How can I reduce my knee pain without medication?

Doctor's Answers 2

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Dr Henry Chan

Orthopaedic Surgeon

First of all, we need to find out why you are having persistent knee pain in the first place.

Without finding out the cause, your knee pain will never be resolved and you will have to keep taking strong painkillers like NSAIDs continuously for a prolonged period of time. That's when you might suffer from serious side effects such as kidneys damage, stomach ulcers or heart problem.

Knee pain is so common that it happens to almost everyone at some point of time. However, if the knee pain don't go away within 1-2 weeks, these pains may not be the usual “strain” or “muscle pull”. I have listed down some signs and symptoms that you should look out for. These are the "red flags" that might indicate potential serious knee issues:

1. Associated swelling in the knee - All joint swelling are abnormal, if you noticed that your knees swells up after an injury, or you noticed intermittent swelling of your knee, something is definitely wrong with your knee - the ligament or the meniscus could be torn.

2. Sense of instability - You feel that your knee is “loose” or giving way when you trying to change direction rapidly or when you trying to go around a corner/staircase. This means that the ligament could have been torn.

3. Locking - You cannot straighten your knee fully. This means that the meniscus could be torn and trapped inside the joint, preventing it from straightening fully.

4. Persistent pain beyond 1-2 weeks - This might indicate that there may have been a concomitant damage to the cartilage or even the underlying bone

There are also some less serious causes of knee pain such as tendon inflammation. Simple muscle pull/ strain or tendon inflammation responds very well with rest, anti-inflammation medication and physiotherapy (with adjuvant therapy such as Ultrasound treatment, Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimuation (TENS).

However, the more serious knee issues such as meniscus tear/ ligament rupture/ cartilage ulcer might require surgical intervention. So you can see that there are many possible causes of the knee pain, it will be best to see an Orthopaedic Surgeon for a consultation to find out what is the exact cause of your persistent knee pain rather than just popping strong painkillers non stop.

We will take a detailed history of your knee pain and perform a thorough clinical examination of your knee, together with advanced imaging technology such as MRI scan, we will be able to pin point
what is the cause of your persistent knee pain and provide you with a long term solution to your knee pain.

Many people like you don’t like taking medication, not do they want injection or an operation.

Options for non-medical treatments include

1. Physiotherapy

2. A gait analysis +\- Orthoses

3. Acupuncture


As Dr Henry mentions, the important first step is assessment and deduction of what is going on. This can be done from a surgical perspective or by a physiotherapist, sports/MSK physician or podiatrist.


Dr Dinesh

Similar Questions

How can a frequent runner with knee pain heal his knee?

I’m in awe of your dad! Kudos to him for his commitment to keeping fit and healthy. If only the rest of our population could do that – we would certainly have much fewer people in hospital. In the absence of any other information leading up to his knee injury (ie did he suffer any knee trauma, suffer a fall while running, hear a pop and twist his knee etc), his injury sound like it’s training volume-related, or an overuse injury – he’s clocked up quite a lot of miles, and it seems like even with his injury, he hasn’t actually held off with his training.

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What can I do about knee pain that occurs during jogging?

Thanks you for your question and although you can bear the pain, I can understand your concern. As Dr Sean has mentioned, there can be many different causes for knee pain and further information is needed to advise you more specifically. Things to consider are: 1. How long the pain has been troubling you? 2. Where in the knee is the pain? 3. How soon after running does it come on? 4. How long does the pain last for? 5.

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Answered By

Dr Dinesh Sirisena

Sport Medicine

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