man at the beach standing by the trunk of his car. He is pulling on a knee brace to help manage knee pain

The knee is a complex joint that undergoes a lot of pressure from day-to-day activities, so it’s not uncommon for knee pain to flare up seemingly out of nowhere. But even the most head-scratching knee pains have some underlying cause. If you’ve been wondering what’s causing you knee pain without injury, here are some potential answers and the best ways to address them. 


What is it?

Tendonitis is technically an injury, but not an acute one. Walking too far, standing too long, or even running without a proper warm-up can overstrain the tendons in your knee, causing them to develop micro-tears and inflammation. Most commonly, the tendon affected is the patellar tendon, which helps stabilise the patella and flex the knee. The resulting knee pain will often come on gradually, worsening as you keep moving the joint and putting pressure on it. It typically starts as a dull ache at the front of the knee accompanied by stiffness and redness. 

How to fix it

man wearing Bauerfeind's GenuTrain Knee Brace, a good way to manage ITBS - which can cause knee pain without injury




If you catch it in its early stages, knee tendonitis can be treated with a few choice conservative therapies. These include: 

  • Rest. Give the overused tendon some time to recover. If you’re comfortable enough to put pressure on the knee, you can try dynamic rest, wherein you don’t do anything strenuous like squats but still walk short distances to avoid deconditioning the knee.
  • Exercise. Once your physio OKs it, you can start doing some exercises to strengthen the kee and maintain its mobility. Be mindful of pain levels, however. The last thing you want to do is overload the tendon and restart the recovery process.
  • And lastly, brace. A quality brace like our GenuTrain is well-suited to inflammatory injuries like this. It incorporates gel padding and medical-grade compression knit to stabilise the patella and activate the surrounding muscle, taking the pressure off the patellar tendon. 



What is it?

Knee bursitis is an inflammation of the bursae in the knee. These are sacs containing synovial fluid, which they steadily release to lubricate the joint. Long hours of kneeling or even some inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid arthritis can agitate the bursae, causing them to inflame. With bursitis, you’ll usually get pain and swelling at the front of the knee joint directly on top of the patella.


How to fix it 

  • Rest, especially if the cause is overuse. You should also aim to stop or at least minimise the time you spend doing the activity that caused the swelling in the first place. 
  • Use knee pads when you’re kneeling.
  • Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to help reduce swelling.
  • Brace. The medical grade compression and silicon pad of the GenuTrain will go a long way to helping combat the inflammation.

Note: not all cases of bursitis are treatable, but the above methods will help to alleviate symptoms.


Iliotibial band syndrome 

What is it? 

The Iliotibial band (AKA ITB) is a band of tough fibrous tissue running on the outside of your leg from your knee to your hip. When you use your leg too much (like drastically increasing running distance) or not enough (like when you sit all day without taking time to stretch), the band can tighten and start pulling on the knee joint. With ITB syndrome, you’ll feel an aching, burning pang in the lateral (outside) knee that will flare up with activity - especially when you bend or straighten the knee under increased pressure. You may also hear a clicking when you bend the knee, see some redness, and feel tender around the knee and outer glutes. 


How to fix it

The best way to address ITB is through stretches, leg-strengthening exercises, and supports.

  • Stretches: try Downward Facing Dog for the glutes, calves, and hamstrings, Internal Hip Rotations for the ITB, hips, and glutes, and Quads Stretch for the quads. You can see how to do them in our Leg Day article. Just remember, tightened fibres will be more prone to injury, so be extra mindful of your comfort levels through these stretches.
  • Strengthening exercises: try Clamshells, Side Planks, and Glute Bridges. You can see how to do these in our ITBS article. 
  • Supports: we recommend a knee brace like the GenuTrain to help you boost circulation through the area and massage away some tension. If you’re a runner or have some ankle instability, we also recommend getting insoles. The way your foot rolls affects how your leg moves. If the movement is off, it may be causing some irritation and tension as the muscles and tendons are forced to compensate.


Poor recovery from an old injury 

What is it? 

Sometimes, injuries you thought had healed may randomly flare up again. Usually, this happens following inappropriate treatment or a too-short recovery process. The symptoms and their exact location on the joint will vary depending on the injury. For example, an old ACL ligament tear may cause instability, while a loose bone fragment from an old fracture may cause inflammation and pain in its surrounding tissue.


How to fix it

First, make sure you go to a physiotherapist or osteopath so they can assess the level of damage and recommend a treatment plan that’s right for you. Depending on the injury (and re-injury), the plan may involve some combination of rest, bracing, and exercise. For more minor injuries and setbacks, you may be recommended a soft brace like the GenuTrain. For more severe injuries, you may need a hinged brace like GenuTrain S, which will provide additional support. 



What is it? 

As you probably know, arthritis is a degenerative condition where the cartilage in the knee joint wears away. In Osteoarthritis, the process happens as we age and keep wearing down our joints. In Posttraumatic arthritis, it happens after an injury that causes parts of your knee to stop tracking correctly, making the cartilage wear away faster. And in rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s own immune response attacks the cartilage. With arthritis, you’ll generally get stiffness, swelling, and pain in the joint, though the severity varies drastically from patient to patient.


How to fix it

Woman at the beach getting help from a man to climb up a rock. She is wearing Bauerfeind's GenuTrain OA Knee Brace to manage knee arthritis, which can cause knee pain without injury

GenuTrain OA


Your physio may recommend some mobility exercises, and your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatories to help relieve some pain and swelling. While arthritis can make it difficult to move, research has shown that gentle exercises like walking and swimming can actually slow degeneration. To assist you in remaining active, you should also get a quality knee brace. The GenuTrain OA, for example, incorporates a system of a hinged splint, compression knit, padding and a BOA system to unload the joint and relieve pain and swelling. 

Note: arthritis isn’t curable, but the above methods can help alleviate symptoms and slow its progression.


Knee pain doesn’t only happen after a clear injury, but it will have some underlying cause. Degenerative conditions, overuse, and tension are commonly responsible for knee pain without injury. Fortunately, so long as you seek specialist advice and follow appropriate treatment methods like rest, strengthening, and bracing, you’ll be able to relieve this uncomfortable symptom. 


See our full collection of knee supports: Knee Braces and Supports

If you require assistance selecting the right product for your needs or wearing the brace, call us on 1300 668 466 or contact us via live chat.

Do you have private health? Most private health extras will cover Bauerfeind Products, check to see if yours is included. Bauerfeind Private Health Insurance Inquiry.   


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