Sportswoman lying against the wall.

Muscle & Joint

Joint pain can affect just one joint or many, and can be caused by arthritis, injury, overuse, or bursitis (an inflammation or irritation of the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that acts like a grease to reduce friction), and many different illnesses and conditions. Most commonly, osteoarthritis affects the knees, hips, spine and hands.

Man holding his sore knee.

Causes of knee pain

With many of us living active lives, it’s no surprise that we put our knees through a lot. This is why knee pain is the most common musculoskeletal issue why people visit their doctors for. With a better understanding of the knee and how to deal with an injury, you can be knee smart.

The knee has the ability to twist and rotate. It is able to do this due to its complex structure which involves four bones, four important ligaments and a series of tendons. It can also bend, straighten, and bear the weight of the body whilst also working with the ankles and hips.

Because of this pressure, knees are susceptible to various injuries.74

Football player holding a cold compress on his knee.
Man holding a cold compress on his knee.

Knee pain is either immediate (acute) or long-term (chronic). Acute knee pain can be caused by an injury from over exerting the joint, for example by playing sport or through an infection.

Chronic knee pain is often caused by injuries or inflammation (such as arthritis) but also by infection.

If you have a knee injury, remember


Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.74


Protect the injury and the person who has suffered the injury


Rest the knee and don’t try to put weight on it


Ice will help slow or reduce the swelling and provide a numbing sensation that will ease the pain. Don’t leave ice on for longer than 15 minutes as this can result in frostbite. Wait 40 to 45 minutes before applying ice again.


Wrapping the injured knee with an elastic bandage or compression wrap will help keep it immobile and supported. Be sure not to wrap it too tightly


Elevating the injured leg will reduce swelling and knee pain. Fractures and sprains that are ignored or aren't treated properly can lead to long-term chronic pain problems

Woman jogging outdoors.

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