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eMed previously Babylon Health

Knee pain

Edited by Dr Claudia Pastides, 1st April 2019

Knee pain is a very common but bothersome symptom.


The cause of pain can lie within muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones of the knee joint.

Common causes include:

  • An injury to the knee, sprain or torn ligament
  • Repetitive strain (for example from running)
  • Osteoarthritis (wear and tear)
  • Osgood-Schlatter’s disease (painful swelling beneath the kneecap, seen in teenagers and young adults)
  • Gout
  • Septic arthritis (hot, red and painful joint that requires urgent medical attention)

Risk factors

  • Being overweight
  • Physically demanding work
  • Sports involving regular, repetitive movements

Typical Symptoms

  • Pain in knee
  • Stiffness
  • Pain worse on movement
  • Limited range of movement

Common Treatment

  • Over the counter or prescribed pain relievers
  • Ice pack placed over the painful area
  • Gentle exercise to stretch and strengthen muscles
  • Sometimes physical therapy

When to speak to a doctor

Knee pain can often be initially managed via a digital consultation. If the GP decides you need a face to face appointment, they will discuss what steps you can take next. To speak to one of our Babylon GPs, download the app and create an account today.

It is important to speak urgently to a doctor if you:

  • Have swelling, redness, or warmth on the knee
  • Are unable to walk
  • Feel numbness in the lower leg or foot


Knee pain can be managed and prevented by:

  • Weight loss if appropriate
  • Avoiding or cutting down on sports involving regular, repetitive movements

More information


The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.