Knee Problems & Treatments

The knee joint is one of the largest joints in the body, and carries your weight when walking, running or jumping. The ligaments around this joint both stabilise and limit certain movements.

Trauma, mechanical injury or musculoskeletal disease can lead to a variety of knee problems such as discomfort, reduced movement, stiffness, swelling or instability. Knee injuries are common during sports and obesity can also contribute to knee pain. All of these problems can make it difficult to manage your daily activities.

There are many reasons why you may experience knee pain. These are some of the most common reasons for knee pain that we see and treat.


If you have taken part in more activity than you are normally used to and feel pain in your knee, this could be the result of a strain. This is where tissues in your knee have stretched but not suffered any permanent damage.

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury

The ACL, which stabilises your knee, can tear as a result of twisting and overstretching the ligament. Once an ACL has ruptured, your knee will become unstable and prevent its full range of movement. This is one of the most common injuries picked up playing sports like football or rugby.

Lateral collateral ligament (LCL) injury

The LCL is found on the outside of your knee and limits side-to-side movement. Like an ACL injury, this can tear as a result of twisting or being hit on the inside of your knee.


Acute injuries, such as sudden damage after an accident, may harm the bone, muscle or ligaments.

Damage to the knee joints (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. Damage to the menisci can be one of the most common causes of knee pain for middle-aged people.

Chronic injury

Pain from swelling can develop over time, frequently through overuse. This can be from athletic activity or physical exercise, or develop because of age or from previous knee injuries.


Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Characteristics of the condition include inflammation of tissues around the joints and damage to the protective surface of the bones that allow joints to move easily without friction. The condition normally develops in people over the age of 50 and women are more likely to be affected than men.


Tendonitis (otherwise known as runner’s or jumper’s knee) can be caused by overusing or injuring the tendons that join to your patella. As the name suggests, this inflammation of the tendon can be triggered by running or jumping activities like basketball, volleyball or netball.


The inflammation of a bursa (a fluid-filled sac that provides a cushion between bones and tendons or muscles around a joint) can swell and become tender through overuse or repetitive movement. People who are likely to be at more risk of developing bursitis of the knee are those who spend a lot of time kneeling, such as gardeners or carpet fitters. Historically, this condition was commonly experienced by housemaids, and was also known as housemaid’s knee.

Specialist treatments for knee problems

Our expert orthopaedic specialists, nurse specialists and knee surgeons will offer you reassurance and support from diagnosis through to treatment and follow-up care. The first step is to screen your knee using MRI scanning facilities, X-rays or ultrasounds to diagnose your condition as quickly as possible. If necessary, your consultant may also insert a tiny camera into your knee joint to get a clearer view of your condition. Following diagnosis, our team of orthopaedic specialists will explain the next steps and the treatments available to you.

Medication such as steroid injections, inflammatory drugs or pain-relieving gels and creams may help relieve your symptoms. Dietary supplements may also help, but you should always check with your GP before taking them.

An elastic support worn around the knee can help you feel more stable and walking aids can also be very effective in keeping you mobile, as is moderate exercise. Unfortunately, as arthritis gets worse, none of these treatments remain as effective.

Knee arthroscopy involves inserting a camera through small incisions in the skin so that your surgeon can diagnose and sometimes treat common knee conditions.

Knee replacement surgery should reduce your pain and help you walk more easily if you suffer severe pain, stiffness and disability due to arthritis.

If you have osteoarthritis that is limited to just one part of the knee, patello-femoral and unicompartmental knee replacements are partial knee replacements that may be more suitable for you.

An ACL rupture is often the result of a twisting injury, particularly a sports injury. A successful ACL reconstruction may prevent your knee from collapsing in future and allow you to become more active, or even resume previous sporting activities.


At Highgate Private Hospital we treat all kinds of knee problems and injuries – not just well-known ones. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, then please call us.

Knee Problems & Treatments Consultants

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