Knee Pain: Common Causes & Treatment

By Athlete's Care on September 08, 2022

Knee issues are one of the most common problems that our Toronto physiotherapists and other sports medicine specialists treat.

The knee

The knee is a complex joint, and it's located at a crucial part of the body.

  • The knee connects the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone);
  • Several smaller bones connect the patella (kneecap) to both;
  • The quadriceps tendon attaches to the patella, and various ligaments connect the bones to the leg muscles.

Many of the injuries and conditions of the knee revolve around the ligaments that keep the bones in place:

  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL);
  • Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL);
  • Medial and lateral collateral ligaments (MCL & LCL).

Pads of elastic cartilage cushion the movement of the bones. At either side of the knee, they are called the meniscus.

  • Lateral meniscus is at the outer side of the knee;
  • Medial meniscus is at the inner side of the knee.

The bursae are small sacs filled with fluid that help to cushion the joint and enhance smooth movement.

Common Problems


There are many injuries that are common to the knee and area.

  • ACL and other ligaments torn or injured via movements; for example, the sudden changes of direction in basketball can injure the ACL;
  • Fractures of the bone or patella are common in falls and vehicle accidents;
  • The meniscus can tear with a sudden twist;
  • Bursitis: the bursae can become inflamed by over use;
  • Tendonitis: injury and overuse can cause inflammation.

There are many types of arthritis. In the knee area, the most common include:

  • Osteoarthritis: wear and tear on the cartilage;
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation;
  • Gout: due to a build up of uric acid crystals.

Home treatment options

When the pain and discomfort is mild, and if you are waiting to see a medical professional, you can take steps that should help reduce the symptoms.

  • Use ice within 24 hours of an injury or when pain starts, as it reduces inflammation;
  • Use heat packs when swelling is down, or not an issue;
  • Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen can help;
  • Compression bandages can help to reduce swelling and pain;
  • Elevate the knee, and rest.

When should you see your Toronto physiotherapist or sports medicine specialist?

Knee pain is a common problem. But, when it goes beyond a little soreness, it requires a professional assessment. Here are the signs you should seek medical help:

  • You can no longer bear weight on the leg;
  • There is noticeable swelling;
  • Movement is compromised—you can't flex your knee, or extend it fully;
  • You have a fever in addition to redness and swelling;
  • The pain is severe.

Pain anywhere can prevent you from leading the life you deserve. If you are experiencing problems with your knee joints, our Toronto physiotherapy and sports medicine professionals are ready to help. Don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy clinics today for a consultation.