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Your Guide to Proper Inner Knee Pain Treatment

by Patty Weasler, RN December 10, 2020 0 Comments

Wearing knee brace

The knee joint is the largest joint in the body and is very susceptible to injury. Knee injuries are commonly caused by sports, normal wear and tear, accidents, and arthritis. If you’re suffering from  inner knee pain, treatment will typically require conservative measures including ice, rest, and exercises. However, more sereve pain on the inside of your knee will require more complex treatments, maybe even surgery. Keep scrolling to find the best ways to treat mild, moderate and severe inner knee pain.

Mild to Moderate Inner Knee Pain

Inner knee pain can be caused by a variety of situations or existing knee injuries. Consult with your doctor or physical therapist to determine the cause of your pain. Injuries to the medial collateral ligament (MCL) will require different treatment than knee pain caused by issues like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Below we’ll cover treatment for mild to moderate knee pain.

Learn How to Properly Identify Inner Knee Pain

Rest from Activity that Causes Pain

One of the common causes of pain on the inside of the knee is overuse. The first step you should take is to rest your knee and stop all the activities and movements that cause pain. Your body needs time to heal without the extra stress and strain on your knees. 

Elevate & Ice Your Knee

A simple way to treat pain on the inside of the knee is to elevate your leg. Elevation reduces swelling which can minimize pain. Prop your leg on an elevation pillow while you are lying down on the couch or in bed. Aim to keep your knee above the level of your heart to get the best results. Applying an ice pack at the same time will help numb the pain and reduce swelling. Use the ice in 20 minute intervals and avoid sleeping with ice to prevent skin injury.

Applying Compression & Wearing a Knee Brace

Knee braces support the joint, provide compression, and offload pressure to reduce pain, allowing you to move around more easily. They are especially helpful in knee injuries that involve damage to the knee structures, like in a knee sprain. Knee supports can also be used as a preventative measure to avoid a recurring knee injury. There are multiple types of braces available, most of them will have an adjustable wrap that goes around the knee, keeping the kneecap also known as the patella exposed.

How to Find the Right Knee Brace

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist is a healthcare professional who is trained to evaluate and treat knee conditions that cause pain. When you first see your physical therapist, they will examine your injury and discuss the causes of inner knee pain. Your therapist will then guide you through a series of movements to strengthen your muscles and reduce your pain. You will likely be sent home with instructions on how to continue therapy in between sessions with your physical therapist. 

Stretches & Exercises

When inner knee pain starts to subside you can incorporate stretches and exercise into your treatment plan. Exercise will strengthen the surrounding muscles to support the knee joint, and help prevent reinjury. Work on strengthening connective muscles, like your hamstring and quadriceps muscles. Stretching will help you regain any range of motion you lost over the course of your recovery. Take stretching and exercising slowly and stop if you feel any sharp pain.

Stretches & Exercises for Inner knee pain

Kinesiology Taping

Kinesiology tape is a flexible medical tape that supports your body’s joints. When used for inner knee pain, kinesiology tape will not only support your knee but help to increase your proprioception (body awareness). This will reduce the likelihood of reinjury and assist your knee while it heals. Its versatility and effectiveness make kinesiology tape a great option for those who want to restart activities after they’ve recovered from a knee injury. Your physical therapist can help get you started with kinesiology taping techniques.

Anti-Inflammatory Medications

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and naproxen are a good adjunctive treatment for knee pain. These drugs will not cure you of your injury but can help reduce the swelling and pain making movement more tolerable. Try using these medications before you start physical therapy so you can accomplish more with your therapist. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you start a new medication to make sure you avoid any interactions with other medications or unintended side effects.

Treatments for Severe Inner Knee Pain

If your inner knee pain isn’t responding to conservative treatments or the pain is severe then it’s time to consider a more aggressive approach. Below are the treatments your doctor may suggest.

Draining Built-Up Fluid

Everyone has some fluid within their knee to reduce friction within the joint. But when too much fluid builds up it is called a joint effusion. This condition results in pain, joint swelling, and stiffness. One of the treatments is aspiration, or draining, the excess fluid. The soft tissues that surround the knee will become softer after the drainage and knee pain should resolve.

Cortisone Injections

Cortisone injections involve injecting a strong steroid medication directly into the knee. This procedure can be done in a doctor’s office and can be rather effective for conditions like pes anserine bursitis, an inflammation of the bursa, or plica syndrome. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks associated with cortisone injections to see if it is the right treatment for you.


Knee surgery is reserved for the most serious cases that typically involve ligament injuries, meniscus tears, or severe tendonitis. Your orthopaedic surgeon will discuss which type of surgery is necessary and that can range significantly based upon the knee injury. Recovery can take weeks to months and will likely involve rehab with a physical therapist. With your surgeon’s medical advice and your outcome goals, surgery may be the right option for you.

Pain from Knee Tendonitis

Consult with Your Doctor

Pain on the inner side of your knee can be caused by an ACL or MCL injury, overuse, or even arthritis. Consult with your doctor to get a firm diagnosis before you begin treatment. Once you have a diagnosis, review this article to find how simple, at home treatments and other medical treatments can manage your pain and get you back to moving around like your old self again.


Knee Pain Products


Patty Weasler, RN
Patty Weasler, RN

Patty Weasler is a freelance health writer and nurse. She is certified in critical care nursing and has been practicing for over 10 years. Patty lives in Milwaukee, WI with her husband and three children. She enjoys spending her time with family and educating people about their health.

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