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Knee pain

Sudden knee pain is usually the result of overusing the knee or suddenly injuring it. In many cases, you don't need to see your GP.

Knee pain can often be treated at home. You should start to feel better in a few days. See a GP if the pain is very bad or lasts a long time.

Things you can try

How to ease knee pain and swelling

Try these things at first:

  • put as little weight as possible on the knee – for example, avoid standing for a long time
  • use an ice pack (or bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel) on your knee for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours
  • take paracetamol

When to get medical help

See a GP if:

  • it does not improve within a few weeks
  • you cannot move your knee or put any weight on it
  • your knee locks, painfully clicks or gives way – painless clicking is normal


Common causes of knee pain

Knee pain can be a symptom of many different conditions.

A doctor will suggest treatment based on the condition causing your pain.

They might:

  • refer you to hospital for a scan or specialist treatment (for example, surgery)
  • prescribe medication or physiotherapy

Use these links to get an idea of what can be done about knee pain. But do not self-diagnose – see a GP if you're worried.

Knee pain after an injury

Out of hours call 111