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Inner Knee Pain: All You Need To Know

Knee pain can be downright frustrating. It can make you dread stairs and miss out on the activities you love to do, and sometimes it can cause issues elsewhere in your body. So, what can you do about it? 

Pain that presents on the inside part of your knee, also known as medial knee pain, is common when it comes to knee discomfort. There are multiple reasons why inner knee pain can occur. The cause may be simple, the symptoms mild, and the issue may resolve itself or with minimal attention. Other times, the pain can persist or become severe, in which case assessment, investigation, and treatment may be appropriate.  

Your knee does a lot for you. That is why it is important to seek guidance and treatment if inner knee pain is a significant, long lasting, or reoccurring issue for you. Find out what may be the cause and how our physiotherapists can help you. 


What Part Of My Knee Is Causing My Inner Knee Pain? 

Your knee is a complex entity. It consists of tendons, ligaments, bones, and cartilage. Subsequently, there are several elements that can be affected and cause discomfort in the knee region. 

Specific to inner knee pain, the following parts may be to blame: 

  • Cartilage such as the chondral cartilage and menisci, which are shock-absorbing cartilage that sit between the thigh and shin bones.
  • Ligaments, such as the medial and lateral collateral ligaments.
  • Bursa, which are thin sacs that decrease friction and provide a cushioning effect between the tendons and bones.  
  • Plica, which is where the thin tissue lining the joint folds.


Possible Causes Of Inner Knee Pain

If you are experiencing inner knee pain, and possibly some associated stiffness, swelling and reduced functionality, one of the following issues may be the cause.



Because our knees do so much for us, many people develop osteoarthritis. The hard cartilage that covers the bones in the joint wears away. This means that the bones are more exposed and are able to rub against each other. This may happen because of factors such as injury, genetics, infection, or being overweight. 

Along with pain and aching, especially when walking, climbing stairs, sitting down or standing up, symptoms can include warmth at the site and a creaking noise when you move your knee. If the degeneration involves the medial joint compartment, inner knee pain can result. 


Chondral Injury 

One part of the cartilage in the knee joint is called the chondral cartilage. This can be damaged in an injury or wear and tear. Symptoms can include sharp pain upon twisting actions in the leg and knee or after prolonged walking, swelling, and stiffness.


Plica Syndrome 

When the plica becomes thick, pain can be present on the inner side of the knee, especially when using stairs, kneeling, or squatting. This can occur due to overuse or sudden impact injuries.



When a bursa becomes irritated and fills with fluid, the knee can become inflamed and swollen. This can result in inner knee pain, stiffness, tenderness, and redness. Repetition and overuse injuries can cause this issue.


Medial Collateral Ligament Or Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury 

Though the ligaments in the knee are strong and create stability, they can be damaged in an event such as trauma or a sudden impact during contact sport. The ligaments can be sprained due to overstretching or a tear can occur. If one of these ligaments is torn, partially or completely, you may experience sharp inner knee pain, swelling, instability, a locking joint, or a popping sound. 


Medial Meniscus Tear 

A torn meniscus can result in sharp inner knee pain when rotating or twisting the joint or leg and a popping sound or sensation. The four main meniscus tear types are degenerative, radial, bucket handle, and flap tears. Tears can occur due to severe pressure or impact, or wear and tear. 


Physiotherapy Treatment For Inner Knee Pain 

Seeking assessment, diagnosis, and treatment can be crucial in improving certain knee issues. Treatment options depend on the cause of the problem. Physiotherapy can be beneficial for a variety of knee conditions and injuries.  Methods for treatment may include: 

  • Cold or heat therapy. 
  • Rest.
  • Elevation of the affected leg.
  • Compression bandage or strapping.
  • Aids, such as crutches or a brace.
  • Temporary use of pain relief medication.
  • Manual and physical therapy. 
  • Physio-prescribed exercises and stretches.
  • Ultrasound therapy.
  • Advice for reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. 


NDPE Physios Can Help Inner Knee Pain  

Knee pain can cause significant issues. If you are experiencing pain that is interfering with daily life, seeking assistance can be beneficial to rule out serious issues and gain treatment to help you find relief and better mobility. 

Make an appointment with a physio at NDPE to find out how we can help you with your inner knee pain.


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Northern Districts Physiotherapy

Northern Districts Physiotherapy & Sports Clinic was established in 1995 and consists of an energetic team of highly qualified and experienced professionals who take the time to understand ...


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