Serving all people by providing personalized health and wellness through exemplary care, education and research.
Explore health content from A to Z.
I need information about...
Return to Index
Pain in the knee
Causes of Knee Pain
Arthritis (e.g., degenerative, gouty, infectious, inflammatory, traumatic)
Baker's Cyst (popliteal cyst): This is a fluid collection in a cyst that bulges out from the knee joint. Symptoms include painful or painless swelling in the area behind the knee.
Bursitis: Prepatellar bursitis is a fluid filled sack localized on the inferior aspect of the anterior knee.
Overuse injury, tendonitis
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (chondromalacia patellae)
Trauma (e.g., contusion, dislocation, fracture, sprain, strain)
Some Signs and Symptoms That Could be SERIOUS
Severe pain and unable to walk
Knee swelling with fever (possibility of infection of knee joint)
Unilateral calf pain and/or swelling (possibility of blood clot in leg)
Knee pain after a KNEE INJURY
You feel weak or very sick
Severe pain (can't stand or walk)
Fever and swollen knee joint
Redness of skin around knee
Pain or swelling in one calf
You think you need to be seen
You have other questions or concerns
Swollen knee joint
Fluid-filled sack just below knee cap
Symptoms interfere with work or school
Knee pain persists longer than 7 days
Knee pain is a recurrent problem
Knee giving way (or buckling) when walking, is a recurrent problem
Knee locking (i.e., joint gets stuck, catching), is a recurrent problem
Mild knee pain and you don't think you need to be seen
Knee Pain after Overuse: Muscle strain and joint irritation are very common following vigorous activity. Such activities include sports like tennis and basketball, jogging, and certain types of work.
Local Cold: Apply a cold pack or ice bag (wrapped in a moist towel) to the area for 20 minutes. Repeat in 1 hour, then every 4 hours while awake. Continue this for the first 48 hours after an overuse injury (Reason: reduce the swelling and pain).
Local Heat: Beginning 48 hours after an injury, apply a warm washcloth or heating pad for 10 minutes three times a day to help increase circulation and improve healing.
Rest Your Knee for the next couple days. Avoid activities that worsen your pain. Reduce activities that put a lot of strain on the knee joint (e.g., deep knee bends, stair climbing, running).
For pain relief, take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
Acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol):
Take 650 mg by mouth every 4-6 hours. Each Regular Strength Tylenol pill has 325 mg of acetaminophen.
Another choice is to take 1,000 mg every 8 hours. Each Extra Strength Tylenol pill has 500 mg of acetaminophen.
The most you should take each day is 3,000 mg.
Ibuprofen (e.g., Motrin, Advil):
Take 400 mg by mouth every 6 hours.
Another choice is to take 600 mg by mouth every 8 hours.
Use the lowest amount that makes your pain feel better.
Naproxen (e.g., Aleve):
Take 250-500 mg by mouth every 12 hours.
Acetaminophen is thought to be safer than ibuprofen or naproxen in people over 65 years old. Acetaminophen is in many OTC and prescription medicines. It might be in more than one medicine that you are taking. You need to be careful and not take an overdose. An acetaminophen overdose can hurt the liver.
Caution: Do not take acetaminophen if you have liver disease.
Caution: Do not take ibuprofen or naproxen if you have stomach problems, kidney disease, are pregnant, or have been told by your doctor to avoid this type of medicine. Do not take ibuprofen or naproxen for more than 7 days without consulting your doctor.
Before taking any medicine, read all the instructions on the package
Expected Course: If your knee pain does not get better during the next week or if it recurs, then you should make an appointment with your doctor.
Call Your Doctor If:
You become worse
Copyright © 2017 Baylor Scott & White Health. All Rights Reserved. |
3500 Gaston Ave., Dallas, TX 75246-2017 | 1.800.4BAYLOR