What are the treatment options for knee problems?

Written by: Mr Akash Patel
Published: | Updated: 13/11/2023
Edited by: Conor Lynch

Top Doctors recently had the chance to speak with leading consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon, Mr Akash Patel. Here, in this article below, Mr Patel tells us how knee problems can best be prevented, and outlines the main treatment options for patients suffering with knee issues.

What are the most common symptoms of knee problems?

The most common symptoms of knee problems include pain, stiffness, swelling, catching, clicking, locking, giving way, and difficulty bearing weight on the knee.


How can knee problems be prevented?

Preventing knee problems involves maintaining good knee health and reducing the risk of injuries. Here are some tips for prevention:


1. Maintain a healthy weight: excess weight puts added stress on the knees, increasing the risk of knee problems, especially osteoarthritis.

2. Stay active: regular exercise helps strengthen the muscles around the knee, providing better support and reducing the risk of injury. Low-impact activities like swimming and cycling can be knee-friendly.

3. Warm-up and cool down: proper warm-up and stretching before exercise, and cooling down afterward, can help prevent strain and injuries.

4. Use proper footwear: wear shoes that provide good support and cushioning, especially when participating in sports or activities that involve running or jumping.

5. Avoid overuse: don't overexert your knees with repetitive high-impact activities. Give your knees time to rest and recover.

6. Strengthen muscles: Incorporate strength training exercises that target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles to support knee stability.

7. Maintain flexibility: stretch regularly to maintain good joint flexibility and prevent stiffness.

8. Use proper technique: if you're involved in sports or physical activities, learn and use correct techniques to minimize the risk of injuries.

9. Be cautious with high-impact sports: activities like basketball or football can put stress on the knees. Be mindful of your movements and take precautions.

10. Listen to your body: if you experience pain or discomfort in your knees, don't ignore it. Seek medical advice and address any issues promptly to prevent them from worsening.


Remember, individual factors like genetics can also play a role in knee health, so some issues may be unavoidable.


What are the main causes of knee pain?

Knee pain can be caused by various factors and underlying conditions. Some of the main causes of knee pain include:


  • Osteoarthritis: the most common cause of knee pain. It is a degenerative joint disease that results in the breakdown of cartilage in the knee joint. 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: an autoimmune disease that can affect the knees and other joints, causing pain and inflammation. 
  • ACL, MCL, OR PCL tears, meniscus tears, fractures, and injuries, that can all result from accidents, sports injuries, or falls. 
  • Tendonitis: inflammation of the tendons around the knee, often due to overuse or repetitive motions. 
  • Bursitis: inflammation of the bursae (small fluid-filled sacs) around the knee joint, which can be caused by repetitive movements or trauma. 
  • Runner's knee: characterised by pain in the front of the knee, often associated with running and jumping. 
  • Gout: a type of arthritis that can lead to sudden and severe knee pain due to the build-up of uric acid crystals in the joint. 
  • Infections: in rare cases, knee pain can be caused by an infection in the joint. 
  • Tumours: though rare, bone tumours can lead to knee pain. 
  • Overuse and wear and tear: ageing and prolonged stress on the knee joint can lead to general wear and tear, resulting in knee pain. 
  • Hip and spine pain: pain in the knee can be referred from hip and spine problems. 


How is the cause of a knee problem diagnosed?

Taking a full history, knee examination and organising investigations can help to diagnose knee problems. The most common tests include X-rays, MRI scans, CT scans, and ultrasound scans.


How are knee problems treated?

The treatment depends on the cause. Options include non-surgical and surgical treatments. Non-operative measures include painkillers, physiotherapy, activity modification, lifestyle changes, heat/ice packs, knee braces, weight loss and injections. The most common surgical options include arthroscopy (keyhole surgery), specific ligament/cartilage/knee cap procedures and knee replacements.


If you’re interested in booking an appointment with Mr Akash Patel, head on over to his Top Doctors profile today. 

By Mr Akash Patel
Orthopaedic surgery

Mr Akash Patel is a consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon based in London, who specialises in knee arthroscopies, meniscus repair and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) alongside sports injuries, hip osteoarthritis and osteoarthritis of the knee. He privately practices at St John & St Elizabeth Hospital, the Royal Free Hospital - Private Patient Unit and BMI The Kings Oak Hospital as well as The Wellington Hospital. His NHS base is the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

Mr Patel, who is double-fellowship trained, prides himself in providing the best-possible outcomes for his patients while using evidence-based technologies and enhanced recovery techniques. He also utilises innovative, non-invasive treatments for management of hip and knee disorders including biologics (PRP) and bracing.

Mr Patel is highly qualified and double-fellowship trained. He graduated from University College London (UCL) with an MBBS (2005) and a BSc (Hons) in Neuroscience. Following this, he undertook trauma and orthopaedic training on the Imperial Northwest London rotation. Towards the end of his training, he was awarded various fellowships including international ones in locations including Australia, Switzerland and South Africa. Mr Patel also has an MSc in Evidence-Based Orthopaedics from Warwick University.

Complementing his prestigious and well-earned clinical and academic career, Mr Patel is an Associate Professor at University College London and an honorary senior lecturer for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Furthermore, his keen interest in advanced orthopaedic training for all healthcare professionals is reflected in his roles as an advanced trauma life support instructor for the Royal College of Surgeons of England and director for multiple national orthopaedic masterclass surgical training courses. 

Mr Patel has written various research papers that have been published in peer-reviewed journals, is a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (England) and underwent prestigious specialist fellowships at Royal Berkshire and Royal Free London Hospitals. 

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