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Daniel asked...

My knee hurts after many stair climbs.

My knee hurts after many stair climbs at the Isle of Wight. Can I treat it and if so how? Should I go to my GP and how do I determine when to go? Would staying off it, and elastic bandage for a week or so, and ice pack when hurting help? Thank you for any advice.

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The answer

It’s impossible to tell you exactly what is going on with your knee without knowing rather more about your problem. For instance, if you’ve sustained a twisting injury or significant fall, or have locking or giving way of your knee, it could be a tear of the meniscus (the cartilage inside the knee). If the pain is in the front of the knee, and particularly if you are young and fit and the pain is worse when you go up or down stairs, a condition called chondromalacia patellae is more likely. This condition is caused by damage to the cartilage on the back of the kneecap, or patella. It is often brought on by overuse of the knee, which might fit with your stair climbing activities.  The pain is usually located at the front of the knee, behind or around the kneecap, and you can get a grinding feeling when you move your knee.

For many knee conditions, including this one, a combination of rest (especially avoiding the activities which brought the pain on) and painkillers, such as paracetamol and/or anti-inflammatory tablets such as ibuprofen, will often help within a week or two. If it isn’t starting to improve by then, or if you have any ‘red flag’ symptoms such as a history of injury, locking, giving way or acute swelling of your knee, see your GP.

Answered by Dr Sarah Jarvis.


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