Health Info

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General Health - Knee Injuries

Common Causes of Knee Pain

Joint Effusion

A collection of fluid within the knee joint often occurring after an injuryto the knee. It is also sometimes necessary to have the knee drained by a medical provider.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS)

PFPS is a common cause of pain seen by primary care physicians and orthopedic physicians. It involves the area under the knee cap where it slides up and down on the thigh bone. This often results in an aching pain and a rubbing/grinding sound in the front of the knee. It is usually worse with increased knee bending such as squatting and going up and down steps.


inflammation of a bursa. The bursa (fluid-filled sacs) are lubricating or protective sacs in the joints. Prepatellar bursas are frequently affected in the knee.

Ligament injuries

Multiple ligaments within the knee are susceptible to injuries. Anterior and posterior cruciate ligament (inside the knee joint) injuries typically involve noncontact decelerations, cutting movements or hyperextension and are often accompainied by a "pop". The collateral ligaments (on the outside of the joint) are usually associated with twisting injuries.

Meniscus Tears (Torn Cartilage)

The meniscus is a crescent-shaped cartilage cushioning the area at the end of the thigh bone where it meets the lower leg. Twisting the knee with the foot planted is often the cause for injuries to the meniscus.


Inflammation of a tendon may occur in the knee. The iliotibial band runs along the outside of the knee and thigh and the Patellar tendon is just below the knee cap. These are common tendons affected by inflammation, espcially in runners.


Rest: Avoid kneeling and squatting.

Ice: Apply ice twenty minutes at a time, 3 to 4 times a day while symptoms persist. Lie a towel on knee and place ice over painful or swollen area.

Elevate: To reduce swelling. Sit or lie down and raise leg above the level of your heart while icing.

Medication: Take ibuprofen (generic Advil or Motrin) or naproxen (generic Aleve) as directed on the label to reduce inflammation and pain. Your clinician may prescribe an alternative anti-inflammatory medication.

Stretching: After your muscles are warmed-up, hold each stretch as directed. Don’t cause pain. Don’t bounce.

Additional Tips

When to see a Healthcare Provider

Test Results and Advice Nurse

Please call the nurse for test results and advice: 863-4463


Appointments can be made online via the UHS website, by phone or in person. If you are unable to keep your appointment, please call and cancel. Otherwise you will be charged for the visit.

To schedule or cancel appointments call 863-0774 or schedule your appointment online through the UHS website

This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. This information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.

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