There is preliminary clinical evidence to support the contention that the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of bromelain help to reduce symptoms of osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis. However, there have been no controlled studies of its effects on joint health in healthy subjects who lack such diagnosis. The current study investigated the effects of bromelain on mild acute knee pain of less than 3 months duration in otherwise healthy adults. The study was an open, dose-ranging postal study in volunteers who had been recruited through newspaper and magazine articles. Two validated questionnaires (WOMAC knee health Index and the Psychological Well-Being Index) were completed at baseline and after one month's intervention with bromelain, randomly allocated to volunteers as either 200 mg or 400 mg per day. Seventy seven subjects completed the study. In both treatment groups, all WOMAC symptom dimension scores were significantly reduced compared with baseline, with reductions in the final battery (total symptom score) of 41 and 59% (P = 0.0001 and <0.0001) in the low and high dose groups respectively. In addition, improvements in total symptom score (P = 0.036) and the stiffness (P = 0.026) and physical function (P = 0.021) dimensions were significantly greater in the high-dose (400 mg per day) compared with the low-dose group. Compared to baseline, overall psychological well-being was significantly improved in both groups after treatment (P = 0.015 and P = 0.0003 in the low and high dose groups respectively), and again, a significant dose-response relationship was observed. We conclude that bromelain may be effective in ameliorating physical symptoms and improving general well-being in otherwise healthy adults suffering from mild knee pain in a dose-dependant manner. Double blind, placebo-controlled studies are now warranted to confirm these results.