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AU Registered Medical Device
12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

Knee TENS Machine: A Complete Guide

A sitting man holding his knee with both hands due to pain

The Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS machine for knee pain is a pain therapy devices that use electrical signals as a method of pain relief. Accordingly, this electrical stimulation works with various analgesic effects. It blocks the transmission of pain signals and triggers the release of endorphins. Furthermore, using the device is easy. Begin by cleaning the skin. Then, position the electrodes (generally on either side of the knee). Finally, adjust the settings and initiate therapy for knee pain.

Acute knee pain or chronic knee pain is a common issue. This may be due to a knee injury or arthritis symptoms. Traditional management of pain may include medications and surgical treatments. However, they may come with unwanted adverse effects. This is where TENS knee pain relief devices come in. It is an effective method and safe treatment for people. This article will present the TENS unit for knee pain, including how it works and how to use it.

What is a TENS Machine for Knee Pain?

Painful knee is a common medical condition that can result from various factors. This may include injury, overuse, or underlying health issues. It often manifests as discomfort, stiffness, or swelling around the knee joint. Accordingly, pain levels can range from mild to severe pain. Hence, it can impact the ability of an individual to perform daily activities. Fortunately, TENS can be a treatment for knee pain.

TENS machine for knee pain is a medical treatment that delivers electrical currents to the body to alleviate discomfort. It streams the pulses through adhesive electrode pads placed on the skin. Furthermore, medical practitioners and physical therapists often recommend TENS therapy to their patients. Additionally, individuals suffering from painful conditions, including knee ailments, may use TENS at home.

The TENS units are available in both wired and wireless variations. Thus, it offers flexibility and convenience to users. Wired TENS devices typically comprise a handheld device connected to the electrode pads via wires. Meanwhile, wireless TENS devices utilise wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth. This provides freedom of movement and ease of use.

Causes of Knee Pain

  • Knee osteoarthritis: This degenerative joint disease occurs when the protective cartilage in the knee wears down over time.
  • Torn ligament: Injuries to the ligament, such as the ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament), can result from sudden twisting or impact.
  • Meniscus tears: It is a C-shaped cartilage in the knee that can tear due to forceful twisting or degeneration.
  • Tendonitis: Inflammation of the tendons around the knee, often caused by overuse or repetitive movements.
  • Bursitis: Inflammation of the bursae, small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the knee joint, can cause discomfort and swelling.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: This autoimmune condition affects the lining of the joints, including the knees.

A small and large wing iTENS with refill gel pads

How a TENS Machine for Knee Pain Works

A TENS machine for knee pain works through various mechanisms. Foremost, TENS therapy operates by delivering electrical pulses to the nerves. These currents can trigger the release of endorphins, the natural painkillers of the body. Endorphins act on opiate receptors in the brain and spinal cord. This natural pain relief mechanisms can reduce the perception of discomfort and create a sense of well-being.

Secondly, TENS treatment is also based on the Pain Gate Theory. This suggests that the transmission of pain signals to the brain can be blocked by the activation of non-painful sensory nerves. The electrical impulses from TENS can effectively “close the gate” on the transmission of pain signals. As a result, it inhibits or blocks the pain messages. This reduces the sensation of knee discomfort.

In addition, TENS therapy can influence blood flow in the area of knee ailment. The electrical stimulation from TENS can cause the blood vessels to dilate. Improved blood circulation can facilitate the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. This can also remove metabolic waste products and inflammatory substances. Nevertheless, this can contribute to reducing swelling and inflammation in the knee.

Benefits of TENS Therapy

Firstly, TENS therapy is a non-drug and non-invasive method of pain relief. It does not require the use of oral medications, injections, incisions, or surgical intervention to alleviate knee ailments. Secondly, TENS machines offer adjustable settings. Individuals can modify or customise the treatment parameters, such as the pulse frequency, intensity levels, and pulse duration.

Thirdly, TENS treatment can deliver immediate pain relief. This offers a rapid, quick, and convenient option for addressing episodes of knee discomfort. Additionally, TENS therapy can complement other forms of knee pain management. This may include physical therapy, medication, and lifestyle modifications.

A guide on how to use the iTENS app

How to Use a TENS Machine for Knee Pain

When using a TENS machine for knee pain, it is essential to follow certain steps. Before using the TENS device, it is vital to prepare the skin at the electrode placement site. Then, carefully position the adhesive electrodes on the skin around the area of the knee ailment. It is important to follow the specific recommendations a professional or manufacturer provides. Generally, place it on either side of the knee.

Furthermore, avoid placing the pads directly on the knee joint. Once the electrodes are in place, power on the TENS machine. This may prompt individuals to adjust the settings. Additionally, some models have pre-set programs. Thus, select the one for knee pain. It is crucial to start with the lowest settings and gradually adjust it to a comfortable yet effective level.

Once the parameters are set, initiate the TENS therapy. During the treatment session, pay close attention to the sensations experienced. The treatment duration can vary. Typically, sessions may last between 15 to 30 minutes. After completing the session, power off the TENS machine and gently remove the electrode pads from the skin.

Are There Potential Adverse Side Effects?

One potential side effect is skin irritation at the site of electrode placement. Proper skin preparation, checking regularly the skin, and adherence to recommended therapy duration can help minimise the risk of skin irritation. During the treatment, some may experience mild muscle twitching. This is normal and generally harmless. Adjusting the settings can help reduce muscle twitching if it becomes uncomfortable.

Additionally, in some cases, individuals may experience discomfort or unusual sensory changes. While these sensations are often part of the TENS therapy experience, they should not cause significant discomfort. Modifying the settings can help manage this side effect.


In conclusion, osteoarthritis, torn ligaments, meniscus tears, and bursitis are the common causes of knee ailment. Fortunately, a TENS machine for knee pain is a highly effective and safe treatment solution. It is a wired or wireless device that is commonly used by professionals, therapists, and individuals. Accordingly, TENS works by delivering electrical currents to the body. This electrical stimulation operates by blocking the transmission of pain signals, triggering the release of endorphins, and enhancing blood flow.

Furthermore, TENS therapy presents numerous benefits. It is non-drug, non-invasive, adjustable, can deliver immediate relief, and complements other treatment solutions. Moreover, using a TENS machine is a straightforward process. Clean and dry the skin. Then, place the electrodes, adhering to the proper pad placement. Finally, turn on the device and adjust the settings. However, it is crucial to know the potential side effects of TENS for optimal treatment experience.

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