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Why does my knee ache when I’m away?

Dr Mark Porter / 25 December 2017

Dr Mark Porter advises a reader whose knee aches more when visiting family in Scotland.

knee pain
There are a number of possible causes of knee pain.

Q: For the past 20 years or so I have regularly visited my daughter and family in Edinburgh (I live in Suffolk). Six months ago I had a total knee replacement, which has been very successful. However, the other knee has now started to ache whenever I visit my daughter, making it difficult for me to get about. Once I get home again, everything seems to return to normal and I can continue my usual long walks. Why is it only giving me grief in Scotland? 

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A: I can’t say for sure without seeing and examining you but I suspect patellofemoral syndrome, and that it is the long journey that is aggravating the problem, rather than the destination.

There are a number of possible causes of this type of knee pain, but one of the most common is weakness of the thigh muscles (quads) – something that is very common in people who have arthritis and/or have had a knee replacement. 

Classic symptoms include knee pain that is worse on going downstairs, when depressing the clutch pedal or after sitting for long periods with the knees bent (such as when you are driving or a passenger). 

I suggest consulting a physio as your first port of call. They can confirm what the problem is and advise accordingly (for example, by showing you how to strengthen your quads).

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.