The Link Between Your Back And Knee Pain
Every part of your body has a special and unique function, but each part relies on others for optimal performance.
When your body is functioning well, you feel invincible. When you are falling short due to an injury or illness, its hard to function. The same is true with many interacting body parts. One connection, in particular, is when back pain causes knee pain. Even though the back and knee arent directly connected, there is a very real link that can help explain why when your back hurts, your knees may hurt, too.
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.
What Can I Do At Home
There are a bunch of things you can do at home, including:
- Modifying your activities. Temporarily changing certain movements that hurt your knee will help it heal.
- Practicing low-impact activities that arent painful. Examples would be walking, swimming, or biking.
- Wearing a knee sleeve. It provides compression and warmth that can help reduce the pain. Although, the type of knee sleeve you need will depend on whats causing your knee pain.
- Using anti-inflammatories or icing only if necessary. They help make the pain more manageable but they might also impair tissue healing.
If your pain and/or swelling worsens over time, or if it limits you in your daily activities, please go to your doctor or physical therapist.
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Blood Clots Behind Knee
It is important to note that pain and swelling behind the knee may be associated with blood clots. Blood clots behind the knee are especially common for those on bed rest or prolonged laying down, recovering from surgery or who have experienced trauma to the knee. Age and weight may also be a factor in blood clots. If you are experiencing behind knee pain, see a doctor to diagnose your situation, especially as you may be experiencing a blood clot behind knee.
Physical Therapy For Knee Pain
One of the major components of rehabilitation for knee pain is physical therapy. Our app has a series of exercises to help you work on all the muscles that stabilize the knee joint. In fact, at some point, it should become your mainstay to treating your knee pain.
Start SlowYou dont have to go do it all at once. Straight leg raises and quad sets while lying down should be good enough while you deal with pain. Once the pain eases, you can do more complex exercises. This is particularly important if you havent been active for a while. The goal here is to ease your joints into exercise. Dont push yourself too hard. By doing so, you will overwork your muscles, strain the joint and worsen the knee pain.
Build Over TimeYou dont have to go do it all at once. Straight leg raises and quad sets while lying down should be good enough while you deal with pain. Once the pain eases, you can do more complex exercises. This is particularly important if you havent been active for a while. The goal here is to ease your joints into exercise. Dont push yourself too hard. By doing so, you will overwork your muscles, strain the joint and worsen the knee pain.
Initially, you may be asked to simply flex your knee multiple times. This may seem silly but its a gradual step up. Once youve learned the basics and have established a foundational routine, you can step up through the program, but you will need some hand-holding in the beginning.
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Why Does My Knee Hurt When I Straighten It
Your knee is made up of bones, cartilage, muscles and tendons. When you extend your knee, your quadriceps muscles tighten, and your hamstrings relax. Pain on knee straightening is usually indicative of damage or overuse of the quadriceps muscles, leading to tiny tears in its tendon. Pain may also occur due to any damage to the joint itself. You may get pain specifically in the back of the knee due to cyst formation following injury of the joint.
Athletes With A Torn Meniscus: Do We Treat It Differently
Generally, we believe that young athletes with a torn meniscus need surgery early. However, new findings question this thinking. Young athletes with a meniscal tear were randomised into immediate surgery or physiotherapy. After 12 months, there was no difference between groups for pain or return to sport. Also, only one in four athletes who had physiotherapy eventually required surgery. So, even in young athletes, we should consider a trial of physiotherapy in almost all cases.
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If You Have Pain Behind Your Knee After Sitting:
It is likely you are experiencing a symptom of Chondromalacia Patellae. This is the most common cause of chronic knee pain. Chondromalacia Patellae is caused by your patella being pulled to the outer side of your femur, rather than in a straight line. This will cause discomfort when you stand up from sitting in a chair for a long period of time. In order to prevent this at work, taking microbreaks will help to keep your body loose. You may also feel discomfort after physical activity or a tightness or fullness in the knee area.
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.
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Pain Behind The Knee: Symptoms
Each case of pain behind the knee is different. However, there are some typical signs and symptoms doctors have identified, including the ones listed below.
- Inability to put weight on knee
- Reduced range of motion in knee joint
- Pain when trying to stretch the leg
There are some symptoms that can be an indication of a life-threatening health problem. For example, bruising on the back of the knee or calf, difficulty breathing, redness behind the knee of one leg, warmth behind the knee of one leg, and painful swelling can be signs of something serious.
Burning Pain In Knee Cap
When you feel pain in your knee cap, you imagine the worst. You begin to believe you’ve injured your knee. Maybe you even wonder if you have a torn meniscus.
Burning pain under or around your knee cap is a common overuse injury. The official diagnosis for this syndrome is chondromalacia or patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as PFS. The injury is also commonly known as runner’s knee.
When you run, you put stress on your knee cap and the tendons in it. If you’re not used to running long miles and attempt a long run, you will feel this pain. You will also feel it if you begin to increase your mileage too quickly.
Your tendons in your knee cap are firing up and becoming inflamed. You have tendonitis in your knee or runner’s knee.
Stopping activity will help this heal more quickly as will ice and appropriate NSAID or anti-inflammatory medications.
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If You Feel A Popping Or Cracking Sensation Behind Your Kneecap:
If this sensation occurs during a knee injury – you most likely tore your meniscus. The meniscus is a piece of cartilage in your knee that cushions and stabilizes the joint. This type of tear is very common in contact sports like football and non-contact sports that require jumping and cutting like volleyball. Other symptoms include pain in the knee, swelling, difficulty bending your knee, pain behind your knee when straightening your leg, or a tendency for your knee to lock or get stuck.
Final Word From Sportdoctorlondon
Overall, we use intra-articular injections for arthritis when other simple treatments such as exercise and weight loss are not good enough. Generally, use cortisone for an angry swollen knee. Hyaluronic acid or Platelet-rich plasma is our second choice with a preference for Platelet-rich plasma. Finally, you should always perform injections with ultrasound to make it more accurate. If youre thinking about an injection, you should do your homework and find a doctor with experience in ultrasound and injections.
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Does Back Pain Cause Knee Pain
As one of the most complex joints in the body, the knee allows the entire leg to move, flex, and have a good range of motion. Meanwhile, with its vertebrae and shock-absorbing discs, the back has a myriad of responsibilities it holds you physically together and secures the high-speed conduit for your complex and delicate nervous system.
Together, the knees and the back provide flexibility, motion, and support. However, they also rely on each other to maintain balance and equilibrium. Therefore, when your back hurts, so might your knees.
A Sudden Severe Pain Or Popping Sound Accompanied By Swelling And A Feeling Of Looseness Of The Joint And Instability
This may be due to damage to one of the knee ligaments, and is commonly seen as a result of sports injuries concerned with a sudden impact, twisting or over stretching. If the ligament is torn or twisted it is a sprain . If you suspect a damaged ligament you should comply with the RICE procedure, but not immobilise the joint as there is a risk of stiffness and possible muscle atrophy. The injury should be clinically assessed, and may need surgery.
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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.
Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Pain In The Back Of The Knee
To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:
- Is the knee pain affecting one or both knees?
- Do you often feel your knees buckling?
- Where is your knee pain?
- How would you explain the cause of your knee pain?
Self-diagnose with our free Buoy Assistant if you answer yes on any of these questions.
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Medial Collateral Ligament Injury
Knee pain in the knee can indicate injury to the MCL. MCL provides stability to the knees. Injuries to this ligament usually occur when direct force is applied to the knee. Other causes of pain within the knee are meniscus tears and arthritis. Knee arthritis often causes pain when bending the knee, especially after being in the same position for a long time. Symptoms of knee arthritis develop slowly and are not linked to a single event, such as an accident, fall, or sports injury.
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.
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Why Would A Teenager Have Knee Pain
Knee pain isnt a condition that only happens to older people. Despite being young, your teenager can develop knee pain too.
Knee pain in teens is a common result of overuse, but also results from specific knee injuries and medical conditions that affect the knee. Knee pain can also be temporary and not related to an injury, but rather a change in your teens level of activity or sport.
Because of the many different reasons for knee pain, if your teen complains of pain, its wise to get it checked. Never think that knee pain in your teen is simply growing pains. This is not a typical cause of knee pain in a teenager.
Meniscus Tears And Pain Behind Your Knee
Root tearsof the meniscus are prevalent. The root of a meniscus is where the meniscus attaches to the shin bone or tibia. Much like a tree roots into the ground, the meniscus has a firm, deep attachment to your bones as well.
Sadly, over the years, these attachment points or roots can weaken. A common story is that you bent down or knelt and felt a pop in the back of the knee. Later that day or two days later, your knee is swollen, and the pain is very severe. The root of the meniscus tore in this situation because it had degenerated from decades of activity.
The pain from root tears often subsides over the next few weeks to months. By the time you see a doctor, and they order an MRI, the pain is often starting to improve. This post below goes into far more detail about root tears as the cause of pain in the back of your knee.
The meniscus is a shock absorber. When the root of the meniscus tears, the meniscus no longer works as a shock absorber. Therefore, following a root tear, you may develop stress fractures or stress reactions. That is why the pain worsens a few days after you felt the pop.
On some occasions, we need to consider surgery to repair these root tears but this is not usually necessary.
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What Happens Next
Since there are so many possibilities, the key thing is to be thorough. Here at the clinic we kick off by asking patients about their back-of-knee history when did you first notice the problem? What were you doing at the time? Does it get worse again with certain activities? What does the pain actually feel like? Well follow that with an examination to feel for things like a cyst or flexing problems. Well also organise an MRI scan. Sometimes this will highlight the problem immediately something like a tear or a hamstring issue but surprisingly often with back-of-knee pain, the scan will look clear. Thats usually reassuring, since it indicates a less intrusive problem. So at this point wed also look at your activities and sporting techniques and whether they might be causing the issue. By doing all of these things well build up a full picture of your knee and the best way to fix it. As youve seen, back-of-knee pain can be a slippery customer. But with a little bit of detective work, well get to the bottom of it.
Are you experiencing painful symptoms behind your knee? If so, were here to help if you need us. Drop the team a line on 01962 826107 or fill in a quick online form well be back in touch with an appointment as soon as possible.
What You Can Do
Take over-the-counter NSAID drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen to ease pain and swelling. RICE — rest, ice, compression, and elevation — can often help, too: Get off your feet. Raise your leg so it’s higher than your heart. Put a cold pack in a thin cloth or towel on your knee for 10-20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Wrap an elastic bandage around your knee when you’re up and about, snug but not tight.
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How Can I Prevent Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
While you cant always prevent osteoarthritis of the knee, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk youll develop it:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- If you jog or run, do so on grass or soft surfaces.
- Vary your fitness routine with low-impact exercises such as swimming or cycling.
- Add light strength training to your fitness routine.
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Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury
The anterior cruciate ligament is a band of tissue that runs through the front of your knee joint. It connects your thighbone to your shinbone and helps stabilize and provide movement to your knee.
Most ACL injuries happen when you slow down, stop, or change direction suddenly while running. You can also strain or tear this ligament if you land a jump wrong, or you get hit in a contact sport like football.
You might feel a pop when the injury happens. Afterward, your knee will hurt and swell up. You might have trouble fully moving your knee and feel pain when you walk.
Rest and physical therapy can help an ACL strain heal. If the ligament is torn, youll often need surgery to fix it. Heres what to expect during ACL reconstruction.
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