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 beworse after putting weight onyour 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 causea painful fluid-filled swellingto develop at the back of the knee this is known as a Bakers 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. This particularly affectspeople with certain jobs that involve kneeling (such as carpet layers), or sports players (such as footballers).

It typically causes pain in the knee that gets worse when you kneel or bend your knee fully.Your knee will also probably be swollen and may be tender, red and warm.

Bursitis can often be treated at home.Resting the affected area and using an ice pack helps reduce the swellingandordinary painkillers can help relieve the pain until your knee heals. You should see your GP urgently, or go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department .

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018