Knee pain treatment in Essex Skip to main content

Knee pain in Essex

Fast access to treatment for knee pain in essex

Knee pain is an extremely common problem in a wide range of ages.

While knee pain is often not a sign of something serious, if it persists for more than a few days, you should consult a specialist to ensure that a treatable cause is not missed.

If you are having trouble with one or both of your knees, especially if the pain is getting worse or stopping you from doing the things that you love, this article may help.

This page will take a closer look at the symptoms, and causes of knee pain, as well as treatment options available for knee pain at Circle Health Group’s Southend Private Hospital.

If you seek help with your knee pain at Southend Private Hospital, you can be assured of a first-class service.

From meeting one of our knee pain experts in our bespoke outpatient suite through to treatment and ongoing support, you will be met with compassion, care and dignity.

“Treatment is tailored to the patient, which is very important.”

Mr Chatenya Chauhan, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Southend Private Hospital

To understand the cause of your knee pain, it is first useful to have some knowledge of how the knee joint is constructed.

The knee is the largest joint in your body. It is formed where three bones meet: the bottom of your thigh bone (femur), the top of your shinbone (tibia) and the underside of your kneecap (patella).

Your knee joint is held together by ligaments, of which there are two kinds in your knee:

  • Collateral ligaments are found on either side of your knee. They control side to side movement and stop your knee from sliding sideways
  • Cruciate ligaments are so-called because they form an ‘X’ shape inside your knee joint. They work to stop the surfaces of your knee from sliding backwards and forwards over each other

Cartilage is an essential component of the joint. It allows smooth movement and maintains the joint space. The cartilage comes in two forms:

  • Articular cartilage is found on the surfaces of the joint that move over each other. It allows for low friction movement and ensures that your bones do not get damaged by rubbing together
  • The medial and lateral meniscus cartilages are wedges that are found at either side of your knee joint, acting as shock absorbers during movement

For some people, pain in their knee might be their only symptom. For others, it may be associated with other problems.

When the pain is felt

How the pain is experienced varies considerably between people. For some, it is often worse first thing in the morning, then gets better as the knee is used.

For others, the pain gets worse as activities are undertaken. You may find that there are particular movements that worsen or relieve your pain.

Where the pain is felt

The underlying cause of your pain will determine where you experience the discomfort.

Some people will feel it on the skin overlying the knee, for others it will be inside the knee joint or under the kneecap.

Swelling

You may find that your knee swells up immediately after you experience pain.

This could be a sign of an injury in your joint. If this is the case you should strongly consider consulting a specialist to ensure that there is no immediate treatment required.

Difficulty standing or walking

In addition to the pain, you may find that you are unable to move. While this could be due to a sprain or strain in an acute injury, if the difficulty persists, it could be evidence of damage within your joint.

Difficulty going up or down stairs

These movements put stress on your different muscles, tendons, and ligaments and you may find one much worse than the other.

Locking of your knee

This occurs when you are suddenly unable to move the knee, as if it has become stuck mid-movement.

While there can be other causes of this symptom, it can indicate that one of the meniscal cartilages in your knee has been torn. If this has not been previously investigated you should visit a knee pain specialist to diagnose the cause and see if treatment is needed.

Inability to fully straighten your knee

This can either be due to pain and swelling from an injury, or because there is an obstruction that prevents the joint from moving through the full range of motion.

If you find that this has not settled after a short period of reduced activity then it should be investigated.

If you choose to see one of our knee pain experts at the Circle Health Group, they will take a detailed history of your pain, including when it started, what makes it worse or better, how it has changed over time and if there are any associated symptoms.

As well as asking about the pain and your medical history, our experts take the time to get to know you and find out what you really want from your knee pain treatment.

Whether you are a world-class athlete or simply want to be able to play with your grandchildren, our specialists really care about getting you back to what you love.

As well as asking about your symptoms, our specialists will conduct a detailed examination of your knee, including movements and seeing how it is affected by walking.

There are a number of different tests that a specialist might choose to help them diagnose the cause of your knee pain and decide how to manage it.

X-ray

A plain x-ray of your knee can be a good first choice investigation. It is fast to perform and, with the eyes of a specialist, is useful for picking up significant injuries, especially to your bone. They can also be used to track changes in your knee joint by taking x-rays spread out over time.

Advanced imaging

Depending on your symptoms, your knee pain expert may want to get other images taken of your knee. These could be with a CT scanner, which uses x-rays to take detailed scans of your knee from all angles.

They could also get an MRI scan, which is a specialised machine that uses magnetism to take images. It is especially good at looking for damage to the soft tissue structures of your knee.

Blood tests

If appropriate, your specialist might want to perform blood tests to check for evidence of infection, measure the function of organs such as the kidneys or liver, or check how well your blood clots.

There are a variety of causes of knee pain, and the only way to be certain of what is causing your discomfort is to consult a specialist.

“Getting advice early is important,” says Mr Chatenya Chauhan, a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Southend Private Hospital.

Acute injury

Whether from athletic activity or an accident, injury to the knee can be a cause of significant pain and disability. Damage to the knee can include:

  • Minor injuries: including strains and sprains, which usually improve with reduced activity
  • Cartilage damage: most commonly to the meniscal cartilage inside the knee joint
  • Ligament tears
  • Bone fractures

Chronic injury/overuse

These forms of injuries are usually not sudden, but come on over time, especially if the activity that is causing pain is continued. Some examples are:

  • Tendonitis: inflammation and pain associated with the tendons that attach muscles to bone
  • Bursitis: irritation and swelling of fluid-filled sacs around the knee
  • Patello-femoral pain syndrome: discomfort behind or around your kneecap. It is often brought on by running, cycling or climbing stairs, and can be treated with a controlled program of physiotherapy

Medical causes

There are a number of medical conditions that are characterised by pain from the knee joint.

  • Osteoarthritis: often called ‘wear and tear’, and is common as we age. It gives rise to pain and stiffness in one or both knees. Pain from osteoarthritis is often worse towards the end of the day
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: an inflammatory disease that can affect multiple joints. It may well need to be treated with medication
  • Joint infection: this may present as a hot, swollen, painful knee. You may have a high temperature. If this is the case you should seek medical attention immediately

Anyone can get knee pain during the course of their lives, and there are a wide variety of possible causes. There are two distinct groups of patients.

The younger athlete

If you take part in sports multiple times a week or compete to a high level, then this may be you. Common causes of knee pain in this group relate to acute injuries to muscles, ligaments and cartilage.

For some people, particularly if they have been taking part in high impact sports for some time, there may be evidence of osteoarthritis in the knee joint.

Your specialist will work with you to diagnose the cause of your knee pain and ensure that they understand the outcomes that you want from your knee pain treatment.

The older patient with knee pain

Osteoarthritis is much more common in this group. If after a lifetime of being active you start to find that knee pain is slowing you down, then this may be the cause.

Your specialist will help come to a diagnosis for your pain and also take the time to discover what it is that is important to you from your treatment, whether it is reducing your pain or getting you back to an activity that you love.

“It is rewarding to see a patient who was immobile get back to the golf course.”

– Mr Chatenya Chauhan, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

The treatment plan that you and your specialist devise will very much depend on the cause of your knee pain.

Treatments can include:

  • Painkillers: if simple over-the-counter pain relief are not helping your knee pain, your specialist may decide to prescribe stronger medications
  • Physiotherapy: guided exercises can help strengthen the muscles around the joint and rehabilitate from injury
  • Injections into the joint: for certain conditions injections of painkillers, anti-inflammatories or chemicals such as hyaluronic acid may be appropriate.
  • Platelet-rich plasma injections: These injections harness your body's natural healing abilities to reduce knee problems. Your consultant will be able to tell you more about this relatively new treatment
  • Keyhole surgery (arthroscopy): this can be used to see inside the joint to help diagnose the cause of pain, or to correct problems such as torn cartilage or damaged ligaments
  • Knee replacement (arthroplasty): where the damage is more extensive, a specialist may recommend replacing the joint with an artificial one made from metal and plastic

If you find that your knee pain has been coming on gradually and is affecting your daily life, then you may need to see a specialist.

If your knee pain has come on relatively suddenly, for instance after exercise, then there are a few things you can try first:

  • Reduce your activity level temporarily, but do not stop all activity for more than 24-48 hours
  • Take simple painkillers such as paracetamol, especially if they will allow you to keep moving
  • Avoid heavy lifting
  • Try some gentle, low-impact exercise such as swimming or cycling

If after a few days your pain is still there, or is getting worse, you should get the opinion of a knee pain specialist.

If you have sudden knee pain after an injury to your leg, or you are unable to walk, you should be assessed by an expert.

Knee pain is an extremely common condition that will affect many of us during our lifetime.

Causes can range from acute injuries to chronic damage. If knee pain is affecting your life or stopping you from doing things that are important to you, then seek the advice of one of our knee pain experts at Southend Private Hospital.

We will take the time to truly understand what is causing your pain, and what we can do to get you back doing what you love.

Southend Private Hospital has several experts in the management of knee pain. If you choose to visit us we will ensure that we understand what it is that you most need from your tailored treatment with us.

You will see one of our experts in our modern, private consulting rooms. Both standard and advanced knee imaging technologies are available on-site to ensure that your diagnosis can be made as soon as possible.

Two state-of-the-art operating theatres are available should you need a procedure, and our expert physiotherapy department is on hand to help with exercises and rehabilitation.

How to find us

Southend Private Hospital can be found at 15-17 Fairfax Drive, Westcliff on Sea, Essex, SS0 9AG.

Book an appointment online today or call us at 01702 662923.

Content reviewed by Mr Chatenya Chauhan in August 2022. Next review due August 2025.

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