© Oxford Osteopaths 2017  

Knee Pain

At Oxford osteopaths we have experience in diagnosing, treating and managing a full range of knee conditions. We provide advice; exercises and rehabilitation management as well as working with other professionals to ensure you get the best care. 

What Is Knee Pain?

Your knees are one of the most important joints in your body.

We use our knees to walk, run, bend and jump - so if you are experiencing aches and pains in your knee, it can have a big impact on your life.

Knee pain can be caused by a variety of conditions:

  • Anterior knee pain (front of knee)

  • Lateral knee pain

  • Ligament/cartilage injuries

  • Osteoarthritis

Anterior Knee Pain

Anterior knee pain (AKP) is pain in the front of your knee which is very common - it's the second most common musculoskeletal condition after lower back pain. AKP affects an estimated 25 per cent of the population at some point in their lives.

It is usually not related to any significant injury. The pain is usually caused by overusing the joint and repeatedly placing strain on the knee by carrying out repetitive activities such as kneeling, squatting and walking up stairs.

Lateral Knee Pain

Lateral (outer)  knee pain can be caused by several things, but the most common cause is Iliotibial Band Syndrome, an overuse injury due to the Iliotibial band rubbing on the outside of the joint. This pain on the outside of your knee is also called Runner's Knee.

The Iliotibial band, is a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs down the outside of the leg, works in coordination with several of the thigh muscles to provide stability to the knee and to help in flexion of the knee joint.

When irritated, movement of the knee joint becomes painful. Usually the pain worsens with continued movement, and resolves with rest.

Ligament/Cartilage Injuries

Knee ligament injuries are very common and are often sports related, although they can occur from a trauma during everyday activities. The most common are:

  • A sprain/strain - one or more ligaments is overstretched through twisting or pulling

  • A tear - either a partial tear or complete rupture of the muscle

  • Damage to the cartilage in your knee - the cartilage is a crescent-shaped disc called a meniscus, that acts as a 'shock absorber' in your knee

  • This could be caused by an acute injury or trauma or due to a more gradual onset because of deterioration/wear and tear

Ligaments connect one bone to another. The ligaments outside your knee joint are called the medial collateral ligament and the lateral collateral ligament. They provide your knee with stability and limit the amount it can move from side to side.

The medial collateral ligament is strong can be sprained or completely ruptured (torn) if you twist your straightened leg at the same time as being knocked sideways, for example, when being tackled in rugby. 

The ligaments inside your knee joint are called the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the posterior cruciate ligament. These ligaments provide stability to your knee when it is in different positions, particularly in the forward and backward movements of the knee joint. People who sustain an injury to their ACL may complain of symptoms of the knee 'giving out'.


Your knee is like a hinge, cartilage covers the ends of the bones to allow smooth movement when you bend, or straighten it. 

Osteoarthritis is when the cartilage is gradually worn away with age or after injury, mainly at the points of greatest pressure. 

The two surfaces rub against each other - sometimes you can hear or feel it. This can lead to pain, stiffness and loss of movement, swelling and deformity. It can lead to your knees giving way because the muscles around the joint can become weak.