Why does my knee hurt?

May 9, 2018

Why does the front of my knee hurt and why doesn’t it get better?

Anterior (front) knee pain is a common complaint that we see in the clinic across all ages. Whilst a percentage of knee pain is due to an acute injury such as a strain/sprain, there is a large proportion of knees that just start to hurt. This blog post will explore some of the common reasons that knees start to hurt in a younger to middle age population, and why they often don’t seem to just get better with rest.

Why does it hurt?

The two most common pathologies of atraumatic (no specific injury) anterior knee pain are:

  • Patellofemoral pain.
  • Patella tendinopathy.

Less common pathologies include:

  • Osgood-Schlatter in adolescents.
  • Infra patella fat pad impingement.
  • Bursitis – both infrapatellar and pre-patella.
  • Quadriceps tendinopathy.
  • Stress fractures of patella.
  • Iliotibial band pain.
  • Referred pain from the hip.


We will expand on the two most common conditions in the next two weeks.  However, if your knee pain is persisting, we recommend visiting your physiotherapist to make an accurate diagnosis and devising an appropriate management plan.


Why isn’t it getting better?

The causes of knee pain vary from person-to-person, but often they are related to the load placed on the knee, movement deficiencies, and/or muscle imbalances.

If you don’t address the factors which are contributing to your knee pain, then it generally doesn’t get better with rest.  Consulting with your physiotherapist who can thoroughly assess and address each of these causes is essential to get you back on track and prevent it recurring.

Symptoms often subside after a couple of weeks of treatment, and you can be tempted to stop rehabilitation and return to your sport/work before you’re ready.  However, a comprehensive rehabilitation program which addresses strength and control deficits can take months. It’s important for your physio to guide and progress your rehabilitation program as appropriate to prevent ongoing issues.