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What Causes Extreme Pain Behind The Knee

Common Causes Of Knee Pain

What causes sharp pain behind knee? How can it be managed? – Dr. Navinchand D J

Your knee is a complex structure. It includes three bones:

  • The lower part of the thighbone
  • The upper part of the shinbone
  • The kneecap

Strong ligaments and tendons hold these bones together. Cartilage under the kneecap cushions and stabilizes the bones.

Any damage or disease in these structures can cause knee pain.

Common causes of knee pain include:

  • Arthritis

Common Causes Of Pain Behind The Knee

Sometimes pain behind the knee is simply due to muscle strains. These injuries usually heal in a matter of days. However, this is only one possibility. There can also be pain behind the knee as a result of systemic diseases or some life-threatening conditions. Below we take a look at just what the different potential causes are.

Tight Hamstrings Or Neural Tension

Many people end up experiencing tight hamstrings despite stretching on a regular basis.

Sometimes this tightness will be alleviated with more consistent, targeted stretching. But if youre diligent about it and still dont feel any changes in your flexibility, your tight hamstrings may actually be a symptom of neural tension.

Neural tension typically starts within the sciatic nerve and mimics a similar sensation as tight hamstrings, but youre also more likely to experience a sharper feeling in the back of your knee when stretching.

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Complications Of Pain Behind The Knee

If left untreated, moderate to severe pain behind the knee can affect your everyday activities:

  • You might have difficulty moving around, as pain behind the knees can cause limited mobility and stiffness
  • Skin discoloration around the knee
  • Tenderness or extreme soreness of the skin surrounding the kneethis may even spread to the entire lower limb
  • Pain and swelling

Aching Cramp Tiredness Or Numbness At The Back Of The Knee And Calf


Is most likely due to Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome, where the artery becomes compressed due to pressure on it from the muscles and tendons around the knee. The blood supply to the artery is reduced or cut off. This can occur due to overuse or because of athletic activity, particularly if the calf muscles and muscles around the artery become over-developed due to exercise. Normally the artery will simply recover, but if the problem is persistent medical help should be sought.

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Tendon Pain Behind Knee Other Causes

As you may have noticed, the issue could relate to injury or an underlying illness. With an injury, you should know if you hurt yourself that makes eliminating specific problems easy.

We have others to share, so keep reading and making your assessments. That way, you can be sure which condition may relate to you.

Damage To The Ligaments Of The Knee

Ligaments are strong, flexible, fibrous and elastic connective tissue which connect one bone to another, provide stability and support joints. They do not connect muscles to joints, that is done by the tendons.

The ligaments of the knee comprise the medial and lateral collateral ligaments, on the inside and outside of the knee respectively, which give sideways stability to the knee joint, and the anterior and posterior cruciate ligament at the front and back of the knee. There is also a patellar tendon, which is really a ligament, which attaches the bottom of the patella to the top of the tibia.

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What Is The Pain Behind The Knee

As the name indicates, the pain behind the knee is an ache behind your kneecap or in the joint. Pain can start after sudden, uncomfortable movement, overuse of the muscular tissue, injuries such as fractures or twists, and medical conditions like arthritis or infection. You can sense the pain as sharp and severe or mild and dull. In addition, you may feel inflammation or swelling, and you may be unable to extend your leg.

In the beginning, you may only experience mild symptoms, but if you ignore them and dont treat them properly, the pain will become worse, and you may develop chronic pain over time.

Some of the common symptomsto identify posterior knee pain may include aching knee, audible snap in the knee, rapid swelling, bruising, burning pain, impact to the knee, instability, knee joint pain, pain when kneeling, running or sitting, kneecap pain, swollen or twisted knee.

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People who are most prone to experience all sorts of knee pain are athletes. However, according to medical data, women are even more likely to experience knee pain than men. Also, its common for older people to suffer from knee pain because of osteoarthritis.

Now when we have defined the pain behind the knee, lets see what the possible causes are.

Discomfort Aching And Tightness In The Knee Grating And Pain Behind The Kneecap When Bending The Knee Or When It Is Exercised After A Period Of Rest

What is Causing the Pain Behind Your Knee, How to Tell

May be due to chondromalacia patella. In this condition the cartilage on the underside of the patella softens and deteriorates. Some people are able to ignore the condition, but it will not improve and will probably need surgery. Sometimes an unstable flap of surface cartilage may cause this pain, and may be curable with simple keyhole surgery and a chondroplasty.

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I Feel Numbness Behind My Knee Is This Serious

Temporary numbness may be because you have been sitting for a while in a position which has compressed the nerves in the back of your leg or reduced the blood flow. This is called paresthesia and will dissipate when you start walking around again. However, if the numbness persists it could be due to many different causes, for example it may be a sign of an underlying condition such as a back problem, diabetes or a nerve disorder. You should visit your doctor to discover the reason for the numbness.

Because your knees bear the bodys weight and are subject to movement in a number of planes they can be quite vulnerable to trauma and to conditions resulting from trauma and wear and tear.

There are a number of different types of condition which can cause pain to the back of the knee. These include strains or tears to the muscle or tendons, damage to the ligaments, damage to the cartilage within the knee joint, excess fluid in the knee or blood vessel problems.

The information given below will give you an indication of the problem you may be having, but is not intended that you diagnose yourself. Also this guide is intended for pain behind the knee itself if your pain is part of general joint pain there will be other reasons for this and you should consult a doctor.

Find Knee Pain Treatment Near You

Several things can cause sudden knee pain.

If your knee pain doesnt go away, though, you should see a doctor right away.

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, complete a physical exam, and order imaging tests like x-rays or MRIs.

After they can properly diagnose your knee pain, they will discuss your treatment options.

Quick treatment can prevent a short-term knee issue from becoming long-term, chronic pain.

Theres no reason for you to suffer from chronic knee pain, especially when the Ethos Health Group is here to help.

If you want to learn more about what the Ethos Health Group can do for your knee pain, click the button below to schedule a free consultation.

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Treating A Bakers Cyst

Treatment will not usually be necessary if you have a Bakers cyst that is not causing any symptoms.

Painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can be used to reduce the swelling and relieve any pain. A knee support or an ice pack may also help. A bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel works well as an ice pack.

If you have an underlying condition thats causing your cyst, its important that the condition is properly managed. The cyst may disappear when the condition causing it has been treated.

In some cases, it may be possible to drain the cyst. Surgery may also be needed to repair any significant damage around the knee joint.

Page last reviewed: 04 October 2021 Next review due: 04 October 2024

Tennis Leg Causing Muscle Pain And Swelling Behind The Knee

Pain Behind Knee: Here

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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Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries

The posterior cruciate ligament plays a similar role to the ACL, though it is less likely to become injured than the ACL.

PCL injuries may happen during traumatic events, such as falling directly onto the knee from a height or being in a vehicle accident. With enough force, the ligament may tear completely.

PCL injuries cause symptoms such as:

  • knee pain
  • stiffness in the knee if bending
  • difficulty walking
  • swelling in the knee

Completely resting the knee may help a PCL strain heal. However, a severe PCL injury may require surgery.

What Causes Pain Behind The Knee

Pain behind the knee can be caused by several conditions, including a Baker’s 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. In many cases, pain behind the knee will go away on its own given enough rest, proper exercise and stretching, but more severe instances of knee pain may require surgery. This is not a common option, however, and it is reserved for degenerative conditions or especially traumatic injuries.

A strained or torn hamstring can lead to pain behind the knee. The hamstring is a long muscle that connects to tendons secured behind the knee, so when this muscle becomes injured, the pain may be felt anywhere along its length, including behind the knee. A hamstring strain occurs when the tiny fibers that make up the muscle begin to tear due to overstretching or undue stress on the muscle. A muscle tear or rupture occurs when the hamstring separates entirely from itself or the tendons. This is an extremely painful condition that may need to be repaired surgically, so if one experiences pain behind the knee as a result of a muscle rupture, he or she should seek medical attention immediately.

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How Does A Meniscal Cyst Develop

Usually, a tear forms in the meniscal cartilage from degeneration or an acute injury. Fluid from the knee joint then leaks out of the tear forming a cyst. So, a meniscal cyst is not a true cyst but an outpouching of displaced knee fluid. Also, the cartilage tear can form a one-way valve preventing the fluid from going back into the knee. The fluid then collects as a cyst below knee cap.

Often, meniscal cysts form in people with a past history of a knee injury, cartilage damage, or contact or twisting sports. Also, the presence of arthritis predisposes to the formation of a cyst on side of knee.

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Pain Behind The Knee When Walking Or Running

What are the causes of knee pain?

The cause of pain at the back of the leg behind the knee could be hamstring tendonitis. This is caused by the tendons of the hamstring becoming inflamed, often due to overuse of the hamstring muscles, but the pain will subside after rest and first aid centred on the RICE method .

If you notice a sudden sharp pain in the back of the thigh when undergoing vigorous exercise this may be due to a pull, partial tear or tear of the hamstring, and is due to overloading the muscle. This type of injury is most often treated by a doctor. A similar pain in the calf may be due to gastrocnemius tendonitis.

A tenderness behind the knee, felt when rotating the leg inwards in the act of walking could denote an injury to the popliteus muscle. A cold pack applied for 10 minutes every hour for the first day after injury can alleviate the symptoms.

All the muscles at the back of the leg can be subject to cramp. This is a common condition and occurs when a muscle goes into spasm. The symptoms are a tightening of the muscle accompanied by pain. Amongst other causes, it could be due to dehydration, muscle fatigue or a restriction of the blood supply to the affected muscles. Cramp is not serious and can be relieved by relaxing, massaging and stretching the affected muscle.

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Common Causes Of Inner Knee Pain

There are a variety of causes of inner knee pain. Many of them can be linked to an injury. Some of the most common incidents that cause knee injury and pain include falls, sports injuries, or increased activity.

Adults particularly those older than 60 are most likely to experience knee pain. However, inner knee pain can also occur in children and adolescents.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the most common causes of inner knee pain in children are:

  • patellar subluxation

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Pathophysiology And Etiology Of Pain

Pain is a normal manifestation of everyday life and serves as a protective mechanism for the body, causing the individual to react to try to eliminate the pain stimulus. However, excessive pain after a TKA can diminish or hinder quality of life. This form of pain typically originates in the peripheral nervous system .

The PNS consists of all the nerves outside of the brain and the spinal cord. It is made up of bundles of axons which are enclosed by connective tissue to maintain the continuity, nourish and protect the axon. Each axon in the PNS can be surrounded by a myelin sheath, called a Schwann cell sheath, and these two together form a nerve fibre. An axon can be myelinated once it reaches a thickness of one or two micro metre. The difference between a myelinated and non-myelinated nerve fibre is the conduction velocity . Nerve fibres can therefore be classified into different types depending on their diameter and conducting velocity.

The problem with pain receptors is that, unlike smell or taste for example, they adapt very little and sometimes not at all. The continuous excitation of nociceptors, therefore, tends to lead to a chronic aching pain. This increase in sensitivity of the nociceptors is called hyperalgesia.

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Osteoarthritis And Pain In The Back Of The Knee

Osteoarthritis is a widespread cause of pain behind your knee. Some of you might also note that you have a loss of motion and can not fully bend the knee. The pain from arthritis can be due to inflammation of the structures behind the knee. That irritates the lining or inside of the knee joint and makes the joint stiff and painful.

If osteoarthritis is causing pain in the back of the knee you might note that the pain can refer up the back of the thigh, or down into the calf. Many of you with arthritic knee pain will benefit from wearing a compression sleeve or brace. You will also find that gentle stretching, an ice pack, or a warm compress can help calm arthritic pain.

If the pain does not improve over a few days, consider seeing your doctor to look into why the back of your knee hurts.

When To See Your Doctor

Don’t wait if your knee pain is sudden and intense. Pick up the phone if it won’t go away or gets worse.

To make a diagnosis, your doctor might take X-rays or other images of your knee. Blood or knee fluid samples can help confirm or rule out certain conditions. Treatment may include medication, special exercises, braces, or in some cases surgery. Losing weight could help lessen pressure and strain on your knees.


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What Causes Severe Knee Pain

Severe knee pain often comes on suddenly and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as swelling, instability, hot, red skin or there may be an obvious deformity of the leg, depending on the underlying cause.

Here we will look at the most common causes of severe knee pain and what signs to watch out for that indicate there is something serious going on that requires immediate medical attention:

Knee Pain Treatment In Boynton Beach Fl

Other issues that can cause persistent pain include bursitis, complex regional pain syndrome, and pinched nerves.

No matter the cause of your knee pain we can help you get rid of it, once and for all. Contact the post-op knee pain specialists at Personalized Painful Knee Replacement Institute in Boynton Beach, Florida, by calling 903-7448. You may also request your appointment now.

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What Is Causing The Pain Behind My Knee When Im Bending It

Feeling pain behind your knee every time you bend it can really make daily tasks harder. After all, bending your knee is vital to actions like putting on your pants and walking up stairs.

Pain behind your knee is also known as posterior knee pain, and you could easily develop this type of pain. After all, medical researchers estimate that about 25% of adults develop frequent knee pain in their lifetime. A physical therapist can help you determine whats causing the pain behind your knee when youre bending it. In addition, these medical professionals can help you find effective treatment for your knee pain.


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