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Pain 101: Knee Pain


Knee pain may be caused by an injury or from irritation over a period of time. Certain muscle imbalances make one more susceptible to knee pain or injuries. Tightness in musculature around the knee, weakness in the hip and knee stabilizers, and problems in the foot can all increase one’s likelihood for an injury or pain in the knee.

Pain 101: Intro To Knee Pain

Are you experiencing pain or problems in your knee? Click on this video to learn more about knee pain and steps you can take to decrease your pain.


the main types of knee pain

Patellar Tendinitis

Patellar Tendinitis

Patellar tendinitis is an inflammation of the large tendon which runs down the front of the knee. This can lead to pain in the front of the knee when walking or navigating stairs.



Arthritis is an inflammation or a wearing out of the cartilage in the knee joint which serves to prevent the bones from rubbing against each other. When this protective layer is inflamed or worn out, the bones can rub, which can result in pain and stiffness and difficulty navigating steps, walking and squatting.



Chondromalacia is a softening and irritation of the cartilage under the knee cap. It causes pain under the knee cap especially when walking up and down stairs and squatting.

Meniscus Tear

Meniscus Tear

Meniscus tear is a tear of one of the two crescent-shaped cartilages in the knee joint. Meniscus tears most often occur in active young people involved in sports, athletes and older adults who have degeneration associated with age.

Ligament injuries

Ligament injuries

Ligament injuries are tears or sprains of the ligaments that help to support the knee joint. A person with ligament injuries will often feel as if the knee will “give out” and frequently complain of pain and swelling.



Bursitis is an inflammation of the “bursa” or a fluid-filled sack protecting the joint. Bursitis can develop from extended periods of kneeling such as gardening or a fall on the knee.

what can you do about your knee pain?

The solution to your knee pain depends on the source of your pain and type of injury you may have sustained. The first step is to consult with your doctor and discuss their recommendations for treating the pain in your knee. Your doctor may recommend restrictions on specific activities, medication and/or physical therapy. You can try the following steps now to help alleviate your pain.


It is important when you are experiencing knee pain to limit your activity and rest so that your knee can heal.

Cold Packs

Apply a cold pack to your knee to help reduce pain and inflammation in the joints and muscles. To prevent damage to skin and surrounding tissue, cold packs should only be applied in 15 minute intervals.


If you don’t have increased pain with movement, stretching and increasing the range of motion of your knee can help loosen up the muscles surrounding your knee and decrease the pain.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy consists of hands-on treatment to loosen muscles and joints, education on proper walking and movement to decrease pain, instruction on stretching and strengthening exercises to restore mobility and strength, and modalities such as electrical stimulation, cold/heat packs and ultrasound.

exercises for knee pain

Following are a few exercises you can perform that may help alleviate pain. Please go to LIFE+ for more videos that may help you. Please consult your physician before trying these, and stop if you experience any pain or discomfort.

What is Physical Therapy?

  • Physical therapists are trained, licensed specialists who help individuals develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and function. Physical therapists specialize in helping restore flexibility and strength to the knees and legs to allow you to move normally and enjoy your life, pain free. Discuss with your doctor if physical therapy is a good option for your knee pain.

Treatment Approach

  • Medical research has shown physical therapy to be an effective treatment with positive long term outcomes for patients with knee pain. A successful treatment plan consists of the following: hands-on therapy, an exercise program, posture & body mechanics training, and modalities (cold/heat, ultrasound electrical stimulation).

Hands-On Therapy

Physical therapists are trained to apply specialized, hands-on techniques that help relax tight muscles and restore joint movement of the lower extremities.

Exercise Program

A patient-specific exercise program focusing on mobility and strength will be designed to help you return to your optimal daily activity and quality of life.

Gait and Body Mechanics Training

Physical therapists are experts at movement analysis. Your physical therapist will help you improve gait and body mechanics for your daily activities.


Cold/heat, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation are used to decrease pain and relax the muscles.