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Why do I have pain on the inside of the knee?

There are several causes of pain on the inside of the knee. Such pain may come from one of several structures in that area. There are varying degrees of severity of each condition. Read on to find out more about what may be causing the pain.
What Causes Pain on the Inside of the Knee?
You may discover that activities such as walking more, running or squatting start to cause pain on the inside part of your knee. Sometimes, you have had an injuy such as a hard knock or a twist of the knee causing the problem. It is helpful to think of it in terms of what structure is giving rise to the pain. Possible causes for pain on the inside of the knee include:
- Meniscus tearsThe meniscus is a shock-absorbing cushion in the knee. Tears of the meniscus can cause patients to feel severe pain on the inside of the knee. Frequently, patients are in their 40's to 50's, and many patients start having this pain after some event, for example a period of intense exercise or walking a lot while on holiday. Sometimes, it is a twisting injury of the knee that causes a meniscus tear.
- Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) injury: Usually, this would be clearly related to an injury, where the lower leg gets forcefully bent outwards, causing a stretch of the inside of the knee. The MCL is an important ligament, and MCL injuries may range from a minor stretch to a complete tear. One important thing is that many MCL injuries do not recover fully by themselves, even after months of rest. Such cases will require treatment to ensure proper recovery.   
- Cartilage damage: This is a wear-and-tear condition that wears down the cartilage of the knee over time. Patients with this typically develop the pain over time, and are in their late 50's to 60's. Patients report feeling pain, soreness and tightness on the inside of the knee. They frequently feel this at night, and it is worse with more walking.
- Other causes: Various other conditions can cause pain on the inside of the knee, including scar tissue from previous injuries and serious causes such as a growth or tumour. The important thing is not to self-manage for beyond a short period of time and seek medical attention early. 
Diagnose and Treat Pain on the inside of the Knee
The broad groups of treatment methods are: 
- medications and physiotherapy
- Injections into the knee
- Key-hole surgical procedures
- Open surgical procedures
The exact treatment method for each patient depends on the severity of his/her own condition. We can tell the severity of each person's condition using information from the clinic assessment and scans, such as xrays and MRI scan. 
For acute injury conditions such as an MCL injury, these can be treated with rest, physiotherapy with or without injections to stimulate healing of the ligament. Occasionally, severe complete tears of the ligament benefit from surgical repair. 
Also, the common causes of inner knee pain - Osteoarthritis and Meniscus tears - are progressive conditions, meaning the conditions worsen over time if not properly treated. As the conditions worsen, simple treatment methods may start to become ineffective, and we may have to use more complex methods.

Frequently-asked Questions

  • What are the treatment methods for knee pain?

  • I have mild pain in the knee. Is it ok to continue with sports?

  • I injured my knee two weeks ago and it is still painful now. Should I get it checked?

  • Do I need a referral letter from my family doctor?

  • Will my insurance cover the treatment?

  • What advanced treatments do you have for my knee?

  • Surgery is a big thing. I am afraid...

Dr Ang CL

About Dr Ang Chia Liang

  • Graduated from National University of Singapore

  • Worked at Singapore General Hospital

  • Worked at The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in UK

  • Fellow of The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

  • Fellow of the prestigious  American College of Surgeons.

  • Specialises in Knee injuries, degeneration, and complex knee issues

  • Uses treatments with sound scientific basis

  • Approachable and empathetic

  • Author of numerous book chapters on knee surgeries

Contact Information

38 Irrawaddy Road, Mt Elizabeth Novena Hospital Specialist Centre #07-40
Singapore 329563

We are a 3-min walk from Novena MRT Station. Take Exit A from the station.

Tel: 6970 5835

Fax: 6970 5935    


Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 9am to 6pm, Sat: 9am to 1pm

Emergency consults, Call/Text/WhatsApp: 9623 7153

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