The pain experienced can be limited to a specific part of the knee, or it can be widespread, affecting the entire knee region and nearby tissues. Left untreated, knee pain may worsen and affect one’s daily routine, reducing one’s quality of life.

Causes of Knee Pain

Knee pain can be caused by a variety of things, including:


Any injury that induces direct trauma to the knees, including torn cartilage, anterior cruciate ligament tear, meniscus tear, dislocation and other sports injuries.

Medical Conditions

Arthritis, considered one of the leading causes of knee pain, manifests in different forms such as gout, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, knee pain may be caused by age-related problems such as bone or cartilage degeneration, and excessive weight and hip or foot pain that may alter gait and place extra stress on the knees.

Overuse Conditions

A common problem with runners and cyclists, patellar tendonitis and patellofemoral pain syndromes occur with the repetition of the same movements. Other sports-related injuries may also contribute to knee pain.


The location and severity of knee pain depend on its cause, but are often accompanied by some of these signs:

  • Swelling, redness and soreness of knee
  • Inability to extend or straighten the knee, or locking of the knee
  • Popping/crunching sounds when knee is bent
  • Limping or difficulty walking

Diagnoses & Treatment

An accurate diagnosis of knee pain allows an orthopaedic surgeon to prescribe an effective treatment. Usually, the orthopaedic surgeon will conduct a physical examination to evaluate your condition. The doctor may also request imaging tests like an X-ray, CT scan and MRI to inspect the condition more thoroughly, especially if degenerative joint diseases or fractures are suspected. Lab tests are done for conditions such as gout.

In mild cases, home remedies like the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and physiotherapy may be all that is needed. However, in more severe cases, surgery may be needed to restore mobility and function to the knee.

Surgical Treatments

Arthroscopic Surgery

This is a procedure in which an arthroscope—a lighted, tubular endoscope attached with a camera and other microsurgical instruments—is inserted into the knee or joint via small incisions. Arthroscopy allows the orthopaedic surgeon to view the inside of the knee from the outside. It is a minimally invasive way to repair and reconstruct damaged cartilage and ligaments, and remove loose tissues or bone.

Partial Knee Replacement

Also known as unicompartmental arthroplasty, this knee replacement procedure involves removing the most damaged parts of the knee and replacing it with metal or plastic components. It is typically done through small incisions, resulting in reduced pain and a faster recovery time.

Total Knee Replacement

This is a major operation where the entire damaged knee joint, as well as the tissues surrounding it, is removed and replaced with an artificial metal-plastic joint. Because of the more invasive nature of the procedure, the recovery time is longer.


  • Maintain a healthy weight and physically active lifestyle
  • Engage in weight training and knee-strengthening exercises
  • Warm up and cool down before and after workouts
  • Wear proper-fitting shoes
  • Wear protective equipment when engaging in contact sports

FAQs on Knee Pain

  • How do I know if my knee pain is serious?

    Knee pain is typically considered serious when it is severe and disabling, usually caused by direct trauma or an accident, and is accompanied by redness, swelling or tenderness in the knee. Visit a Singapore knee surgery centre if the knee pain persists or worsens.

  • When should you not ignore knee pain?

    Knee surgeons in Singapore encourage anyone experiencing knee pain to seek medical attention for prompt treatment. Other indications that knee pain should not be ignored is when there is swelling, pain when walking, sitting, sleeping or exercising, and when the knee joint clicks, locks or pops.

  • How should I sleep with knee pain?

    To help alleviate the pain, knee surgeons advise patients to sleep with a pillow between the knees (if sleeping on their sides) or under the knees (if sleeping on their back). Propping up a bent knee on a pillow is discouraged as this can make it difficult to unbend the leg in the morning.

  • Why is knee pain worse at night?

    According to some Singapore knee surgeons, knee pain seems to be worse at night possibly because of the lowered production of cortisol (an anti-inflammatory hormone) at night. Additionally, staying in the same position for a long period of time stiffens up the joint. Not being engaged in any other activity during that time can also make one more likely to notice pain.

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