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What To Do If The Back Of Your Knee Hurts

Whats Behind The Knee

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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.

What Does Knee Pain Mean

Knee pain is common. It affects people of all ages. Knee pain may be the result of an injury, such as a ruptured ligament or torn cartilage, medical conditions e.g. arthritis, gout and infections and overuse conditions such as tendinopathy and muscle injuries.

Many causes of mild knee pain will get better with simple home remedies such as rest, ice-packs and anti-inflammatory medication. Physiotherapy and knee supports can also help relieve knee pain. If simple things dont help then it might be a good idea to get things checked out.

Three Hamstring Muscles Are Located Behind The Knee At The Back Of The Thigh:

  • Biceps Femoris
  • Semimembranosus Muscle
  • Semitendinosus Muscle

These muscles work together to flex the knee and extend the hip. Many times the semitendinosus muscle is overused or strained resulting in what is commonly known as a pulled hamstring. This muscle is located between the semimembranosus muscle and the biceps femoris.

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See An Orthopedic Doctor

Most knee pain is self-limited, which means it will go away without medical intervention, especially in kids and young adults, said Dr. Robert Blais, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates. Seniors, on the other hand, are more prone to lingering knee pain.

Blais recommended seeing a medical provider for pain that interferes with sleep, limits activity and/or requires daily use of medications to alleviate pain.

Pain that lasts longer than two weeks should be evaluated, he said. Pain after injury that does not get better with a few days of rest should also be of concern.

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

Treating Back of Knee PainIMPACT Physical Therapy

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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Risk Factors For Pain In The Back Of The Knee

Following are the risk factors that may trigger pain in the back of the knee

  • Leg Elevation and
  • Use of braces or cast
  • Medications for Posterior Knee Joint Pain-

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications Motrin, Naproxen and Celebrex prescribed for pain in the back of the knee caused by inflammatory diseases and mild to moderate pain.
  • Tylenol- Prescribed for mild to moderate pain.
  • Opioids- Hydrocodone, oxycodone and morphine prescribed for moderate to severe pain. Prescription discontinued after 2 to 3 weeks, since most long term opioid treatment causes dependence and addiction to opioids.
  • Antibiotics- Antibiotics are prescribed if back of the knee pain is caused by infection.
  • Physical Therapy for Posterior Knee Joint Pain- Physical therapy is beneficial once the pain intensity is tolerable. Leg muscle atrophy and weakness is observed when knee joint pain is treated with rest for several days. Few cases are treated with application of cast or braces over knee joint that results in loss of muscle mass. Such cases are treated with aggressive physician therapy. Physical therapy helps to rebuild tone, power and coordination of muscle.

  • Surgery for Posterior Knee Joint Pain- Surgery is necessary if posterior knee joint pain is caused by fracture or dislocation of knee joint. Surgery may involve instrumentation or close reduction of fracture and dislocation.

    If You Have Leg Pain In The Back Of Your Knee Or Calf:

    This is most likely a symptom of gastrocnemius tendonitis . The gastrocnemius muscle, which is the muscle that makes up your calf, controls the bending of your knees and the pointing of your toes. A sport that requires you to accelerate quickly can strain or tear the calf muscle. Other symptoms include swelling and bruising of the calf or trouble standing tiptoe.

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    Lateral Collateral Ligament Injury

    The lateral collateral ligament is one of the four main ligaments of the knee. It connects the outer side of the femur and tibia and is primarily responsible for stabilizing the outer aspect of the knee.

    An LCL injury is often the result of a blow to the inside part of the knee this causes the LCL to stretch beyond normal and can result in partial or complete tearing of the ligament.

    Symptoms may include soreness on the outside of the knee, swelling, and stiffness. You may experience instability a feeling that the knee is unstable and going to buckle or give out.

    32 million adults in the United States.

    With aging, the cartilage that helps cushion the ends of bones in the knee joint can wear thin and eventually allow the bones to rub together. Pain, stiffness, and loss of joint movement can follow.

    Some people have more significant wearing of the cartilage in the outer compartment of the knee joint and this can lead to lateral sided knee pain.

    How Can I Strengthen My Knees To Climb Stairs

    A Quick-Fix if Your Knee Hurts When Bent by The Knee Pain Guru
    • According to Dr.
    • Minhas, Sitting for long periods of time causes your knees to bend inward. To counteract this, exercise opening up the hip area throughout the day to maintain that area more flexible.
    • In addition, because you wont feel as tight, it will be simpler to climb the stairs.
    • Standing at the edge of your chair and dangling your legs back and forth can be a beneficial kind of physical activity.

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    Mechanical Problems That Cause Knee Pain

    Here are some examples of mechanical problems that can cause knee pain.

    A Loose body Sometimes injury or degeneration of bone or cartilage can cause a piece of bone or cartilage to break off and float in your knee joint. This may not create any problems unless the loose body interferes with knee joint movement, in which case the effect is something like a doorstop blocking a door.

    Iliotibial band syndrome This occurs when the tough band of tissue that extends from the outside of your hip to the outside of your knee becomes so tight that it rubs against the outer portion of your femur. This is common in distance runners and cyclists.

    Knee-cap pain This occurs when your knee-cap tilts slightly out of place, usually towards the outside of your knee. In some cases, this leads to chronic rubbing on the back of the knee-cap which causes inflammation and pain at the front of your knee.

    Hip or foot pain If you have hip or foot pain, you may change the way you walk to take the load off painful joints. This altered way of walking can place more stress on your knee joint. In some cases, problems in the hip or foot can cause knee pain.

    Get A Pair Of Supportive Shoes

    The shoes you wear can make a big difference in how your knees feel.

    Focusing on the base, aka your feet, will likely help align your knees and prevent overextension of ligaments and tendons and conditions like arthritis from becoming a problem, said Dr. Ebonie Vincent, a foot and ankle surgeon based in California and star of TLCs My Feet Are Killing Me.

    A 2021 study found that people who walked in shoes that were supportive experienced a reduction in knee pain. In another study, women who wore high heels experienced additional knee strain, putting them at higher risk of knee osteoarthritis. Look for a good pair of stable, supportive walking shoes like these expert-recommended ones from Vionic.

    If your shoes arent comfortable, add an insole. Orthotics, like these from Dr. Scholls, are a good starting point. Having a sturdy pair of inserts that support the arch as well can be an additive and even necessary support for some, Vincent said.

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    What Questions Might A Healthcare Provider Ask To Diagnose Arthritis Of The Knee

    Your healthcare provider will interview you when you report your symptoms. Some questions might include:

    • Does anyone in your family have arthritis of the knee?
    • Does your knee swell up?
    • Is your skin often red?
    • Is your skin often warm?
    • Do you have symptoms in one knee or both?
    • How long have you had these symptoms?
    • What medications do you take?
    • How severe is your pain?
    • Do you struggle to walk?
    • Do the symptoms interfere with your daily activities?

    When I Straighten Or Stretch My Leg I Feel Pain Behind My Knee What Should I Do

    Back of Knee Pain

    Difficulty in stretching your leg may be due to a collection of synovial fluid. If you can also feel a swelling in the back of your leg it may be a Bakers cyst which makes the knee feel tight. This is not serious, but if it does not clear up you should see your doctor. Swelling in the calf may be a blood clot in the popliteal vein which is serious and should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible particularly if the swelling is accompanied by warm/red tender skin. Difficulty in straightening your leg may also be due to arthritis or a tear in a meniscus. You should see your doctor and get a proper diagnosis.

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    Can Dehydration Cause Pain In The Back Of The Knee

    In general, dehydration does not cause pain in the back of the knee. However, if you are dehydrated, you may experience cramping of your muscles. This is due to electrolyte imbalances leading to muscle irritation. This can lead to pain in the back of your leg if those muscles cramp. Most commonly, dehydration leads to exhaustion, thirst, muscle cramps, and dizziness.

    Diagnosis Of Pain Behind The Knee

    Your doctor will examine your knee and ask about your medical history and symptoms, including:

    • the type of pain you have, when it started and whether it comes and goes
    • how active you are
    • any activity, accident or injury that could have caused it

    If they suspect a posterior cruciate ligament injury, they may refer you to have an X-ray or a magnetic resonance imaging scan. If you have signs of a popliteal cyst, your doctor may suggest you have an ultrasound scan.

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    Pain Behind The Knee Faqs

    Why do I have pain in the back of my knee when straightening my leg?

    There are many different causes for pain behind the knee when straightening the leg, including jumpers knee , a Bakers cyst and chondromalacia.

    Why do I have pain behind my knee when bending my leg?

    You may have damaged a ligament, tendon or cartilage, which prevents full range of motion in your knee without pain.

    Why do I have pain behind my knee when walking and after/during running?

    There are many different causes for pain behind the knee on activity, such as arthritis or a Bakers cyst, as well as injuries, such as a meniscus tear, anterior or posterior cruciate ligament injury or hamstring injury.

    Why do I have pain in the back of my knee after sitting?

    There are several conditions that can cause pain in the back of your knee after sitting for a long time, including arthritis and chondromalacia.

    Knee Pain And Problems

    Do your knees hurt when squatting?

    Knee pain is a common complaint among adults and most often associated with general wear and tear from daily activities like walking, bending, standing and lifting. Athletes who run or play sports that involve jumping or quick pivoting are also more likely to experience knee pain and problems. But whether an individuals knee pain is caused by aging or injury, it can be a nuisance and even debilitating in some circumstances.

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    How Are Knee Problems Diagnosed

    In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, other tests for knee problems may include:

    • X-ray. This test uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to make images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.

    • Magnetic resonance imaging . This test uses large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to make detailed images of organs and structures within the body can often determine damage or disease in a surrounding ligament or muscle.

    • Computed tomography scan . This test uses X-rays and computer technology to make horizontal, or axial, images of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.

    • Arthroscopy. A minimally-invasive diagnostic and treatment procedure used for conditions of a joint. This procedure uses a small, lighted, optic tube , which is inserted into the joint through a small incision in the joint. Images of the inside of the joint are projected onto a screen used to evaluate any degenerative or arthritic changes in the joint to detect bone diseases and tumors to determine the cause of bone pain and inflammation.

    • Radionuclide bone scan. A nuclear imaging technique that uses a very small amount of radioactive material, which is injected into the patient’s bloodstream to be detected by a scanner. This test shows blood flow to the bone and cell activity within the bone.

    Can You Run On Runners Knee

    Avoid doing any intense running, such as long runs, intervals or speed work, as these may cause further damage to your knee and increase inflammation. If your level of pain is above a 3 out of 10, you may want to stop running entirely. However, you should continue training your cardio with low-impact cross training.

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    Why Does The Back Of My Knee Hurt

    Through routine use, we apply substantial pressure to the knees everyday. Without the proper care and preventative measures, constant pressure can result in significant knee pain.

    For some context, the knee is a joint consisting of the tibia , femur , and the patella . The joint arrangement allows for forward and backward movement, with cartilage structures called menisci acting as shock absorbers and providing stability . Additional muscles, ligaments, and soft tissue around the knee also act as stabilizers .

    Tips For Quick Relief For Pain In Back Of Leg Behind Knee

    3 Signs It Could Be Your Back Causing Your Knee Pain

    The treatment of pain in the back of your knee is as varying as the diseases that can induce your pain. Although the following simple quickfix tips may help for easing pain with different forms of your back knee pain.

  • Rest your knee as far as possible it recovers.
  • Use an ice pack on it for 15 minutes at once, or a couple of times a day.
  • Take a compression bandage to help your injured knee but ensure its not too tightly.
  • Raising your affected knee on a pillow or multiple pillows.
  • Using a cane or crutches if you cant pressure off your leg.
  • The RICE method is the most efficient relief way to treat your back knee pain.
  • To utilize Over The Counter drugs, NSAIDs for relief of back knee pain like aspirin, ibuprofen.
  • Pain at the back of your knee can often be a sign of a major problem. If you have to experience extreme symptoms or symptoms that last for longer, should have your injury examined by a physician. After physicians plan of treatment may give the best option to you recover properly & prevent any difficulty.

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    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

    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.

    Know When To See Your Doctor

    While many conditions that cause knee pain can be helped by exercise, in some instances it may not be appropriate, says Dr. Lauren Elson, an instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. You should stop exercising and see a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

    • fever

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    What Causes Swelling Behind The Knee

    There are a number of different causes of swelling behind the knee. In most cases, back of knee swelling is caused by a build-up of fluid or an abnormal growth in the popliteal space the soft area at the back of the knee.

    Here we look at five common causes of swelling behind the knee, the causes and symptoms of each, how to tell whether its something serious and the best ways to treat causes of swelling behind the knee.

    Symptoms Of Pain In The Back Of Your Knee

    “Can Knee Pain Cause Back Pain?”

    Many different things can cause pain in the back of your knee. If you have pain in the back of your knee, you may want to see a doctor if you are experiencing:

    • Severe pain in the knee, especially when walking
    • Swelling of the knee
    • Unstable knees that give way when climbing stairs
    • Audible pop sound coming from knee joint
    • Uncomfortable tingling or prickling feeling in the feet
    • Inability to live life without pain

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