In older people, recurrent pain and stiffness in both knees is likely to be caused by osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis in the UK. Osteoarthritis causes damage to the articular cartilage (protective surface of the knee bone) and mild swelling of the tissues in and around the joints.
The pain in your joints may be worse after putting weight on your knees and your knees may become stiff if you don’t move them for a while. They may also occasionally become locked or feel as though they’re going to give way.
In some cases, osteoarthritis can also cause a painful fluid-filled swelling to develop at the back of the knee – this is known as a Baker’s cyst, or popliteal cyst.
Less commonly, osteoarthritis can affect younger people, especially those who are overweight or have had serious injuries to the knee in the past.
You should see your GP if you think your knee pain may be caused by osteoarthritis. They may recommend wearing suitable footwear to reduce the strain on your joints, using assistive devices such as a walking stick, losing weight, taking painkillers, or having physiotherapy. Read more about treating osteoarthritis.
You can self-refer into community physiotherapy services. Simply call 0207 871 0545 to make an appointment. Your initial contact with one of our chartered physiotherapists may be over the phone, where you will either be given advice on appropriate treatment, or a face-to-face consultation will be arranged.
Should you wish to speak to your GP first, simply make an appointment with your local practice. If your GP refers you, one of our patient care advisers will contact you within 48 hours to arrange an appointment.