Knee pain without a direct knee injury

Patient : I have never had a direct knee injury, but I have moderate to severe knee pain and swelling in both knees, with it being worse in the left knee. The swelling is in the back of the knee and right above the knee on the outside area of the leg. The pain is in the back of the knee and sometimes the front, in the center or lower area of the knee. The severity changes and they make popping noises sometimes. Icing helps a little. They mostly hurt when using stairs, walking, or running, but also hurt sometimes at rest. This has been going on, and gradually increasing in pain, for 2.5 months, about 6 months after I took up exercising again. I played sports for 10 years growing up, mostly soccer, and a little softball, and rugby (stopped playing everything 8 years ago). Could the pain just be wear and tear from the sports? And if so, what can I do to make it better? Also, I had the same pain about 2 years ago, but it went away all of a sudden, but is back now. Any advice would help.
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