In order to investigate the strength of any relationship between knee pain and disability, a postal questionnaire was sent to 2102 men and women aged over 55 registered at a general practice in Bristol. A response rate of 80.6% was achieved at second reminder. Knee pain was common particularly in women (27.6% overall). Disability was also more frequently reported in women (P less than 0.05) and rose with increasing age. Respondents with knee pain had significantly more disability relating to upper as well as lower limb activities (P less than 0.05).