotherapist will have a number of treatment options available to help you restore your function, and reduce your pain. Treatment options may include:

  • Strengthening
  • Stretching

  • Massage

  • Taping or bracing

  • Shockwave therapy

  • Recommendations on activity modification