Is Your Knee Pain Actually Caused by a Knee Problem?

As the largest joint in your body, your knee is a crucial mechanism for support and movement. However, this makes the knee the most frequently injured of joints in the body, leaving the majority of us to experience knee pain at some point in our lives.

Straining or spraining the structures of the knee, gradual wear or experiencing a tear are common injuries involving the knee cap, cartilage and surrounding tissues. Though in many cases knee pain occurs through sporting or other activities concerning the joint itself, there are several causes which may not actually be attributed to a knee problem.

If you’re suffering from knee pain and it’s impacting on your daily routine or is a chronic problem, an osteopath can work to identify the root of the problem and advise you on exercises or further necessary treatment, helping you regain your normal lifestyle. We’ve listed some of the causes for knee pain and symptoms below to help you understand the cause of your pain.

How the knee works

The knee joint is at the front of the knee cap, between the femur and tibia bones. The joint is connected to the bones by ligaments and also comprises of muscle, membrane, capsule and two pieces of cartilage called the menisci. If there is a problem with the joint or knee cap, you may experience an ache or pain, as well as swelling, stiffness or a locking of the joint. You may have difficulty bending or straightening the knee fully.

However, besides the knee itself there are other culprits for these symptoms:


Arthritis is a chronic condition affecting the joints and may cause knee pain, swelling and stiffness. It may also cause alignment issues with the knee or problems in relation to other joints. The three most common types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, and osteoarthritis.


Nerves located in your back drive the muscles that surround your knees. If you are suffering from nerve irritation, these muscles might not be working properly and could damage the knee joint. You might also find that you have a tightness or pain in your hamstrings, which could again be caused by problem nerves in the back. Lower back problems might also account for your knee pain. Any pain you’re experiencing in your back could be transferred to your knee due to the nerves of the lower spine shooting down to the knee.


Feet rolling inward due to unsupported footwear, or injured or damaged muscles on the outside of the foot, may cause a misalignment or tilting that affects the knee. You may have a bunion or spur as a sign of a foot problem, and if you’re experiencing knee pain as well, you should see an osteopath.

Hips and thighs

For people with wider hips, the thigh muscles may be set at a wider angle. The increased angle could cause misalignment issues or wear in the knee structures. An increased angle can also occur if your legs begin to bow inwards.

Treating your knee pain

Osteopaths aim to align the body as a whole, using their hands to manipulate, massage or stretch the affected area and related parts of the body. We are highly trained to be able to identify any problems to help relieve pain and reduce swelling. We take on a tailored approach to ensure that you’re comfortable throughout our diagnosis and we can recommend the best treatment or additional help to suit your needs. Ultimately we can help to alleviate your knee pain and improve the mobility and function of the knee joint. To arrange for an appointment with our professionals, you can call us on 0121 705 4499.