What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of A Knee Injury
The signs and symptoms of a knee injury depend on the cause. Most knee injuries cause pain. A knee injury may also lead to the knee feeling weak, “giving way,” or “locking.” Someone with a knee injury might not be able to fully bend or straighten the knee. The injured knee may be swollen or bruised.
Types Of Pain Behind The Knee
There are a number of health conditions that may result in pain behind your knee. Two common conditions that cause it are a:
- posterior cruciate ligament injury
- popliteal cyst, also called Bakers cyst
A posterior cruciate ligament injury can happen if you overstretch or tear this ligament, which runs across your knee from your thigh to your shin bone. It often results from a heavy blow to the front of your knee while its bent. This can happen if you hit your knee on the dashboard during a car accident, or over-straighten your leg and bend your knee backwards. Doctors call this hyperextension.
A cyst is a collection of fluid or material inside a thin layer of tissue. A popliteal cyst is a cyst in the shallow pit at the back of your knee. Its often linked to other conditions that affect the knee, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or cartilage injuries. If you injure your knee, it can cause a collection of fluid to develop within your knee. Sometimes you can feel this in the depression at the back of your knee.
Osteoarthritis of the knee is another common cause of knee pain. The smooth, shiny cartilage that lines your knee joint becomes worn and rough. This causes pain and damages your knee over time. It mostly affects people over 50. The older you are, the more likely you are to get it.
What Causes Pain Behind The Knee
Pain behind the knee can be caused by several conditions, including a Bakers cyst, arthritis, an injury to leg muscles, tendinitis, and even bone fractures. A visit to a doctor may be necessary to determine the exact cause or causes of pain behind the knee, especially if the pain is recurring or chronic.
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Tendon And Muscle Injuries Causing Pain Behind Knee
Tendon injuries often occur in runners due to overload. The tendons most likely to be affected include the hamstring on the inside or outside . Rarely, a small tendon called the popliteus wrapping around the outside of the knee joint can become swollen and painful.
In addition, hamstring muscle tears can occur close to the outside of the knee. Usually, these tears occur about 5cm above the knee joint. It is important to define the exact location of the tear, as location determines the time to return to sport.
Finally, a pulled calf muscle near the knee can also cause pain in this area.
On One Hand A Benign Pink Mark From Trauma Can Resemble The Pink Or Red Of A Blood Clot
A harmless bruise can also be large and quite ugly, while a blood clot that looks like a mere dark pink area can lead to a fatal condition.
Certainly its not practical to rush to the emergency room every time you discover a pink or reddish area on your skin or feel a tender spot on your leg.
But there are key signs of a harmless bruise vs. a dangerous blood clot to be on the lookout for.
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What Are The Causes Of A Popliteal Cyst
Synovial fluid is a clear liquid that normally circulates through the cavities in your knee joint. Sometimes the knee produces too much of this fluid. The increasing pressure forces the fluid to the back of the knee via a one-way valve, where it creates a bulge. This severe swelling of the knee causes a popliteal cyst to form.
The most common causes of a popliteal cyst are:
- damage to the knees cartilage
- arthritis of the knee
- rheumatoid arthritis
- other knee conditions that cause joint inflammation
Since the knee is a complicated joint, it can be injured easily. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons , about 10.4 million Americans saw their doctors about a knee problem in 2010, making it the most common reason for seeing an orthopedic specialist. Such injuries may cause the inflammation that leads to a popliteal cyst.
A blood clot can also cause bruising and swelling behind the knee and on the back of the calf. Its important that your doctor examines the swelling to determine if the cause is a cyst or a clot.
You may not feel any pain with a popliteal cyst. In some cases, you may not notice it at all. If you do experience symptoms, they might include:
- mild to severe pain
Cold Therapy & Compression
Apply the PRICE principles of rest, ice, compression and elevation. A cold therapy compression wrap is ideal. Ice can be applied for 10 to 15 minutes every hour initially reducing the frequency as symptoms reduce.
Monitor the bruising to ensure pain and the colour of the bruising decreases over the following days.
- Read more on the PRICE principles.
Never apply heat, or use sports massage after a contusion injury or bruise. This is likely to increase bleeding and may lead to Myositis Ossificans. This is where bone starts to grow within muscle tissue.
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What Is A Knee Contusion
A knee contusion is bruising caused by direct trauma to muscle, or bone. Whilst most bruised knees are not serious, a very hard impact may result in intense pain and difficulty moving the leg.
If this is the case, then medical attention should be sought as soon as possible to rule out other injuries such as:
Whilst bruising at the knee usually occurs following an impact injury, it may also occur following any kind of soft tissue damage. For example, a knee sprain , or a strain to a surrounding muscle or tendons .
Bruising occurs due to damage to some of the smaller blood vessels within the injured tissue. The blood leaks into the surrounding tissues, resulting in a black or blue appearance under the skin. Bruising usually develops within 24 hours of an injury. This will then slowly fade, appearing yellow or green as the blood dissipates.
What Is Pain And Swelling Behind The Knee
The knee is one of the most important joint areas of the human body. It is an important joint that mediates the full performance of walking and running functions.
Many discomforts can occur in the knee area. One of them is pain and swelling behind the knee . There are many reasons that cause back knee pain.
Structures that can cause pain or swelling behind the knee may include:
- knee joint
Pain and swelling behind the knee can occur for some common or rare reasons . Some of these reasons require immediate medical attention.
|Heres what you should know about pain behind the knee:
If you have been experiencing pain, swelling or a number of other symptoms behind the knee for some time , you should see a doctor. Your doctor will try to diagnose the cause of this condition .
This condition usually occurs as a result of simple knee injuries and can be easily treated with rest and medication.
Back of the knee pain can sometimes be caused by a more serious cause . Such conditions may require surgery or other medical interventions.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Bone Bruise
Symptoms of a bone bruise can include:
- Pain and tenderness in the injured area
- Swelling in the area and soft tissues around it
- Change in color of the injured area
- Swelling of an injured joint
- Stiffness of an injured joint
This pain is often more severe and lasts longer than a soft tissue injury. How severe your symptoms are and how long they last depend on how severe the bone bruise is.
Complications Of Knee Buckling
Complications of weak knees may include:
- Recurrent falls
- Lack of confidence with balance
- Feeling scared or nervous about future falls
- Injuries because of falls
You should see your healthcare provider if you are experiencing the sensation of your knee giving out.
Seek immediate medical care if your knee gives out and you experience severe pain, significant swelling, or a fever.
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Clinical Findings Of A Lump On The Side Of Knee
Not all lumps on the side of the knee are obvious or painful. In cases where the lump is due to a meniscal cyst, the more common symptoms include pain with standing, swelling in the knee joint, and a lump or bump on the side of the knee that can change in size.
When examining the knee, we often find a lump close to the joint line. The lump is usually soft and may or may not be painful. Also, twisting or rotating the knee can cause pain.
Generally, we use an MRI to diagnose the cyst and the corresponding tear. However, an ultrasound can also confirm a meniscal cyst.
Written byDr. Victor MarchionePublished onNovember 23, 2016
Pain behind knee is not unusual, but it can hurt and limit movement. Developing a clear understanding of pain behind knee causes can be important.
When we refer to pain behind knee, we are really talking about discomfort or soreness behind the knee joint. This uncomfortable feeling can happen to a person who still has movement in their knee or it can severely limit movement. Sometimes, pain behind knee is accompanied by inflammation or a burning sensation. In many cases, the soreness is nothing to worry about. There are situations where the pain does not disappear, and there is swelling or even bruising. If this happens to you, it is important to seek medical attention.
Why Is The Back Of My Knee Swollen
Generally, swelling at the back of the knee is due to a Bakers cyst. However, Bakers cysts are not usually painful. If you experience severe pain and swelling behind the knee, then you must see your doctor. Sometimes, large Bakers cysts can become painful. Other causes include DVT or popliteal aneurysms.
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Whats Behind The Knee
The back of the knee has complicated anatomy.
As well as the knee joint that sits in the middle, there are muscles from the thigh and calf that pass through this area. Firstly, the large hamstring muscles start from the pelvis and pass across the knee to attach to the lower leg bones. In addition, the large calf muscles start at the bottom part of the thigh and cross the knee to form the large Achilles tendon.
Finally, there are important nerves and blood vessels that cross the back of the knee to supply the lower leg and foot.
Have A Knee Contusion Take It Seriously Even If There Is No Swelling Or Bruising At First
Knee injuries resulting from blunt trauma, such as a fall or car accident, can be severe. Several of the symptoms, including the following, sometime only emerge hours or even days after the injury:
- Soft tissue damage
- Torn tendons and knee ligaments
- Knee cartilage damage
- Damage to blood vessels in the knee area
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What Are Some Less Common Causes Of Bruising And What Do They Indicate
The terminology describing different types of bruising often refers to not only their appearance but also to their cause. Petechiae are 1- to 3-millimeter accumulations of blood beneath the skin. These can appear like multiple tiny red dots on any part of the body . Most often these are multiple, and they can suggest that there is a serious health problem present. Examples of these are an infection of the valves of the heart or abnormal function of the blood-clotting elements . Bruising around the navel can be a result of bleeding within the abdomen. Bruising behind the ear can indicate that there is a skull fracture. Also, bruises that are raised, firm, multiple, and occur without any injury can be a sign of various types of “autoimmune” diseases . Each of these should be evaluated by a doctor.
Avoid taking the medications listed above that can contribute to bruising. If you have any questions about whether or not your medication can contribute to bruising, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Do not stop any prescription medications without first contacting your doctor.
Finally, pressure applied to the area can reduce bleeding.
People who take medicines that reduce clotting or have clotting abnormalities should seek the advice of a physician immediately, as should the elderly or those who have experienced significantly severe trauma.
Why Do Bruises Occur More Frequently In Some People Than In Others
The injury required to produce a bruise varies with age. Bruising occurs more easily in the elderly because their capillaries are more fragile than those of young people. While it may take quite a bit of force to cause a bruise in a young child, even minor bumps and scrapes may cause extensive bruising in an elderly person. Blood vessels become more fragile as we age, and bruising may even occur without prior injury in the elderly.
The amount of bruising may also be affected by medications which interfere with blood clotting . These drugs include many arthritis medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories and over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin. Warfarin is often prescribed by doctors specifically to prevent clotting in patients who have had blood clots in their legs or heart. Warfarin can cause severe bruising, especially if the level of the medication becomes too high. Cortisone medications, such as prednisone, promote bruising by increasing the fragility of the tiny blood vessels in the skin.
Patients with inherited clotting problems or acquired clotting problems can develop extensive bruising, unexplained bruising, or even life-threatening bleeding. Sometimes spontaneous bruising is a sign of a bone marrow problem.
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Signs That A Blood Clot Has Traveled To The Brain Heart Or Lungs
Sudden difficulty breathing
Sudden onset of slurred speech, facial paralysis, limb weakness or paralysis, vision problems, confusion
Sudden chest pain, especially if accompanied by jaw, arm and/or back pain
Sudden sweating or nausea
Any bruising that lasts for longer than a few weeks should also be evaluated, especially if the area is still very painful.
New bruises that you know for sure were not caused by trauma should also be evaluated.
Teri Drehers 35+ years of experience combines critical care nursing, home based healthcare and cardiovascular clinical nursing.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. Shes also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.
Knee Pain Caused By Nerve Aggravation
This is an incredibly common cause for pain in the back of your knee. As an official diagnosis, it refers to aggravation or compression of the sciatic nerve .
Most often, sciatica is caused by compression of the nerve roots in either your lower back or from soft tissue in the buttocks. People often describe the sensation as a pain that travels or shoots down their limbs, commonly hitting that tender spot behind the knee.
Sciatica is typically diagnosed in your 50s, though its possible for it to start as early as your 20s or 30s. Research estimates that, on average, you can have up to a 40% chance of experiencing sciatica at some point in your life.
Luckily, though, since its a common diagnosis that afflicts a wide population, theres plenty of research surrounding methods for alleviating that radiating pain.
The most effective solution is to seek physical therapy. Your treatment will likely focus on improving movement patterns that is, working on your movement during activities that compress or load the lower back. Depending on your general lifestyle habits, this could include anything from stretching to core strengthening, or lifting education and manual manipulation of the tissues.
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Why Do I Have A Throbbing Pain Behind My Knee
Pain Behind the Knee Bakers Cyst. Swelling develops in the popliteal bursa at the back of the knee. Knee Sprain Posterior Cartilage Tear Calf Strain/Tear. Symptoms: Pain in back of knee or calf, bruising, swelling & difficulty walking. Knee Arthritis. Hyperextended Knee. Deep Vein Thrombosis A DVT is a blood clot in one of the deep leg veins. Hamstring Injuries.
Tennis Leg Causing Muscle Pain And Swelling Behind The Knee
A condition called tennis leg can also cause pain in the back of your leg behind the knee.
Tennis leg is associated with damage to the gastrocnemius where damage to the muscle and the soleus muscle in the calf causes a buildup of fluid.
According to the journal Radiology Case Reports, tennis leg is often a result of sports injuries. Damage to the calf muscles can cause swelling and pain in the posterior knee.10
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