From ligament injury and tendonitis to torn cartilage and arthritis, The Edinburgh Clinic’s Tim White looks at knee pain causes and treatments

The knee joint connects the thigh with the leg, making it one of the largest and most important joints in the body. It consists of two articulations; one between the femur and tibia, and one between the femur and patella. Together they carry your weight if you are walking, running or jumping, with movements stabilised and limited by the ligaments around the knee joint.
As your knee supports your full body weight, injuries to your ligaments, cartilage and tendons can be common during the rigours of sport or exercise. Obesity can also play a contributing factor to knee pain as the excess weight loads extra pressure on to your knee joints. High impact exercise like running can also be a contributing factor to pain in the knee joint.
What can cause knee pain?

Sprains or strains 

If you have been more active than normal and experience pain in your knee, this could be the result of a strain or sprain. This is where ligament or muscle tissues in your knee have stretched but not suffered any permanent damage.
Repetitive strain injury

Joints can swell from overuse and pain can get worse over time. This can be caused by athletic activity or physical exercise. It can also develop because of age or because of a previous knee injury.
Anterior cruciate ligament injury (ACL)

Damage to ACL is a common sporting injury. The ACL stabilises your knee, but can be torn easily after twisting and over stretching the ligament. Once an ACL has ruptured, your knee will become unstable and will not be able to perform its full range of movement.
Lateral collateral ligament injury (LCL)

The LCL is found on the outside of your knee and limits side-to-side movement. The LCL can tear after twisting or being hit on the inside of your knee. An acute injury, such as damage after an accident, may harm the bone, muscle or ligaments.

This inflammation of the tendon is often sport related and can be triggered by running or jumping activities like basketball, volleyball or netball which can injure the tendons that join your patella. This is occasionally known as runner’s knee or jumper’s knee.
Meniscal injury

Between the bones in your knee sit shock-absorbing pads of tissue called menisci. These pads, found on the inside and outside edges of your knee, can become worn with age or torn after sudden movement. Meniscal injury is one of the most common causes of knee pain for middle-aged people.


Inflammation of a bursa is known as Bursitis. The bursa is a fluid-filled sac that cushions the bones and tendons or muscles around a joint. When it becomes inflamed it can become tender through repetitive movement. People who are likely to be at more risk of developing bursitis of the knee are those with vocations that require a lot of time kneeling.

Osteoarthritis is the one of the most common form of arthritis. Symptoms include inflammation of the tissues around the joints, and damage to the protective surface of the bones. People over the age of 50 are those most likely to experience osteoarthritis.
What treatments are offered for knee pain?
Treatments at The Edinburgh Clinic’s specialist Orthopaedic and Sport Injuries facility include;

  •  Rapid and comprehensive diagnostic imaging or screening of your knee to support an early diagnosis.
  •  Advanced MRI scanning and ultrasound or conventional X-rays.
  •  Minor early-diagnostic procedures such as Arthroscopy; for this procedure, a tiny telescopic camera is inserted into the knee joint to obtain a clear picture of the problem. Once a diagnosis has been made, our orthopaedic specialist consultants can recommend follow-up treatment, which may include specialist physiotherapy, conventional management, or state-of-the-art surgical techniques such as keyhole surgery.

Our highly trained Orthopaedic specialist consultants are renowned in their area of expertise, offering reassurance, peace of mind and support throughout the process of seeking medical and any surgical treatment. They work very closely with our physiotherapists to help you get back on your feet as quickly as possible.
Learn more about knee pain and the range of treatments offered at The Edinburgh Clinic
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Tim White and Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Frazer Wade both operate at The Edinburgh Clinic.
Call 0131 447 2340 to make an appointment.
Alternatively, there is the Joint Solutions service at The Edinburgh Clinic. Joint Solutions is a unique, fully integrated orthopaedic, sports medicine and injury rehabilitation service.
Our combination of experienced senior specialists and state-of-the-art medical technology allow us to diagnose the cause of your problem and agree a treatment plan in a 'one-stop' appointment. Learn more about Joint Solutions


Date: 09/03/2018
By: Andrew Gunn