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What is knee pain?

The knee is the largest and most complicated joint in the body which consists of many structures. It’s the junction between the thigh bone (femur) sitting on top of the two leg bones (tibia and fibula) supported by ligaments, tendons, muscles and cartilage so there are many elements that can be involved in causing knee pain. Knee pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal complaints amongst people of all ages and can arise due to general wear and tear, injury or even autoimmune disorders or infection. The type of pain can range from a slight dull ache to debilitating pain where even walking can be difficult. It can be acute or chronic in nature.


Common symptoms of knee pain include:


  • Knee locking

  • Weakness

  • Swelling and stiffness

  • Limping

  • Difficulties straightening your knee 

  • Difficulties bending your knee

  • Popping, clicking or crunching noises

  • Redness and warmth when touched

  • Pain from long periods of standing 


Being one of the most common complaints, knee pain can be a result of a wide variety of problems including from lower back or hip injuries, causing referred pain from the compression of nerves in the muscles further up or down the leg or pelvic area, from a previous injury to perhaps the foot or ankle which hasn’t been addressed before but more commonly knee pain occurs with problems in the knee joint itself. These include knee osteoarthritis, muscle tightness, strain or imbalance, patella tendinopathy, bursitis, ligament sprains or tears and biomechanical issues such as kneecap lateral tracking. Deeper injury or degeneration can also occur causing damage to the cartilage (meniscus).

knee pain relief in london
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Image by Jesper Aggergaard

How does osteopathy help? 

Osteopathy is a system of diagnosing and treating medical conditions that focus on the structure and the functioning of the whole body. It’s based on the idea that your overall health and wellbeing depend on your musclo-skeletal system (bones, muscles, ligaments and soft connective tissues) all working together coherently and inter-related rather than addressing a specific illness or symptom. Osteopaths are trained professionals who focus on detecting, treating and preventing health problems mainly by using joint movement, mobilisation, stretching and massage. 

What will happen during the appointment?

During your initial consultation we will take time to discuss your case history, how the pain is affecting your life, how long you’ve had it and what activities make it better or worse as well as conducting a thorough physical examination which will assess the joints and muscles from the lower back to the feet to determine the underlying cause of your knee pain. From there we will talk you through our findings and devise an appropriate treatment plan. Treatment approaches include soft tissue massage, articulation, stretching and gentle manipulation where appropriate. The treatment aims to increase mobility of the joints, relieve any muscle tension, balance tensions around the tissues, enhance blood supply to the tissues, alleviating pain and helping the body to heal naturally. Many people choose osteopathy because the treatment does not require medication and is considered a more natural approach than conventional medicine.

Part of the treatment can be to offer management strategies and advice to prevent your problems from returning. This may also involve teaching you exercises to continue with at home and using techniques such as hydrotherapy (hot and cold packs). Most knee pain caused by strains, sprains, problems with ligaments and muscle imbalances can be treated effectively with osteopathy. However, sometimes an osteopath may need to refer you to your GP for further tests or scans. This could be because your hip or knee pain suggests other causes such as fractures which require medical intervention. However, scans will not show injury or damage to tissues or ligaments. Over the longer term, abnormal mechanics of the knee can lead to more serious structural problems so it’s important to get a physical assessment and begin rehabilitation sooner rather than later. 

Please feel free to contact us to discuss your knee pain.

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