Causes Of Meniscus Tears
Acute meniscus tears typically happen with more vigorous types of activities such as sports, particularly when twisting is involved.
Furthermore, even symptomatic meniscus tears can often be treated without surgery. Research shows that outcomes with nonsurgical treatment of degenerative meniscus tears is similar to that of surgical treatment .
Meniscectomy, surgical removal of part of the meniscus, can lead to quicker joint degeneration and increase chances for early onset of arthritis, so it is generally advised to leave as much of the meniscus intact as possible.
When You Feel Knee Pain
If you have knee pain, the thought of stretching might seem unpleasant. However, doing knee stretches when your knees hurt can help you feel better.
The key is to move slowly and gently. Hold each stretch for just a few seconds. If youre doing reps, start with a low number. As your muscles loosen up, you can increase the duration of each stretch.
You should stop if you feel new pain or if your existing pain gets worse. In this case, see a physical therapist for personalized guidance.
In addition to stretching your knees, there are other ways to keep them healthy. This includes:
How To Strengthen The Back Of Your Knee
Though the knee is a simple hinge joint moving in primarily one direction, it bears much of the weight of your body and the forces exerted during locomotion. The joint is made up mostly of ligaments and bone compared with your hip joints and shoulder joints, which are surrounded largely by muscles this bony configuration predisposes your knee to injury. The small mass of muscles covering the posterior aspect of your knees include the gastrocnemius, popliteus and the tendinous ends of your hamstrings. Exercises for these muscles will strengthen the back of your knees.
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Anatomy Of The Back Of The Knee
In order to better understand what youre stretching when performing a hamstring stretch lets talk about whats back there.
Interestingly, one of the main reasons its not your Hamstring thats stretching at the back of the knee, is that they dont sit at the back of the knee. The tendons go either side of the knee and insert to the top of the Tibia. Even the calf muscle which mirrors the hamstring tendons doesnt sit behind the knee either. It also travels either side.
There is one muscle that positions itself at the back of the knee – the Popliteus, but its role is a deep stabilizer of the knee. Its not what youre feeling when your trying to stretch those hamstrings either.
As you can see, the main structures that sit in the Popliteal Fossa at the back of the knee are actually nerves and vessels. The Tibial nerve – a component of the Sciatic Nerve is often the structure felt when stretching.
Exercises For Contracted Muscles Behind The Knee
Hamstrings and calf muscles are directly behind your knee. Contracted muscles result from tension and can cause muscle cramps. Stretching is needed to reduce the contraction and increase the flexibility of these muscles. Range of motion exercises, or stretching, assist in warming up your muscles. As always, check with your doctor prior to starting any exercise program.
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The Source Of The Pain
The first step to understanding how to treat your pain is figuring out what is causing it in the first place. Stretching will only help with certain conditions, with other more severe chronic conditions being completely unaffected by any exercise.
If the source of your pain is the result of recently undergoing surgery, suffering an injury, or even simply arthritis, stretching can help increase your range of motion while also mildly alleviating the pain you feel. Ordinarily, you might consider exercising an arthritic leg to be less than ideal as the condition is deeply rooted in genetic factors. However, exercising an arthritic leg is a good idea since keeping the knee still can worsen the stiffening and compound your pain further. Obviously, you need to be careful when it comes to exercising a leg suffering from arthritic conditions since overexertion will make it worse. Its a delicate balancing act.
There is no shortage of conditions that cause you to suffer from chronic pain in your knee:
No matter who you are, understanding the source of your pain is paramount to finding the best way to treat it. If you apply a blanket measure to a hurt knee without being sure of why it is in pain, you might wind up doing more harm than good when it comes to healing. As for the knee stretches you can use to help strengthen and heal, several variations offer different benefits.
Move : Standing Calf Stretch With Bent Knee
Play around with this stretch. You can even alternate back and forth between a straight and bent knee.
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Try These 10 Knee Stretches
Although these stretches dont require much effort, they will provide a well-rounded routine. Consult with a medical professional if you have pain. A physical therapist can demonstrate how to best stretch the muscles around the knees and provide any modifications you need for your health conditions. This can help you prevent injury and maintain full functional mobility of the knee.
You should stop the stretch if you feel any pain. You should only feel a deep stretch in each of the following:
Sit For The Janu Sirsasana
For Janu Sirsasana, sit on the floor with your legs in front of you. Bend the left knee and bring the sole of the left foot into the inner thigh of your right leg. Reach your arms straight in front of you. Actively stretch your gastrocnemius and hamstrings by strongly contracting the quadriceps of your right leg to move the back of the right leg down toward the floor, and dorsiflex your ankle by moving the top of your foot toward your face as much you can. Hold the stretch for six breaths. Repeat on the other side.
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How To Overcome Chronic Knee Or Ankle Pain
Knee pain can be one of the most unbearable experiences you might ever endure, and you would likely do anything to alleviate it. Fortunately, the resolution of chronic knee pain is difficult but not impossible. You can pursue several avenues to help relieve some of the pain you are feeling because of a chronic condition.
To clarify, one of the best things to do when suffering from chronic knee pain for the first time is to seek out professional medical assistance to diagnose the cause. Still, once you have been diagnosed, there is one approach to alleviating the pain that is becoming more and more popular. Stretching. Regularly employing stretches that work the affected part of your body can help you overcome the pain. The real trick is figuring out which exercises are best for your pain.
Smart Strategies To Rehab Your Own Knee Injury
There arent many injuries more debilitating than a knee injury. Trust me, I know from experience.
In my mid-twenties I tore my ACL during a basketball game. Eight months of rehab got me back to full strength, but three years later I tore it again, this time while snowboarding.
My second injury was more serious than the first. The ACL was torn, as was my meniscus, and I had created a hold in my cartilage that the surgeon described as being about the size of a nickel. The prognosis wasnt what I wanted to hear: No more sports, and no more running if I wanted my knee to hold up.
Before you continue reading this article, I want to stress that you should always seek professional help when diagnosing, treating, and rehabbing any injury, especially when it comes to your knees. I have worked with countless medical professionals over the past decade to help me rehabilitate my knee to the point it is at today.
And what has been the result?
I am able to run pain-free, play many sports that I love, and my knee health is as good as it was post-surgery ten years ago. This article explains how Ive rehabbed my knee, and how Ive helped many clients do the same.
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Single Knee To Chest Stretch
Move : Standing Hamstrings Stretch
This is similar to the chair hamstrings stretch. But because you do it from a standing position, you can get a wider range of motion and a deeper stretch.
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Bringing It All Together
When it comes to knee rehabilitation, taking things slow is always encouraged. Running back into the gym after a meniscus tear or an ACL injury is not a good idea, especially if your doctor advises you to rest.
But, taking things slow and stopping altogether for 6 months are two very different things. You should still be training in the gym, moving your joints, and definitely stretching as soon as possible post-injury. Doing so will help to speed up the recovery process, keep you from gaining weight, and will help strengthen the muscles around your knee to prevent injury in the future.
I often wonder if I could avoided my second injury if I had followed this advice ten years ago. Let my injury experience be a warning and motivator for you to take care of your knees right now.
Exercise And Knee Pain
If your knee pain is due to an injury, surgery, or arthritis, gentle stretching and strengthening exercises may help ease the pain while also improving your flexibility and range of motion.
Exercising a knee thats injured or arthritic may seem counterintuitive, but in fact, exercise is better for your knee than keeping it still. Not moving your knee can cause it to stiffen, and this may worsen the pain and make it harder to go about your daily activities.
Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises can strengthen the muscles that support your knee joint. Having stronger muscles can reduce the impact and stress on your knee, and help your knee joint move more easily.
Before you start an exercise program for knee pain, be sure to talk to your doctor or physical therapist to make sure the exercises are safe for you. Depending on your situation, they may recommend some modifications.
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Possible Causes Of Tightness Behind Knee
1. Bakers Cyst
A lump at the back of your knee could be due to Bakers cyst which can be caused by torn cartilage or fluid accumulation around the knee. Bakers cyst is alleviated by treating the underlying cause, as well as draining the knee with a syringe or needle. Youll be advised to rest your knee and use ice packs to ease the swelling.
2. ACL or PCL Injury
Rough play, awkward landings, pivoting and side-stepping can cause anterior cruciate ligament rupture. Following an ACL tear, patients feel intense knee pain which persists during walking, running and bending the knee.
The posterior cruciate ligament controls how far you can bend your knee. It is the primary stabilizing ligament within the knee. Injury to the PCL often causes the knee to stiffen and swell.
3. Pulled Hamstring
Sports commonly lead to thigh muscle strain or injury, causing tightness behind knee. This injury can also be due to poor conditioning, tightness, fatigue or imbalance in the muscles.
4. An Arthritic Origin
Osteoarthritis, degeneration of the knee joint, is one of the main reasons for disability in patients over 65, who may experience joint pain or stiffness. The condition is often linked with Bakers cyst.
Why Do Calf Or Hamstring Muscle Problems Cause Pain In Back Of The Knee
As you can see from the image above, the calves and hamstrings both cross the back of the knee joint and tendinopathy where they attach can be a common cause of this pain.
The hamstrings are made of up 3 muscles: the biceps femoris and the semitendinosis and semimembranosis which are the inner or medial hamstrings.
The semitendinosis tendon actually wraps around and attaches to the front of the knee and can be a common cause of pain on the inside of the knee.
The semimembranosis ends as a broad membrane that attaches broadly across the back of the knee. Parts of it attach into the tibia , the capsule in the back of the knee, as well as the medial meniscus.
There is also a bursa, or a fluid-filled sac that sits between the semimembranosus and the medial gastrocnemius which can be mistaken for a Baker’s cyst when inflamed.
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Is It Ok To Stretch With Knee Pain
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommend avoiding any exercise or activity that causes knee pain until the issue resolves.
Anyone who experiences pain in the knee when stretching should consider consulting a healthcare provider to check what stretches are safe for them.
A person can take several steps to help prevent injury and relieve knee pain.
How To Get Rid Of Stretch Marks On The Back Of The Knees
Stretch marks appear virtually all over the body, with most instances on the back of the knees, thighs, stomach and arms. This is caused by rapid expansion of the skin, harming the natural elasticity that keeps the skin youthful looking. Stretch marks on the back of the knees can make it difficult to wear shorts or skirts without worrying about the appearance of your legs.
Exercise your legs to target stretch marks. This helps tone the skin while building the muscles and fading stretch marks. Lie on the floor on your side. Rest your head on the arm nearest the floor and place your upper hand on the floor at your waist, palm down. With legs straight and toes pointed, raise the upper leg slowly till it is hip level. Hold for the count of five and lower back to the floor. Do 15 repetitions, then switch sides and work the other leg.
Apply a cream containing aloe vera and vitamin E, according to NaturalPregnancy.com. Massage a dime-sized amount into the stretch marks in a circular motion. The massage action stimulates blood flow while the aloe vera and vitamin E promote skin cell regeneration and collagen fiber production, improving skin elasticity.
Drink eight to ten glasses of water per day. Water keeps the skin moisturized from the inside out while flushing out toxins that can harm the skin by causing skin cell breakdown. Water keeps the skin plump and moisturized and helps fade stretch marks while supporting the skin’s natural healing process.
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Exercise : Popliteal Fossa Stretch
For this exercise, youll need the mini foam roller and Stretching Strap.
- Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you.
- Place the Stretching Strap around the ball of the foot of your affected leg.
- Lock your knee and place the mini foam roller under your heel.
- With your back straight, pull the Stretching Strap towards you until you feel a stretch along your calf muscle into the hollow of your knee.
- Intensify the stretch by leaning forward and pulling the Stretching Strap closer to you.
- Check to make sure that your back is straight.
- When the intensity of your stretch reaches between 8 and 9 on your personal pain scale, hold for 2 to 2.5 minutes.
- Slowly come out of the stretch and finish.
- Repeat on the other leg if necessary.
Why You Need To Stretch Your Quads Hamstrings And Hips To Relieve Knee Pain
To treat knee pain, you need to address the root cause of that pain.
Here’s how it works: Every muscle, joint, and bone in your body works together. If one piece of the human body puzzle becomes damaged or compromised, it forces the other surrounding pieces to pick up the slack. When a piece is forced to double-up on its workload, it often becomes injured.
Still with me? Great now let’s refer back to your knee joint.
Knee pain is often caused by tight quads particularly pain near the sides and front of the knee. Your lower body muscles are all intertwined. For example, your quadricep is made up of four muscles that connect near your knee and are responsible for stabilizing your patella . When your quad muscles get too tight, or you perform certain exercises without proper form , it can throw off the alignment of your patella. This problem is exacerbated by exercise. When you run, jump, or otherwise pound on your misaligned and, therefore, unstable kneecap, you push against a weakened foundation, causing injury.
That is what causes knee pain. And therefore, to treat knee pain, you need to shift your focus away from your knee and onto the root problem: The tight, seemingly unrelated muscle groups that started this entire domino effect.
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