Knee pain

Medical Specialties: Orthopedics, Physical medicine & rehab, Surgery

Clinical Definition

The knee is a complex pivotal hinge joint made up of bones, ligaments, cartilage and muscles. Knee pain is a common symptom in both children and adults. The knee joint is at the junction of the fibula, tibia and patella. Menisci separate the bones of the knees. The knee capsule encases the knee joint and is lined with synovium. Any component of the knee is subject to injury or a disease process, which can result in pain.  

In Our Own Words

Knee pain is a very common symptom affecting people of all ages. The knee is a joint often susceptible to pain and injury because it has a lot of stress placed on it from activities, such as kneeling, running and lifting. The knee anatomy is also complex and is made up of several parts. The kneecap, shin and thigh bone all form the knee. Each of the bones are covered with cartilage to protect the knee.  Ligaments and tendons also are part of the knee anatomy.


Knee problems, potentially painful, can be a result of injury to any part of the knee anatomy. Continued wear and tear on the knee joint may also cause knee pain. Common causes of knee pain include osteoarthritis, sprains and inflammation of the knee tendons.   

Relevant Conditions
Side Effects
  • Pain
  • Limping (may occur)
  • Swelling
Share this article
  • The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “Knee Pain.” Accessed September 2013.
  • American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. “Runner’s Knee (Patellofemoral Pain).” Accessed September 2013.
  • American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. “Common Knee Injuries.” Accessed September 2013.
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