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Knee Pain

How does the knee work?

The knee is the largest joint in your body.

It is made up of four main things: bones, ligaments, cartilage and tendons. The knee bends and straightens and has a small amount of rotation to allow for day to day activities.




Common causes of knee pain?

Most of the time there is a very simple explanation for knee pain.

If you’ve overdone it while exercising pain is usually caused by strained or inflamed soft tissues, such as joint surface or tendons and it often clears up within a few days to weeks.

As you get older, pain in your knee can flare up now and again, often for no reason. 

If you have previously had a partial or full knee replacement and have developed new or unusual knee pain several years after having the operation please arrange an appointment to discuss with your GP. 

If you have fallen or twisted your knee

If you’ve fallen and/or twisted your knee and it becomes immediately swollen, your knee has locked (your unable to move it at all because it is stuck) and you're finding it difficult to put weight on your leg you may need to see a doctor. 

You should urgently call 111 who will triage if you need urgent care, as there is a small possibility of a bone or ligament injury

How to ease knee pain yourself

It can take 4 to 6 weeks to recover fully from hip pain.


  • engage regularly with physical activity as pain levels allow  
  • move your knee gently for 10 to 20 seconds every hour when you are awake
  • use pain relief so you can keep moving - try painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen, and heat or cold packs

Exercises for Knee Pain (pdf document)



  • do not completely rest- this can slow the healing process
  • do not do things that seem to make it worse
  • do not make up your own strenuous exercises



Referral to Occupational Health

If you have not seen improvement in your symptoms after following the advice above, you may require further assessment. You should refer to Occupational Health if:

  • the pain doesn't improve after 3-4 weeks
  • you have tried gentle exercises
  • you are finding it difficult to manage work
  • you feel you require support and guidance of a physiotherapist


We provide a confidential service to all staff and deliver specialist occupational health advice to management.


Opening Times: Monday - Friday 09.00 - 17.00

Occupational Health Service
1st Floor Denbigh House
University Hospital of Wales
Heath Park
CF14 4XW
Tel: 029 2074 3264 (43264 from an internal phone)