Understanding knee pain: Insights and guidance

Written by: Mr Cristian Nita
Edited by: Kate Forristal

In his latest online article, Mr Cristian Nita gives us his insights into knee pain. He talks about when you should worry about knee pain, the leading causes, if over-exercising can cause knee pain and if knee pain is left untreated can it heal itself through rest.

When should I worry about my knee pain?

Typically, when experiencing knee pain, it is often linked to our physical activities. If the pain arises during exercise, it may be attributed to the intensity of the physical strain involved. If the pain decreases when the activity is finished, it is likely a temporary issue that will likely improve over time. However, if the pain persists during rest, it could indicate a more serious problem that requires attention.


If rest, anti-inflammatory measures, and lifestyle changes don't alleviate the pain, particularly if it interferes with sleep, it's advisable to seek further investigation. With aging, degenerative changes are expected, especially in those who lead active lifestyles. Yet, if the pain endures during rest, remains unaffected by activity levels, and worsens with movement, thorough examination is warranted.



What are the leading causes of knee pain?

The significance of the situation varies based on age groups. In a younger demographic, both males and females, if knee pain follows activities or traumatic incidents, it warrants attention. If the pain diminishes during rest after activity, it's likely a temporary issue. However, if the pain involves catching, locking, or restricted movement accompanied by swelling and throbbing after such activities, it suggests a substantial injury, necessitating specialised attention.


For individuals in the middle-age group, it's expected that degenerative changes occur over time, possibly accelerated by specific activities. If pain persists during rest and intensifies with certain activities, it indicates an underlying issue that should be addressed before resuming those activities.



Can over-exercising cause knee pain?

Knee pain can be particularly challenging for individuals unaccustomed to such discomfort. For those who decide to make sudden changes to their physical routine, such as transitioning from a sedentary lifestyle to the popular "couch to 5K" program without adequate preparation, proper warm-up, and attention to footwear and surroundings, the risk of experiencing knee pain is heightened. This abrupt shift can lead to discomfort. On the other hand, individuals accustomed to regular physical activities like running, outdoor pursuits, or gym workouts may develop knee pain after such activities. In these cases, the pain could indicate a more serious issue that may worsen over time and with continued activity, necessitating medical attention.


Regardless of age or fitness level, a general guideline for anyone embarking on a specific activity, be it marathon training or high-intensity workouts, is to consider a checkup with a specialist. This precautionary measure can help identify and address potential issues before they escalate.



If my knee pain goes untreated, can it cure by itself through rest?

If discomfort arises after a specific exercise or activity and improves with rest once the activity is halted, the pain is likely related to that activity. However, if the pain persists even during rest, even after taking a break from the particular activity for a few days, there's a likelihood that it will persist without intervention. It's not uncommon for us to undergo normal age-related degenerative changes. Even for those accustomed to regular physical activity, such as gym-goers or runners, a seemingly insignificant movement can trigger nonspecific knee joint pain. If left untreated, this pain can advance and result in symptoms that impede the ability to continue these activities. Therefore, individuals experiencing such pain should seek the expertise of a specialist before resuming their usual activities.


Mr Cristian Nita is an esteemed consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon with over 20 years of experience. You can schedule an appointment with Mr Nita on his Top Doctors profile.

By Mr Cristian Nita
Orthopaedic surgery

Mr Cristian Nita is a highly revered consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in knee pain, knee surgery, knee injuries, sports injuries, meniscus tears and meniscus repairs, as well as osteotomy. He currently practises at the Nuffield Health Newcastle upon Tyne Hospital

Mr Nita, who is also an expert in relation to performing total knee replacements, partial knee replacements, distal femoral osteotomies, cartilage regeneration, as well as knee ligament reconstructions, successfully completed an MBBS and MD in 2003 at the prestigious and renowned Carol Davila Medicine and Pharmacy School in Bucharest, Romania.

He possesses a specialist research interest in young adult joint preservation, correction of deformities through the use of peri-articular osteotomies, as well as outcomes of joint preservation surgery. Notably, Mr Nita undertook a fellowship in lower limb arthroplasty. 

View Profile

Overall assessment of their patients

  • Related procedures
  • Platelet-rich plasma
    Ozone therapy
    Botulinum toxin (Botox™)
    Abnormal gait
    Epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
    Elbow Pain
    Nerve Compression elbow
    Median nerve compression
    Radial nerve compression
    This website uses our own and third-party Cookies to compile information with the aim of improving our services, to show you advertising related to your preferences as well analysing your browsing habits. You can change your settings HERE.