When Your Knee Hurts

When your knees are working smoothly, you give them little thought. But you rely on them to walk, climb, kneel, and even sit. With all they do, it’s no wonder they are at risk for pain and injury. Knee problems can occur at any age and in many ways. This booklet will help you understand common knee problems and their treatment.

Common Symptoms

Any of these symptoms could be the first sign of a knee problem:

  • Pain – This may be discomfort that comes and goes. Or it may be sudden, severe pain.
  • Swelling – After an injury, bleeding inside the joint may cause a knee to swell. An irritation inside the knee can cause a clear fluid to build up, which also makes the knee swell.
  • Locking or “Giving Away” – This can be caused by a loose piece of cartilage in the knee. It can also happen if the parts of the knee aren’t working right.
  • Limited movement or stiffness. – This may be due to injury, wear, and tear, inflamed tissue, or disease.
  • Grinding or cracking. – This may be caused by rough bone or cartilage inside the knee.

You Can Get Relief

If you have any symptoms listed above, see your doctor. If you wait, the problem can quickly become worse. Once you find out what the problem is, you can work with the doctor to solve it and prevent further damage. You can also be shown ways to strengthen your knee to help avoid problems in the future.

Mild to Moderate Sprains

A twist or injury may cause ligaments in the knee to stretch or split. This is called a sprain. You will most likely notice some pain. You may also see some swelling. After a while, your knee may feel unstable.


Possible treatments include:

  • Resting and putting ice on the knee right after injury to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Medicine and support bandage to relieve pain and hold the knee in place. A knee brace may be prescribed.
  • Surgery to make the knee more stable. This is rarely needed.
  • Exercises to strengthen your knee.