The knee pain is very common and can have many origins. It is a waste subject to cover, so I will focus on the cases I see most often.
Like in any articulation, the knee pain can be caused by either functional, inflammatory, degenerative or traumatic problems. A thorough examination of the knee but also of the general body balance is crucial to understand the origin of the symptoms.
When the meniscus is the culprit, the pain can be quite harsh. It is often described as what feels like a "knife stabbing pain" when the patient flexes and extends the knee with weight on it. Sometimes meniscus can be damaged because of a trauma or several micro traumas but they can also be "locked". The meniscus is a mobile structure and if it isn't well positioned, it will get squeezed when the knee goes into extension. In this case, osteopathy can be efficient by replacing the meniscus in its neutral position and thereby allowing the free flexion/extension of the articulation.
If the meniscus is slightly traumatized, specific mobilizations can be a good help to release the pain and drain the inflammation fluids.
The functional knee
In this situation, osteopathy is a good choice to help recovering from a knee pain. When the knee flexes and extends there is what we call an "associated micro movement" of inner and outer rotation. If this micro movement doesn't work correctly, the knee will be dysfunctional and other structures are going to suffer.
There are also some specific muscles that play important roles in maintaining knee stability. The gluteus maximus (buttocks) is of great importance by holding the femur in abduction while going up stairs. If this muscle gets weakened, the pressure will then increase in the knee's articulation causing pain and irritation.
The psoas (a hip muscle) is also a muscle that holds the knee a bit flexed (in flexum) when spasmed (contracted/tensed). Having a tight psoas will prevent the knee from fully extending and the patella will then start compressing the articulation (the patella syndrome).
This paragraph could be a lot longer, we have not touched upon a runner's knee, a jumper's knee, the effect of a weakening of the arch of the foot or how the knee will compensate a pelvis misalignment. An osteopath can help you understand your knee problem and will give you advises and help you to treat it.
This case if most often seen on 60+ years old patients. This is the knee's arthritis. It develops because of too much pressure in the knee's joint after having used up the cartilage. The bones then touch and arthritis starts to develop. Overweight is also a reason of an increased knee pressure and arthritis.
In these cases, the osteopath will use decompression techniques to bring back some fluids within the articulation and thereby reducing the pressure for a while.
Osteopathy will not be able to remove arthritis but it will help to ease the pain and slow down the development of the degeneration.