Massage For Knee Pain: Give Your Knees New Life

Knee pain is a common issue caused by various factors. It can be frustrating whether it is due to an injury, wear and tear, or issues with the cartilage, tendons, or ligaments. The good news is that there are remedies for knee pain, and we will be looking at one of the most effective – massage therapy. 

Massage therapy is a centuries-old method that can improve circulation, reduce pain, reduce stress and promote relaxation. This guide covers the common causes of knee pain, the benefits of massage therapy, knee massage techniques, instances when knee massage is not recommended, and when to seek medical attention. Lastly, it provides answers to frequently asked questions about knee massage.

What Are The Most Common Causes Of Knee Pain?

Knee pain is a common problem that affects people of all ages and activity levels. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including injury, wear and tear, and medical conditions. These conditions can cause pain, inflammation, and discomfort, making it challenging to perform regular activities. Knowing the most common causes of knee pain can help you determine the best course of treatment for your symptoms.

Injury Or Repeated Stress On The Knee

Knee pain is often caused by injury or repeated stress from activities such as running, jumping, playing sports or a direct blow on the knee through a fall or an accident. This can lead to inflammation of tendons and ligaments, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness, as well as limited movement in the knee.

Knee injury

Issues With The Cartilage, Tendons, Or Ligaments

Knee pain can result from issues with the cartilage, tendons, or ligaments surrounding the knee joint. Cartilage cushions and allows for smooth movement, but pain and stiffness can result when it's damaged or worn. Tendons and ligaments connect the bones of the knee and, when overstretched or torn, can cause pain, swelling, and instability. Loose ligaments can also make the knee unstable. 

Wear And Tear As You Age

The knee joint is responsible for bearing the weight of your body when you stand and move around. As you age, those joints become less flexible and more prone to injury. This can lead to wear and tear on the knee joint, resulting in pain and discomfort. 


Osteoarthritis is a common cause of knee pain. It is a degenerative joint disease that occurs when the cartilage that cushions the bones in the knee joint wears down. This can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, and decreased range of motion. 

Osteoarthritis can be caused by several factors, including aging, obesity, genetics, and previous knee injuries. As the disease progresses, the knee joint may become deformed, and it may become more challenging to move the knee.


Can A Massage Help Me With My Knee Pain?

Knee pain can be incredibly debilitating, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks or even just move around.

Massage therapy is a beneficial treatment for various knee injuries such as sprains, strains, tendonitis, and arthritis. It can reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain, improve circulation and range of motion, and strengthen the muscles and soft tissues around the knee. Massage can also help break up scar tissue, reduce stiffness, and improve mobility.

For serious injuries or concerns, it’s always best to speak with a doctor to form a treatment plan.

Knee pain massage

Benefits Of Knee Massage

Knee massage can be a safe and effective treatment option for those experiencing knee pain. Here are  some benefits of knee massage:        

Improved Circulation

When the muscles and tissues around the knee are massaged, knee massage helps to increase the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the area, which helps reduce pain and inflammation. Improved circulation can help to reduce the risk of further injury to the knee and help to speed up the healing process.

Knee massage improved circulation

Pain Relief 

Massage therapy can help relieve knee pain by reducing muscle tension and stiffness, increasing blood flow to the area, and breaking up scar tissue that can cause pain and limit the range of motion.

Increased Flexibility And Range Of Motion

One of the significant benefits of knee massage is increased flexibility and range of motion. Massage helps relax the muscles around the knee joint, allowing them to move more freely. This helps to reduce tension and stiffness in the knee, which can lead to improved mobility. 

Improved Athletic Performance

Athletes experiencing knee pain often feel restricted in their performance. Massaging the knee can reduce muscle tension surrounding the knee, allowing athletes to move more freely with a lower risk of injury. These benefits can help athletes improve their athletic performance and achieve maximum potential.

Improved Athletic Performance

Stress Relief

Managing stress can be a challenge, but massage can be a great tool to help reduce its adverse effects. By releasing endorphins, which are the body's natural painkillers, massage can help alleviate tension and pain caused by stress. This can help to calm the mind and reduce knee pain. 

Additionally, massage can also reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which is known to contribute to inflammation and pain in the body. 

When Not To Massage Your Knee

When it comes to knee pain, there are certain times when massage should not be used. This is because massage can sometimes increase the risk of further injury or cause other health problems.
Some conditions in which massage should be avoided include:

Osteoporosis: Massage can increase the risk of fractures in people with osteoporosis, a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile due to loss of tissue. If you have been diagnosed with this condition, it is best to avoid massage altogether.

Varicose veins: These are twisted, enlarged veins that are closer to the skin's surface. Massaging can cause increased circulation in people who have varicose veins leading to increased swelling and discomfort.

Pre-existing high blood pressure: Massage can increase the risk of high blood pressure in people who already suffer from this condition. If you suffer from high blood pressure, it is best to avoid massage.

Discuss your knee pain with your doctor to ensure that it is safe for you to receive a massage. 

Techniques You Can Use To Massage Your Knees For Pain

Many different massage techniques can be used to target the muscles and tissues around the knee joint. Here are some:

Outside Thigh Glide

This is a massage technique that can be used to help reduce knee pain. This massage helps to loosen up the tight muscles around the knee, which can help reduce pain and improve flexibility. 

This massage is performed by slowly gliding your hands on the outside thigh in a back-and-forth circular motion. 

Thigh Tapping To Anterior Thigh

Thigh tapping to the anterior thigh is a massage technique that can help to relax the muscles, break up any muscle tension and improve circulation in the knee area, which can help reduce pain.

This technique involves lightly tapping the front thigh muscles with fingertips or knuckles, using gentle pressure and circular motion. It can be done on both legs to improve circulation and reduce pain.

Front Thigh Glide

This is a great way to massage your knee pain and improve circulation and range of motion. This massage technique is best used to target specific areas of pain or tightness in the knee by applying pressure and gliding your hands up and down the front of the thigh in a circular motion.

Inner Thigh Glide

The inner thigh glide helps to reduce tension and stiffness in the muscles of the inner thigh, which can often be the root cause of knee pain. It also helps to improve circulation and reduce inflammation in the area.

This technique is performed by gently gliding your hands along the inner thigh from the hip to the knee. It can be done with or without oil depending on your preference.

Knee Friction

Knee friction massage is an effective technique that helps reduce inflammation and muscle tension and improve circulation in the knee joint. 

Use this technique by starting with light pressure and gradually increasing it while moving around the knee joint in a circular, side-to-side, or up-and-down motion. Be sure to focus on the areas around the knee joint, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles to reduce pain during knee movement.

Cross-Fiber Friction Massage

Cross-Fiber Friction Massage is a massage technique that helps to reduce pain and inflammation and is also used to break down scar tissue and adhesions, which are the leading cause of knee pain. It is a deep-tissue massage that can help improve flexibility, range of motion, and circulation in the knee joint.

Cross-Fiber Friction Massage is a technique that involves applying firm, directional pressure to the affected area. The massage therapist will use their thumbs and fingers to apply pressure, moving in a back and forth  motion across the length of the muscle to break up adhesions.

Knee Cross-Friction Massage

When Should I See A Healthcare Provider?

If you are experiencing persistent knee pain, it is important to see a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Your healthcare provider can help you determine the cause of your knee pain and provide you with the best treatment options. 

They may also recommend lifestyle modifications, such as physical therapy, exercise, and medications to reduce inflammation and pain. 

They may also recommend surgery if your knee pain is caused by an injury or an underlying medical condition. It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Swelling or redness around the knee
  • Severe pain that doesn’t go away
  • Inability to put weight on the knee
  • Locking of the knee joint
  • Popping or clicking sounds when moving the knee
  • Fever or chills

It is also essential to seek medical attention if you experience any of the following:

  • Pain that gets worse with activity
  • Pain that gets worse when you move your knee
  • Pain that persists for more than 48 hours
  • Pain that wakes you up at night
  • Pain that is accompanied by a fever

Final Thoughts

Massage can be a great way to relieve knee pain and improve your overall mobility. It can help to reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and increase the range of motion. Massage can also help reduce stress, improve athletic performance, and relieve pain. There are different massage techniques that can help alleviate knee pain and help you feel better. 

However, it is important to note that massage should not be used in cases of osteoporosis, directly on varicose veins, or pre-existing high blood pressure. If you are experiencing knee pain, it is important to consult a healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment. 

With the proper care and attention, you can give your knees the care they deserve and help them to live a long and healthy life.


Will massaging my knee pain make it go away?

Massage can be a helpful part of a comprehensive treatment plan for knee pain. It is an effective way to reduce pain and improve mobility in the knee, reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and promote healing. 

However, it is important to note that massage is not a replacement for medical treatment or advice. So, it is important to discuss your knee pain with a medical professional for proper diagnosis and to determine the best course of treatment for your knee pain.

Can knee pain be cured permanently?

Whether knee pain can be cured permanently depends on the underlying cause of the pain. For some people, knee pain may be caused by an acute injury or overuse, and the pain may eventually go away with appropriate treatment and rest. 

In other cases, knee pain may be caused by a chronic condition, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other medical conditions, and the goal of treatment is often to manage the pain and slow the progression of the condition.

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct structural problems in the knee, such as torn ligaments, damaged cartilage, or joint misalignment. However, even with surgery, it may not be possible to cure knee pain completely, and ongoing management may be required.

How can I improve the life of my knees?

To improve the life of your knees, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and practice good posture. Regular stretching and strengthening exercises can help improve the knee joint's strength and flexibility. 

Additionally, it is important to wear supportive shoes and use proper techniques when engaging in activities such as running or lifting weights.

Should I Use Oils When Massaging My knees?

Yes, using massage oils can help to improve the effectiveness of the massage and reduce friction on the skin. Some oils, such as lavender or peppermint, can have a soothing effect on the skin and can help to reduce inflammation and pain. 

Other oils, such as coconut or almond oil, can be used as carrier oils to dilute essential oils and provide added moisturization.

Posted on Tue, Mar 07, 2023