Knee pain can often be treated at home. You should start to feel better in a few days. See a GP if the pain is very bad or lasts a long time.
How to ease knee pain and swelling
Try these things at first:
- put as little weight as possible on the knee – for example, avoid standing for a long time
- use an ice pack (or bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel) on your knee for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours
- take paracetamol
See a GP if:
- it does not improve within a few weeks
- you cannot move your knee or put any weight on it
- your knee locks, painfully clicks or gives way – painless clicking is normal
Get advice from a medical professional if:
- your knee is very painful
- your knee is badly swollen or has changed shape
- you have a very high temperature, feel hot and shivery, and have redness or heat around the knee – this can be a sign of infection
Knee pain can be a symptom of many different conditions. A doctor will suggest treatment based on the condition causing your pain. They might: Use these links to get an idea of what can be done about knee pain. But do not self-diagnose – see a GP if you're worried.
Common causes of knee pain
Knee pain after an injury
Pain after overstretching, overusing or twisting, often during exercise
sprains and strains
Pain between your kneecap and shin, often caused by repetitive running or jumping
Unstable, gives way when you try to stand, unable to straighten, may hear a popping sound during injury
torn ligament, tendon or meniscus, cartilage damage
Teenagers and young adults with pain and swelling below kneecap
Kneecap changes shape after a collision or sudden change in direction
Knee pain with no obvious injury
Pain and stiffness in both knees, mild swelling, more common in older people
Warm and red, kneeling or bending makes pain and swelling worse
Swelling, warmth, bruising, more likely while taking anticoagulants
bleeding in the joint
Hot and red, sudden attacks of very bad pain
gout or septic arthritis
Knee pain can be a symptom of many different conditions.
A doctor will suggest treatment based on the condition causing your pain.
Use these links to get an idea of what can be done about knee pain. But do not self-diagnose – see a GP if you're worried.