Treating Lateral Knee Pain
Many of the aforementioned conditions, especially if its onset is gradual, are caused by overuse and poor training habits. For example, adding too heavy a load, too quickly or suddenly increasing the intensity of your workouts can be bad news for your knees.
Even playing sports on uneven, poorly maintained fields can cause major lateral knee pain. Of course, structural abnormalities can also prove to be the culprit, but most often, you can work with a Exercise Physiologist to fix any habits that arent serving you.
When you visit your physiotherapist to treat your lateral knee pain, youll likely be working on various knee flexion exercises using proper form. By increasing flexion of the knee and improving its range of motion, youre also less likely to experience an injury since youll have the tools to protect your knees from further damage, therefore relieving lateral knee pain.
For example, by applying pressure to the fibula and manually rotating the lower leg posteriorly, your physiotherapist can help increase the range of motion in your knee flexion with less lateral knee pain. If this therapy method helps, your physiotherapist can then use kinesthetic tape to hold the posterior rotation of the fibula in place for about 48 hours, giving your knee more range of motion while allowing your body to heal.
Check out our video going into more detail about this process
What Causes Runners Knee
Iliotibial band syndrome is a sign of excessive strain. Its caused by a combination of myofascial shortening and hardening, restricted mobility and lack of strength, and the imbalances that these result in.
Restricted mobility of the tensor fasciae latae muscle as a cause of ITBSThe tensor fasciae latae and glutes both extend out into the ITB and provide it with the tension it needs to create stability. If the tensor fasciae latae creates too much tension , the thigh rotates inward and the hip bends more. This also increases tension all along the iliotibial band causing greater friction on the outside of the knee. You could try to imagine it like a piece of string that keeps rubbing against the sharp edge of a stone. Sooner or later, this will cause irritation.
Lack of activity and weakness in the glutes as a cause of ITBSThe main role of the glutes muscles is to stretch the hip. Your body is completely upright and your thighs, pelvis and upper body are all in one straight, upright line. Our glutes suffer from the comfort we take in sitting down all the time. Constant compression severely limits the mobility and neuromuscular activity of these muscles. If the glutes are weak in the first place, they wont be able to maintain the balance with the tensor fasciae latae properly.
Pain Can Stem From A Condition Or Simply The Way That You Sit
Laken Brooks is a freelance writer with bylines in CNN, Inside Higher Ed, Good Housekeeping, and Refinery29. She writes about accessibility, folk medicine, and technology. She served as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Szczecin, Poland, and has worked with various museums and nonprofits.
Knee pain when you bend or flex the joint is often caused by arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, or patellofemoral pain. If your knees hurt when sitting, it may be from sitting in the wrong position or sitting for too long.
Most adults will experience knee pain when sitting on their heels or cross-legged. These positions put stress on the knee joints that can cause discomfort. However, if simply bending your knee or lowering yourself to sit in a chair causes pain, you should have your knee examined.
This article details different reasons your knees may hurt when bending, flexing, or sitting. It also discusses ways to relieve knee pain and how to protect your knees to prevent pain.
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Knee Pain On The Outside Of The Knee
Your knee is a complex part of your body. Various ligaments and bones, different types of cartilage, and the iliotibial band are located in and around your knee.
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A number of problems with these structures can lead to pain on the outside of your knee. These problems are often the result of repeatedly bending your knee during sports or during years and years of everyday activities. Trauma to the knee can also lead to outside knee pain. Treatment depends on the underlying cause.
How Is Iliotibial Band Syndrome Treated
Your healthcare provider might suggest several different treatment strategies to help ease your symptoms. These might include:
- Limiting activities that make your knee pain worse for a while , and returning to these activities slowly
- Icing the outside of your knee
- Taking over-the-counter pain medicines
- Getting corticosteroid shots to decrease inflammation
- Making changes to your activity, like lowering your bicycle seat for cycling or improving your running form
- Practicing special exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles around your hip and your knee
You may find it helpful to work with a physical therapist as well.
These changes help most people with iliotibial band syndrome. Your healthcare provider might advise surgery if you still have significant symptoms after 6 months of trying these other therapies. Several different surgical choices exist, including one that removes the part of the iliotibial band that moves over the femur. You can discuss all your surgical choices with your healthcare provider.
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When To See A Doctor For Lateral Knee Pain While Kneeling
If any of the following is happening, please seek medical advice:
- You cant bear weight on the injured leg.
- You cant straighten your knee.
- The pain and swelling arent improving after 72 hours.
- The other leg is starting to hurt as well.
- Your knee is clicking or popping, but it didnt before the injury.
- You have unexplained weight loss.
- The pain doesnt let you sleep.
- You feel like the knee is giving out under you.
- Theres a visual deformity on the knee joint.
- You have a fever.
Your doctor will perform a physical exam to determine the cause of knee pain. They may need blood or imaging tests as well.
Once the diagnosis is ready, your healthcare providers will design the treatment plan.
How Do You Describe Your Pain
I know, its a tough question sometimes, Dr. Burg says. But you probably can tell the difference between a dull, throbbing pain and a sharp, burning sensation.
Thats important. A sharp, burning sensation moreoften indicates an irritated nerve rather than a joint or ligament problem. Onthe other hand, you might describe pain from arthritis as more constant andachy.
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Possible Causes Of Pain
Quadriceps tendonitis this is caused by the irritation, strain or injury to the quadriceps tendon.
This affects the underside of the kneecap and the trochlear groove in the femur in which it moves. When the articular cartilage covering the surfaces of the bone wears away and becomes inflamed the bones come into contact with each other resulting in pain.
A plica is the fold in the thin synovial membrane that lines the knee joint. There were four of these folds in the knee joint originally, but they often become absorbed during foetal development. About 50% of the population is thought to have the remains of the embryonic plicae. When a plica becomes inflamed, perhaps because of repetitive knee movement, trauma or twisting, it causes pain and weakness in the knee.
Lateral patellar facet overload syndrome
This refers to dull aching pain underneath, around the sides or below kneecap. It is caused by increased pressure on the lateral facet of the patella. The reason for this is improper tracking, poor alignment or dislocation of the kneecap. The condition is often apparent during repetitive exercise such as climbing stairs.
Proximal Tibiofibular Joint Dislocation
Proximal tibiofibular joint dislocation is one of the most unusual causes of lateral knee pain. It affects the joint between the top of the shin bone and the fibular, the small, thin bone that runs down the outer side of the shin, just below the knee joint on the outer side.
It takes a large force to dislocate the joint, e.g. a car accident, but it can also partially dislocate usually due to a fall when the foot is plantarflexed , which often also damages the tibiofibular ligament.
Symptoms usually include outer knee pain, instability especially during deep squats and sometimes an obvious deformity at the side of the knee. There may also be associated damage to the peroneal nerve leading to pins and needles or numbness around the outer knee.
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Pain On The Outside Of The Knee
Pain on the outside of the knee oftentimes is referred to as lateral knee pain. It can be caused by an injury or repetitive activity. The pain can be intermittent or constant. There are many causes of lateral knee pain which include osteoarthritis, meniscus injuries, ligament laxity, and iliotibial band dysfunction.
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When Do You Feel Better Or Worse
For instance, does walking up or down a flight of stairs trigger pain behind your kneecap? That could be a sign of osteoarthritis. With osteoarthritis, pain also tends to get worse over the day as youre more active.
On the other hand, pain that starts strong in the morning and gets better as you move during the day sounds more like an inflammatory condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
If you are seeing a doctor, make note of all of this. The smallest details even the resting positions that bring you the most relief will help infinding the right diagnosis.
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Lateral Tibial Plateau Fracture
The tibial plateau is located at the top of the shin at the knee. A break on the outer or lateral part of the tibial plateau can cause considerable knee pain. A lateral tibial plateau fracture is often the result of a vehicle accident or a bad fall that impacts the outer knee directly.
If the bones are still aligned, surgery may not be required to treat the injury. If not, you may need surgery to place the affected bones in their proper position and secure them with screws or plates.
Why Does My Knee Hurt When I Bend My Leg
Your knee can cause pain because of several reasons. Some of them are:
- Injury or trauma to the knee ligaments or joint: it may cause sharp pain and difficulty in moving your knee
- Patellofemoral syndrome: causes pain in front of your knee
- Iliotibial band syndrome: causes pain in your knee that spread to your thigh or hip
- Patellar tendonitis: causes burning pain in your kneecap
- Hamstring tendonitis: causes pain behind your knee and/or thigh
- Quadriceps tendonitis: leads to pain in front of your knee
- Osteoarthritis: causes diffuse knee swelling, stiffness, and pain, especially in the morning
- Knee bursitis: may cause warmth, swelling, and pain below or over the knee
- Bakers cyst: may cause swelling and tightness behind your knee
Where exactly do you feel knee pain when bending? Is the pain behind your knee or above it? Knowing the location of your knee pain can help you identify the cause. So, take notes if you have the following types of knee pain.
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Causes Of Inner Knee Pain
The inside or medial part of the knee contains a wide variety of bones, ligaments, and soft tissue structures, all contained within a relatively small area. Because of this, pain in this area of the joint can be tough to diagnose.
Several of the most common conditions that cause medial knee symptoms are listed below.
What Is Hamstring Tendonitis
The hamstring muscle group includes two inner, or medial, muscles. These muscles are known as the semitendinosus and semimembranosus. Theres also an outer, or lateral, muscle the bicep femoris. Tendons, a type of connective tissue, attach these muscles to the pelvis, knee, and shinbones, and allow the knee to flex and the hip to extend.
When hamstring tendons are overused or misused, tiny tears occur, causing inflammation and pain.
Cases of hamstring tendonitis can be lateral or medial depending on the muscles involved. They can also be described as distal, involving the tendons around the:
Tendon inflammation is technically called tendinitis, but popular use of tendonitis has made the terms interchangeable. Tendonitis is often confused with tendinosis, a chronic condition caused by repetitive overuse or injury.
The most common symptoms of hamstring tendonitis include:
- sharp, burning pain
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Outside Knee Pain When Bending
One possible cause of outside knee pain when bending is a condition called patellofemoral pain syndrome. This occurs when the kneecap rubs against the femur and causes irritation and inflammation. Treatment for patellofemoral pain syndrome includes ice, rest, and physical therapy.
If you have pain behind your knee while bending, it is most likely caused by a very sharp pain in the knee as you bend. If your knee pain is mild, a home remedy may be beneficial. You should treat knee pain while bending based on what caused it. Physical therapy can help you improve your knees strength, mobility, and flexibility. Orthotics are shoe inserts that aid in the stabilization of your ankles and feet. An athlete who is experiencing pain may be required to wear a brace or cast. Mild knee pain while bending is typically not a cause for concern.
A doctor can determine what is causing your symptoms, which can help you get relief. Recovery time can vary greatly depending on the type of surgery required, and can range between 8 weeks and 12 months. You will typically need between 8 and 12 months after surgery to fully recover. It is possible to reduce your chances of developing knee pain or to prevent it.
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Does Patellar Tendonitis Ever Go Away
Typically, tendinitis goes away in a few weeks or months. Your doctor may recommend extra treatments for particularly stubborn cases. To keep tendinitis from coming back, ask your doctor about exercises to improve flexibility and address and muscle imbalances that may be placing stress on your knees.
Taking It On The Kneecap
Diagnosing and treating patellofemoral pain.
Studies have shown that roughly half of recreational runners will suffer an injury during their training year, with the knee as the most common site of injury. Kneecap pain can be debilitating and frustrating, and the prolonged pain and dysfunction lead many to abandon or limit running. Kneecap pain is sometimes referred to as runners knee, chondromalacia patella or patellofemoral pain.
The knee joint is comprised of three bones: the tibia, the femur and the kneecap or patella. The patellofemoral joint generally refers to the kneecap and its underlying groove or trochlea, with which it articulates. The four muscles of the quadriceps share a common attachment on the patella. The kneecap plays an important role as it lengthens the lever arm of the muscles and tendons of the quad and protects the front of the knee from direct trauma. Because its subjected to forces up to 8 times bodyweight with running and jumping, the cartilage underneath the kneecap is among the thickest in the body. This cartilage is a natural shock absorber and protects the bony surfaces of the joint from stress. While cartilage doesnt have any nerve supply, the underlying bone is highly innervated and becomes vulnerable when no longer protected by the padding of the cartilage.
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Symptoms and Sources
Weak, Tight Hips
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Sore Spot On Knee Cap
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Symptoms Of Outer Knee Pain
The symptoms of outer knee pain will vary depending on the type of injury you have. Outer knee pain may feel dull and your knee may ache, or the pain can be sharp and limited to one area. You may have swelling from fluid that collects, or your knee may click or lock .
If you have iliotibial band syndrome, you may have pain all over the outside of your knee or the pain may be sharp and in one area. If your injury is mild, you might notice the pain come on after a certain time or distance when youre running, for example. And it may get better when you stop. If your injury is more severe, it might be painful to walk or even sit with your knee bent.
If you have a lateral collateral ligament injury, the outside of your knee will be painful. This ligament helps to keep your knee stable, so you may feel as if your knee is going to give way. You may have swelling around your knee, or pins and needles in your foot. You might find the pain is worse when you walk or run on uneven ground.
Symptoms of a torn meniscal cartilage include pain and your knee may also feel stiff, and lock or catch. There may be some swelling that may gradually get worse and you may find it difficult to fully straighten your leg. Pain can come and go, as can the swelling.
Pain from an anterior cruciate ligament injury will be sudden and you may hear a pop. Your knee is likely to swell from internal bleeding and may feel as if its going to give way.
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