Move Freely | Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic | Edinburgh

Anterior Knee Pain: Understanding and Treating It with Physiotherapy in Edinburgh

Close-up image of an individual's knee highlighting potential areas affected by anterior knee pain.
Discover the causes and effective physiotherapy treatments for anterior knee pain, helping Edinburgh residents recover and return to active lifestyles.
Close-up image of an individual's knee highlighting potential areas affected by anterior knee pain.
Anterior Knee Pain

Seeking effective knee physiotherapy in Edinburgh? Understanding anterior knee pain is crucial, a common affliction that encompasses various conditions affecting the front of the knee. It is a broad term defined by the pain location and not solely by individual symptoms. Anterior knee pain is prevalent among diverse groups of people, irrespective of their lifestyle, age, or gender. The usual suspects behind this condition include abnormalities of the kneecap, muscular imbalances, or weakness. Typical conditions under the anterior knee pain umbrella may include:

  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome
  • Osgood schlatter’s disease
  • Knee bursitis/Hoffa’s disease
  • Patellar tendonitis


Running is a well-known factor in the onset of anterior knee pain, giving rise to the term “runner’s knee.” From a biomechanical viewpoint, running subjects the body to significant force transmission through the lower limbs. Muscles like the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes are vital “shock absorbers.” When running, the force from the footstrike travels upward, absorbed by these larger muscle groups.

Should these muscles “malfunction” or fail to perform correctly, the force must be redistributed, often leading to the knee taking the brunt of the impact. The knee structures are not designed to absorb excessive force, which can lead to tissue damage and resultant pain.

Characteristics of Anterior Knee Pain

  • Pain at the front of the knee, especially around or behind the kneecap.
  • Challenges in fully bending or straightening the knee.
  • Increased pain during activities such as descending stairs, squatting, or sitting for extended periods with bent knees.
  • Weakness in the leg muscles.
  • A sensation of the knee “giving way” while moving.
  • Clicking or locking sensations.
  • Stiffness after periods of inactivity.
  • Pain amplification during physical activities or exertion.

What Can You Do?

1. R.I.C.E Protocol:
  • Rest: Allow your knee to recover by reducing or modifying your running routine.
  • Ice: Apply ice to the affected area for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours to reduce inflammation.
  • Compression: Use a compression bandage to support the knee and control swelling.
  • Elevation: Elevate your leg when at rest to minimise swelling.
2. Keep Moving

If your leg can tolerate it, incorporate low-impact activities like swimming or cycling to maintain cardiovascular fitness without putting excessive stress on the knees.

So, Where Do We Come In?

If you’re looking for knee physiotherapy in Edinburgh, Move Freely is the perfect place. At Move Freely, our approach begins with a comprehensive assessment, starting with your personal account of the pain. We’ll employ diagnostic tests and observe how your body reacts to various movements and forces, always considering the critical shock absorption system.

We provide a personalised exercise and rehabilitation program to restore muscle function, paving the way for your return to running. This includes strength-building exercises for leg and hip muscles and stretches to ease knee tension. Click here for an example of the type of knee exercises we do for knee pain when moving freely in Edinburgh.

Our assessment might also include analysing your running technique to identify and correct biomechanical issues contributing to your pain.

The Bottom Line – Find The Best Knee Physiotherapy In Edinburgh

Addressing anterior knee pain involves meticulously reviewing potential causes and considering factors such as patellar alignment and muscle function. You can navigate past knee pain and back to enjoyable, pain-free running through rest, targeted physiotherapy exercises, and expert guidance. Remember to heed your body’s signals, introduce changes progressively, and prioritise your musculoskeletal well-being. Persistent or worsening pain should prompt a consultation with a healthcare provider for a detailed evaluation and a personalised treatment plan.

If you want to learn about less common causes of anterior knee pain, check out this blog on the excellent Physio Network website.

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