What are the treatment options for knee pain?

John Fairhurst
Senior Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist at Bupa UK
08 March 2023
Next review due March 2026
person having a knee consultation

What causes knee pain?

Some causes of knee pain include:

Who can treat knee pain?

If your knee is sore, you may decide to see your GP. Your GP will examine both of your knees and ask about your history of knee pain, to try and work out what’s causing the pain.

Your GP will usually refer you to another healthcare service, depending on what they suspect the problem may be. In some situations, they’ll refer you to a specialist. If you have osteoarthritis, for example, they may refer you to a musculoskeletal clinic or physiotherapist.

Conservative treatment, including physiotherapy, is usually recommended as a first step to treat knee pain. This is because most people recover well using non-invasive therapy. But if your knee pain is severe, ongoing or affects your normal daily activities, you may be referred to a surgeon.

Which treatment is best for knee pain?

The best treatment for knee pain might be different for different people. For example, two people with the same knee injury may have very different levels of activity or pain thresholds. So, treatment options will differ, depending on what’s best for each person.

Many knee injuries can be successfully treated with optimal loading, support for the joint, and physiotherapy. Ice can help ease pain, but it might not help with the swelling.

Infographic: POLICE principles

Bupa's POLICE infographic (PDF, 0.5 MB), illustrates the ‘POLICE principles’ to reduce your pain and help you to recover. Click on the POLICE image below to download the PDF.

An image describing the acronym POLICE

If you have a muscle, bone or joint problem, our direct access service aims to provide you with the advice, support and treatment you need as quickly as possible. If you’re covered by your health insurance, you’ll be able to get advice from a physiotherapist usually without the need for a GP referral. Learn more today.

John Fairhurst
John Fairhurst
Senior Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist at Bupa UK



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