Consult With The Spine & Rehab Group
Having a healthy body is key to living a full and active life. At the Spine & Rehab Group, we are committed to helping our patients recover from uncomfortable conditions or injuries that are holding them back.
The Spine & Rehab Group is composed of top-rated, board-certified physicians serving in seven convenient locations around New York. With over 15 years of experience, we are well-trained in non-surgical approaches that bring our patients back to full health. Contact us to schedule an appointment.
How Does The Sciatic Nerve Affect The Knee
As you grow older , the vertebrae discs protecting your spine may degenerate or bulge out, pressing on the nerves and irritating them. The sciatic nerve roots located in your lower back transmit pain sensations depending on which disc is protruding.
If the pinched nerve is at the second, third, or fourth lumbar vertebrae, referred pain will be received by the knee. Referred pain is a phenomenon where discomfort is felt at a location other than where the cause is situated as a result of pain signals being sent along interconnected sensory nerves.
Pain Behind The Knee When Bending It Or Pain And Stiffness Below The Kneecap
Although not behind the knee, the patellar tendon can be overloaded and torn by repetitive actions such as jumping, running or kicking. This is called patellar tendonitis, and can get progressively worse as the the torn tendon swells and becomes weaker. Again the RICE formula should be applied, and your doctor should be consulted.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid Of Knee Fat And Cellulite
How To Know If Your Knee Pain Comes From Your Spine
Many people assume knee pain is always caused by a problem in the knee joints. However, that is not necessarily the case. If youre suffering knee pain or discomfort, there is a possibility that a problem with your spine is the cause.
So how do you know if your knee pain comes from your spine? The muscles around your knees are connected to the nerves in your lower spine so if these nerves are irritated or compressed, your knees may be affected by symptoms such as intermittent back pain, hamstring tightness, weakness in the hips or quads, and the development of bunions on your feet.
Bottom Line: Knee Pain Is Complicated
As with any article talking about common diagnoses for a certain type of pain, its important to take this information with a grain of salt if youre experiencing pain behind your knee, its not guaranteed that you have one of these specific issues.
There are many more factors and pathologies that could yield similar symptoms. But, hopefully this blog serves as a helpful starting point in understanding what kind of pain and potential severity youre dealing with.
Your local physical therapist is the best resource to consult for questions about general posterior knee pain, what your particular symptoms indicate, and what potential options exist for alleviating your symptoms for the long haul.
Originally published 09-01-2016, updated on 11-17-2021
Read Also: What Is The Best Knee Walker
What Are Home Remedies For Hamstring Injury
The goal of treatment is to restore muscle function and prevent scar formation. Initially, treatment consists of rest, ice, compression, and elevation . Rest refers to avoidance of offending activities and oftentimes includes immobilization. In severe cases, crutches or splinting may be necessary. Ice, compression, and elevation all help in controlling pain and swelling. A short course of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, such as aspirin, ibuprofen , or naproxen , may be helpful .
Sciatic Nerve: How Your Spine And Knees Are Connected
Your knee and your spine are more connected than youd expect. Unless you had a major knee injury like ACL, knee pain and associated symptoms are often caused by problems in the nerves that link the spine to the lower extremities. Issues with the nerves housed in your lower back can greatly impact how your muscles work.
Problems commonly occur with the sciatic nerve, the longest and largest nerve in the body. It is a critical nerve that extends from your lower back all the way to your toes, travelling through the back of your knees. The sciatic nerve is linked to the muscles in these areas so any pressure applied to it can affect the lower half of your body.
Read Also: Inversion Table Knees
Three Signs That Your Knee Pain May Be Originating In Your Back
Just about everything you think you know about your knee pain probably is wrong. Most physicians hold fast to what they learned in medical school, but the science of medicine is constantly evolvingfinding less invasive ways to treat our ailments and discovering the root causes of our pain.
An important thing to understand is that what hurts is not necessarily the problem, but a symptom of the problem. If your knee pain isnt the result of traumatic injury, a strong possibility exists that it could be caused by a problem in your back. Not determining the root cause of your pain could lead to an unnecessary knee replacement that doesnt address the source of the pain. Research studies consistently show an unacceptably high percentage of patients continue to have chronic pain after knee-replacement surgeries.
Your back houses the nerves that drive the muscles around the knees. A problem with a nerve in your back can affect how those muscles work. Low-level nerve irritation usually isnt noticed by patients as back or leg pain. It just causes the muscles to misfire, destroying the otherwise needed protection for the knee joint.
There are three signs that your back could be causing your knee pain.
What Is Pain Behind The Knee
Since the knee is the largest and most complex joint in the body, it makes sense that it might hurt sometimes. Although knee pain is a common complaint, it is less common behind the knee.
Don’t Miss: Inversion Table Benefits For Knees
When I Straighten Or Stretch My Leg I Feel Pain Behind My Knee What Should I Do
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.
Does Sciatica Cause Pain Behind The Knee
Sciatica pain radiates along the sciatic nerve, usually from the low back, down the buttocks, into the thigh and leg. One hallmark of classic sciatica is the pain and symptoms are felt below the knee and sometimes into the foot and great toe. Usually, sciatica only affects one side of the lower body.
Don’t Miss: How To Whiten Knees Fast
What Causes Sharp Burning Pain In The Knee
Before you identify the cause of sharp burning pain, you need to identify the pain and the location. What does burning pain in the knee mean?
It means that your pain does not just generally ache. You have a sharp, burning sensation in the front, on the side, or on the back of your knee. You can have it while you’re kneeling, while you’re just standing still, and even when you’re sleeping.
Treating Back Of Knee Pain
So what’s the best back of knee pain treatment? The best treatment for pain behind the knee will depend on what’s causing the pain. Generally, the first step is to reduce any swelling, then work on knee exercises to improve the strength and stability of the knee to reduce the force that goes through the knee joint.
Just because there is back of knee pain, it doesnt necessarily mean the problem is there. Pain can refer to different places so a problem around the front of the knee can produce a feeling of posterior knee pain. For more help, visit the knee symptoms diagnosis guide.
Remember, the best way to accurately diagnose the cause of your pain behind the knee is to see your doctor.
Page Last Updated: 11/25/21
Read Also: My Knees Crack When I Squat
Sciatic Nerve Links The Back To The Legs
The most common back ailments that cause pain in the knees are related to the sciatic nerve. If you have back pain and feel a shooting sensation originating from your lower back running down your leg and through your knee, your sciatic nerve is to blame.
As the longest and largest nerve that runs through the body, the sciatic nerve if damaged or compromised can cause debilitating pain. The condition is called sciatica, and it is often the byproduct of a degenerative nerve condition or an injury .
When any part of the spine puts pressure on the sciatic nerve, the result may be shooting pain or a tingling sensation that travels from the back down to your hips, buttocks, knees, and feet.
What Does It Mean When The Back Of Your Leg Hurts Behind The Knee
Pain at the back of your knee when bending depends on several factors. These include how the pain started, your age, medical history, and so on.
If you are an athlete and/or play contact sports often, you could have:
- A hamstring or gastrocnemius tendinitis
- Pes anserine bursitis
If youre over 60 years old, you could have:
- A leg cramp
- Bakers cyst
- Knee arthritis
If youre not sure or if youve had pain for more than 6 weeks, go to the doctor to find out whats going on.
Read Also: Dcf Compression Knee Sleeve
Can Knee Pain In Teens Be Prevented
Most knee pain that is caused by injury or overuse can be prevented with some attention and work by your teen, including:
- Make sure your teen wears proper shoes for the activity/sport and wears knee pads and leg guards . Replace worn out footwear and gear.
- Engage in muscle strength training exercises. Check with a trainer to make sure proper form and body alignment are being followed. Always do warm up and cool down exercises before and after workouts.
- Keep your muscles flexible by proper stretching exercises or yoga.
- Dont engage in activities that cause or worsen knee pain.
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.
You May Like: Roller Knee Walker
Common Causes Of Knee Pain
Your knee is a complex structure. It includes three bones:
- The lower part of the thighbone
- The upper part of the shinbone
- The kneecap
Any damage or disease in these structures can cause knee pain.
Common causes of knee pain include:
Common Signs And Symptoms Of A Blood Clot
Health Check Certified By: Dr. Gerald Morris
Blood clots typically form deep within the veins of the legs, which is referred to as deep vein thrombosis , and can travel through the body. In addition to being potentially life threatening, one of the scariest parts about a blood clot is that most times they go undetected, resulting in pulmonary embolism and death when leg clots break free and become lodged in the lungs.
In order to protect ourselves from this potentially dangerous condition, read up on the 15 most common signs of a blood clot
Recommended Reading: Does Aflac Pay For Sprains
What Are The Symptoms Of Patellar Tendonitis
Pain and tenderness at the base of your kneecap are usually the first symptoms of patellar tendonitis. You may also have some swelling and a burning feeling in the kneecap. Kneeling down or getting up from a squat can be especially painful.
The pain may at first be sporadic, occurring only after sports or exercise activity. As the tendon becomes more damaged, the pain can become progressively worse. It can interfere with any athletic activity, as well as with daily activities, such as climbing stairs or sitting in a car.
See your doctor if any pain or swelling lasts more than a day or two.
At the start of your appointment, your doctor will ask about:
- your physical activity
- what symptoms youre experiencing
- when the symptoms occur
- any remedy youve tried that eases the pain
Your doctor will physically examine your knee, probe for where you feel pain, and test your range of knee motion by bending and extending your leg.
Your doctor may also order imaging tests to look at your kneecap and tendon to determine if theres any damage to the tendon or bone. These tests can also help rule out other possible causes of your pain, such as a fracture.
Your doctor may perform:
- an X-ray to look at the bone to determine whether you have a kneecap fracture or if your kneecap is displaced
- an MRI to look at the tendon and show any damage to the soft tissue
- an ultrasound to look at the tendon and show any soft tissue damage
Your Hips Or Quadriceps Feel Weak
Your quads are a group of muscles located at the front of your thigh. The three vastus muscles and rectus femoris make your thighs, one of the most powerful parts of the body, as they allow you to extend your knees and move your hips.
On the other hand, each hip is a ball-and-socket joint responsible for bearing most of your bodys weight. The hips have many ligament attachments for stability and muscular attachments to help control the motion of your leg and knee joints. The rectus femoris muscle crosses over from the quads and connects to the hip so if a problem occurs with the quad muscles, your hips will be affected.
Now, the parts of the human body are connected like a chain. Even if you didnt experience an injury or a major trauma to your hips and quadriceps, you may suddenly feel like youre unable to move them at full strength. This is a condition that may be caused by a spinal problem since the nerves that control the motor functions of the quads are located between the vertebrae of the lumbar spine.
If those nerves become irritated or get pinched by the vertebrae, the movement of your hips and quads will be affected. Weakness in these areas will cause the knee joints to work harder and wear out faster, which explains the knee pain you might be feeling.
Don’t Miss: How Much Does Aflac Pay For Outpatient Surgery
When To Contact A Medical Professional
- You cannot bear weight on your knee.
- You have severe pain, even when not bearing weight.
- Your knee buckles, clicks, or locks.
- Your knee is deformed or misshapen.
- You cannot flex your knee or have trouble straightening it all the way out.
- You have a fever, redness or warmth around the knee, or a lot of swelling.
- You have pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, or bluish discoloration in the calf below the sore knee.
- You still have pain after 3 days of home treatment.
What To Expect At Your Office Visit
Your provider will perform a physical exam, and look at your knees, hips, legs, and other joints.
Your provider may do the following tests:
- MRI of the knee if a ligament or meniscus tear could be the cause
- CT scan of the knee
- Joint fluid culture
Your provider may inject a steroid into your knee to reduce pain and inflammation.
You may need to learn stretching and strengthening exercises. You also may need to see a podiatrist to be fitted for orthotics.
In some cases, you may need surgery.
Recommended Reading: Ginger Poultice For Knee Pain