• Shannon Cobb

Things You Can Do to Manage a Sudden Knee Pain


Just the other day we had a client have this happen. He was moving around just fine when suddenly he felt a “catch” in his knee that was painful and then his knee progressed to swell. With all that, he was having trouble getting around and had to have his wife help him move about. They became so concerned that they went to the emergency room.

When they came into therapy, he talked about his emergency room escapade (he was told he would most likely need surgery on his knee) and how he was currently feeling.

His PT put him at ease about what he was told at the Emergency room and about what actually happened, AND what he can do in the future if it happens again.

Read on to learn the valuable information this client learned.


  1. Don’t Panic- I am just like you- if I have a sudden intense pain I think the worst. But, when it comes to joint pain you should not panic. There is likely


a simple explanation for what caused it. In this situation, our client has arthritis in his knee. Most likely his knee cartilage (called the meniscus) has a small tear and a piece of hit may have moved into a position that caused the Catch. This is not uncommon and it can cause swelling and pain when it happens. However, it can also come into a place where it is no longer in the way and you are pain free with good movement. So- don’t panic and try some of the following ideas.

  1. Ice- ice is good when there is a sudden problem. Pain or swelling that comes on quickly. That is the time for Ice. You can make a bag of ice or purchase an Ice pack from a pharmacy. Use it for 20 minutes intermittently. Be sure to check your skin to make sure it is tolerating the cold.

  2. Gentle movement: don’t stop moving! “Motion is Lotion” is how the saying goes. What you want to do is start in small increments that do not aggravate the issues. Be sure to try to allow the joint to move as best you can when you are walking.

  3. See PT: Some people think that they should wait to see what happens. If you are truly worried, make and appointment with us to come in a we can let you know what we think is happening. We will let you know the type of manual treatments and exercises that will help you through the flare up, and what you can do in the future to minimize this happening again. If you want to schedule a Discovery Visit to help you better understand what is going on with your knee pain- Click here.




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