Knee pain: My knee is hurting and I don\’t know why

My inbox has been flooded this week with questions about knee pain.  Ahh the plague of the March injury, knee pain with no know origin.  Most of the phones calls and emails I receive sound the same, \”My knee has been bothering me for the past few weeks and I don\’t know why, I didn\’t do anything.\”  This is very common with knee pain.  The knee unfortunately tends to be a hub for failures at the hip and the ankle and foot.  So it is important to look at these areas also when assessing knee pain.

The warm weather gets people in the mood to run again and so they put on their running shoes and begin to absorb almost 700 times their body weight with each stride they take.  Most people are not fit to run and should be working on their core.  However, once you begin to feel the pain, most likely it is already too late.  Now this obviously doesn\’t apply to everyone, as some people have been training throughout the winter but they still develop knee pain.


The first thing to do with knee pain is to observe it.  Take mental notes or physically write things down.  The things to note is where specifically in the knee does it hurt, when does it hurt, do certain activities make the knee worse or better, note whether the pain is getting better or worse.  These things will help to better determine exactly what is going wrong.  For example, pain in the back of the knee, is generally more muscular or a possible cyst since the majority of what is in the back of the knee is muscle and other tissue.  Physical therapy is usually the best core of treatment for this type of pain since it will involve correcting muscle imbalances through stretching, strengthening and balance training.  For more information on physical therapy services head to

Pain on the sides of the knee is usually more indicative of limagment or meniscus pain.  The pain is usually focused on one side or the other.  This pain generally will not get better on it\’s own.  If it is a tear of the meniscus you should see a doctor and get an MRI.  Meniscus surgery is generally very quick and while it is still surgery, recovery time is minimal.  If it is a ligament that has been sprained then physical therapy will help reduce the inflammation in the area and correct the surrounding imbalances to alleviate the pressure on the knee and the ligaments.


If the pain is in the front of the knee, that is generally indicative of a patella (knee cap) issue.  This could be a number of things from arthritis on the back of the knee cap, to ligament pain, to the patella moving wrong in the track that is supposed to move up and down in.  For these types of pain it is usually a good idea to see a doctor and get an MRI to see if it is something that surgery could help.  Most likely though with this type of pain unless your are ready for a knee replacement, physical therapy is your best option.  With physical therapy, modalities such as heat, ice, ultrasound and electrical stim will be performed to decrease the inflammation.  The manual therapy will be performed to reduce any trigger points in the muscles.  In conjunction with those treatments, exercises will be performed to stretch and strengthen the knee and also help with balance issues.  A few sessions of Kinesiotape may also be needed to help with the recovery.

It needs to be said that the injuries discussed above are only a very MINOR few things that could be going on with the knee.  There are different types of tears, different types of running injuries, different types of ligament and muscle injuries that could be occuring.  It is imperative that you consult a doctor if your knee pain does not go away or intensifies over the course of 2 weeks.  The sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner you can begin treatment and the sooner you will be on your way to healing.

For more information on physical therapy services head to







We’re Hiring!
We Have an Immediate Opening for a Physical Therapist in Harleysville. Resumes Can Be Sent to

Scroll to Top