If you have knee pain you can often relieve your discomfort at home. But more serious cases (like sudden injuries that damage tendons and ligaments, or severe joint degeneration) need medical attention and sometimes surgery.
Knee pain can occur for many reasons, most commonly because of overuse, injuries or arthritis. You can experience knee pain at any age, but older people are more likely to develop it due to degeneration of the joint, a condition known as osteoarthritis.
Depending on what’s causing your pain, you may feel better with rest, anti-inflammatory medication and ice. If you have a more severe injury, you may need a procedure or a surgery.
Surgeons often use minimally invasive types of surgery (arthroscopic surgery) to repair damage to the knee like torn tendons or ligaments. These types of injuries can cause knee instability and pain. In cases when the damage is severe, your healthcare provider may recommend knee replacement surgery.
The knee is made of
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
Many conditions and injuries can make your knees hurt. Some common knee pain causes can include overuse, injuries and arthritis.
Repetitive activities can lead to pain Some examples are:
Sudden trauma can damage parts of your knee joint. Common knee injuries can include:
Arthritis is a condition that can impact many different joints in your body. When you have arthritis in your knee, it causes the joint to swell. This can be a painful condition. Arthritis in your knee is more likely to develop over time as you age. There are several different types of arthritis that can affect the knees, including:
Treatment for knee pain depends on what’s causing it and how uncomfortable it makes you.
No matter what caused your knee pain, physical therapy exercises can strengthen the muscles supporting your knee to help relieve discomfort.
Your doctor or physical therapist can recommend home care to relieve knee pain. These may include:
See your doctor right away if you have severe knee pain after a fall or accident, or if your knee is too painful or unstable to support your weight. You should also see your doctor if your knee is swollen or you can’t extend it all the way. Call your doctor if you have pain that keeps bothering you longer than a few days.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/04/2020.
Learn more about our editorial process.