knee pain

Knee Pain

What is Knee Pain?

The knee is a complex joint that consists of many moving parts, which makes it more prone to injury. There are many causes of knee pain. The most common causes are overuse, injuries, and arthritis. Knee pain can develop at any age, however elderly people are more prone to developing knee pain due to degeneration of the knee joint, also known as osteoarthritis.

Common Symptoms

Symptoms of knee pain range from a sharp pain, burning pain or a dull ache that can occur at the anterior, posterior, medial, or lateral side of the knee or on top of the knee cap. Pain can be triggered by running, kneeling, squatting, climbing stairs, or sitting. Knee pain may also be associated with other symptoms such as: a popping sound when moving the knee joint, locked knees, swelling of the leg and knee, cramps in the leg and calf muscle, or dislocation of the knee joint.

Knee Pain

Diagnosis and Treatment

Minor knee pain is quite common and can get better with self-treatment at home. The most common home remedy for treating knee pain is the RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

However, if knee pain does not improve with self-treatment after several days, it is advisable to consult with your doctor. Knee pain that is caused by a fracture, a broken bone or torn ligament or cartilage may require surgery to repair the injury.

Proper diagnosis and addressing the root cause of knee pain can help reduce the time for recovery and prevent knee pain from recurring. The doctor will usually form a diagnosis by examining the location of the pain, how the pain started, and the specific symptoms associated with your pain.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective

knee pain

To discuss knee pain from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, we must first understand the meridians that run through the knee area. Meridians are the routes which Qi (energy) and blood travels throughout the body.  There are six meridians on each leg. These are the kidney, spleen, liver, stomach, gallbladder, and bladder meridians. The location of the pain in the knee will help us determine which meridian may be causing the pain.

It is also important to find out if the pain is due to deficiency or caused by blockages along the meridian. Deficiency means that the organ system is becoming weak, and typically manifests as a persistent dull ache. Whereas blockage of the meridian is usually caused by trauma, sports injury, or excessive use resulting in Qi (energy) and blood being stagnated in a localized area. Qi and blood stagnation usually manifest as acute sharp pain.

Treatment Using Traditional Chinese Medicine

Knee pain

Acupuncture may be used to help alleviate acute pain caused by qi stagnation and blood stasis. Fine needles that are inserted into specific meridian points can help promote the smooth flow of qi and blood. This is because the needles can trigger the body’s autoimmune response and increase blood circulation at the site of insertion. When the blood is abundant again at the site of injury, the inflammation decreases, and regeneration of damaged tissues starts to occur.

Chinese herbal medicine can also help by rectifying the deficiencies in the body. It does this by supplementing the necessary building blocks for the body to rebuild and rejuvenate.


Knee pain is a common condition that many of us encounter at some stage in our life. Symptoms of knee pain can range from annoying pain to debilitating pain. Without proper treatment, unresolved knee conditions may reccur easily later in life or cause premature degeneration of the knee joints.

At Centre of Balance, our practitioners have many years of experience treating patients with knee pain with great results. Why not give us a call, have a chat with our expert team, and see how we can help you?

For more information about how Chinese Medicine can treat pain issues click here.


Gossett, T. (2019). What Might Cause Sudden Knee Pain?

Liebert, P. L. (2022). Pain in the Front of the Knee.

Centre of Balance: Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. (2022). Archive for category: Arthritis.