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.
Knee Pain Injuries Without Swelling Or Trauma
Most times people do not have a single incident such as a slip or fall which causes knee pain. Their pain began slowly over weeks or months. Many times there is no swelling or any single painful spot. Damage to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that surround and stabilize the knee is the most common source of pain with trauma.
Many of us like to point to a single incident that produces or started our injuries, such as falling off a swing or a bike 10 years ago. Acute trauma can predispose people to future injuries. However, most of our soft tissue damage is the result of chronic repetitive stress injuries which are an accumulation of small amounts of trauma and stress over months and years.
Muscles and tendons not only allow movement but they also absorb pounding forces when we walk, stand, or squat. Over time, the repetitive activities cause micro damage in the soft tissues, which increases over time.
The small micro tears, or micro trauma, eventually lead to larger knee injuries. This leads to multiple spots of tenderness and tissue remodeling in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the knee.
Urgent Advice: Ask For An Urgent Gp Appointment Or Get Help From Nhs 111 If:
- you have severe joint pain, usually in just 1 joint, that started suddenly
- you have swelling around a joint
- the skin around a joint has changed colour
- you feel generally unwell and have a high temperature or feel hot and shivery
Symptoms of septic arthritis usually develop quickly over a few days and need to be checked.
You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.
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Treatment For Septic Arthritis
If doctors think you have symptoms of septic arthritis:
- you’ll usually be treated in hospital with antibiotics given straight into a vein
- fluid may be drained from the affected joint
- you’ll probably have to take antibiotic tablets for several weeks after you leave hospital
The average stay in hospital if you have septic arthritis is about 2 weeks. Most people start feeling better quickly once they are given antibiotics.
Tissue Damage Over Years
With every step, the pounding forces of our body weight against the ground are rippled throughout the lower legs. Depending on the ankle and knee positions, those forces can travel through the knee and into the quadriceps or hamstrings. All of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the knee end up absorbing these forces.
Everybody has their own unique walking gait, which is why not everyone develops the same knee pain. The way you walk causes increased stress and strain to be delivered to certain points along your knee. If this happens to send more forces to the patella tendon or patella ligament, then you are more likely to develop patellar tendonitis.
If your walk causes excessive strain to be placed on the upper gastrocnemius, or calf muscles, you may develop pain along these muscles and tendons behind the knee. Likewise, pain behind the knee can be the result of popliteus muscle sprains.
Chondromalacia patella is caused when excessive forces damage the hyaline cartilage between the patella and femur. Patella femoral syndrome is when the hyaline cartilage damage is mostly to the patella surface instead of the patella.
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What Else Can Cause Unexplained Bruising
Other factors may cause unexplained leg bruising. Often, these things affect your bodys coagulation process.
Coagulation, or clotting, is your bodys ability to seal a wound and stop bleeding. There are several factors involved in clotting, such as platelets. These cells help your blood clot.
If something is hindering the effectiveness of the clotting process, bruising and bleeding may result. This can happen in a variety of ways:
- Platelets or other clotting factors arent functioning properly.
- There arent enough platelets or other clotting factors being produced.
- Platelets or clotting factors are being destroyed.
- Some clotting components are absent .
Keep in mind bruising on the legs is a very common occurrence and can happen quite easily. By itself, its usually not a sign of an underlying health condition. Youd most likely have bruising on other areas of your body that are accompanied by other symptoms, such as easy or excessive bleeding.
Other potential causes of bruising on legs
- side effects of some medications, such as aspirin and blood thinners
- some dietary supplements, such as ginkgo, garlic, and fish oil
- autoimmune diseases, such as immune thrombocytopenia and lupus
- vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels that happens when your immune system attacks them by mistake
- , an extreme and life-threatening reaction by your body to an infection
- heavy alcohol use
If you or your child has unexplained bruising, it may be time to see your doctor.
Can Knee Injuries Be Prevented
To help prevent knee injuries:
- Be sure you wear the recommended protective equipment for sports .
- Wear supportive athletic shoes that are in good condition.
- During workouts, always warm up and cool down.
- Do regular strength training to support muscles, and stretching or yoga to improve flexibility.
- When jumping, bend the knees while landing. This takes pressure off the ACL and prevents injury.
- If you cut laterally or pivot frequently , crouch and bend at the knees and hips to reduce the chances of an ACL injury.
- If you play just one sport, conditioning and training year-round even if it’s at a lower intensity than during the competitive season can help you stay in shape and make an injury less likely.
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What Can You Do About Unexplained Bruising
Treating unexplained bruising on your legs may involve treating an underlying condition. Be sure to follow your doctors instructions regarding treatment.
If a medication or supplement is causing the bruising, your doctor may have you stop taking it or prescribe an alternative, if possible.
For vitamin deficiencies, treatment may involve replacing that vitamin through diet or injection.
In some cases, blood or platelet transfusions may help introduce healthy clotting elements back into your blood.
Once a bruise has formed, theres not a lot you can do to treat it. Applying ice and elevating your leg may help. Bruises will eventually disappear, often changing colors during the healing process.
If you want to prevent bruising, particularly if you bruise easily, be sure to follow these tips to avoid injury to your legs:
- Contain household clutter and trip hazards, such as electrical cords, particularly on and around stairs.
- Keep furniture out of areas where you walk so youre less likely to bump into it.
- Make sure your house is lit well so you can see where youre walking and whats around you or on the floor.
How To Treat A Bruised Knee
Most bruises, also known as contusions, are mild and heal on their own. However, more severe contusions can damage muscle tissue or bone, which may take longer to heal.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, rest, ice, compression, and elevation may help reduce symptoms and aid healing.
This article explores how bruises form, how to treat them, and how to tell if a bruise could be a sign of a more severe injury, such as a fracture.
A bruise or contusion forms when small blood vessels under the skin break, but the skin remains intact. Blood leaks out of these broken capillaries into the surrounding soft tissues, which causes discoloration.
There are three types of bruises:
- subcutaneous, which occur just under the skins surface
- intramuscular, occurring within the underlying muscle
- bone bruises, which are an injury to the bone
A bone bruise is typically the most painful type of bruise. Doctors can only detect these using magnetic resonance imaging, as they are not easily visible on X-rays.
A bruise on the knee may occur because of damage to the skin, tendons, ligaments, or the bone of the knee cap. For example, a knee injury may cause a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament, in addition to bruising.
A bruise on the knee may appear black, blue, or purple on lighter skin, or dark purple or brown on darker skin. Bruises may change color as they heal, turning yellow or green.
A knee bruise may also trigger symptoms such as:
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Aetiology Of Knee Pain
Pain when ascending or descending stairs may indicate pathology from the patellofemoral joints. This is a direct result of the increase contact pressures on the patella when the knee is loaded in a flexed position.3 There is an increased incidence of patellofemoral disorders in women.4
Night pain is red flag symptom. The most common cause of night pain in the adult is a severe degenerative arthritis.5 However, night pain in a child or a young adult may indicate an underlying pathology such as infection or neoplasm. The presence of night pain in an older patient with normal plain radiology of the knee may also be a red flag symptom.
Common Recovery Goals For Physical Therapy Patients Who Have A Knee Bone Bruise
Often, a bruise on the knee bone impacts the most basic lifestyle activities. When we see patients for this type of physical therapy treatment, we often hear the following goals for recovery:
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What Other Symptoms May Be Associated With Knee Pain
If you have knee pain, you may get other symptoms such as:
- swelling, redness or heat in the knee
- bruising around the knee
- locking or clicking
- inability to straighten your knee
See a doctor if the pain doesnt improve in a few weeks, if you cant move your knee or put any weight on it, or if your knee locks or gives way.
Go to an emergency department if your knee is very painful, is badly swollen or has changed shape, or if you have a fever and a red and hot knee.
Most Common Knee Injuries
The knee is the largest joint of the body, and is also one of the most commonly injured joints. Bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons work together to form your knee joint and allow you to bend your leg. Because of all the moving parts on the knee and the sensitive nature of the joint, its very prone to multiple types of injuries.
If youre experiencing knee pain, its likely that youre suffering from one of the most common knee injuries. Well help you understand the makeup of the knee, as well as how to identify the symptoms of a knee injury. However, only your orthopaedic doctor can determine what injury youre dealing with.
Anatomy of the Knee
Within the knee joint are three bones: the femur , the tibia , and the patella . These three bones meet to form the knee joint. Articular cartilage covers the ends of the femur and the tibia, as well as the back of the patella. The cartilage allows the bones of the knee joint to smoothly glide against one another as you bend or straighten your leg. The meniscus is a tough and rubbery wedge-shaped cartilage located between your femur and tibia. The meniscus cartilage cushions the joint and also acts as a shock-absorber between the femur and tibia bones.
The tendons within your knee connect the muscles to the bones. The quadriceps tendon is located in the front of your thigh and connects those muscles to the patella. The patellar tendon connects your patella to your shinbone.
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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.
How To Identify And Treat Knee Pain Without Injury
The best way to identify and treat a knee injury is to pay attention to how it feels as youre doing your daily activities, and not just when youre exercising.
If you notice that an activity such as climbing stairs or running downhill results in the same pain as when you exercise, then this is a sign that theres something wrong with the way you run or walk. This could be because of poor posture, which can put more stress on your knees than they need to carry.
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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.
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.
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Your Knee Keeps Buckling
When you got hurt, did it feel like your knee gave way underneath you? Were not talking about a temporary sensation of weakness or some wobbliness, but more like your shin and thigh bone werent connecting or staying in place. A buckling knee could signal an ACL tear or a cruciate ligament injury.
It could start with a small pop or crack, or you could feel it after a strenuous exercise session or a soccer game.
Either way, your knee feels unstable or weak. Your knee may give out momentarily, which is scary because you might not trust yourself to walk safely when this happens. According to Dr. Howard Luks, an orthopedic surgeon, this could indicate a tear in the patella or the quadriceps tendon.
These tendons are on the front of your knees and offer a lot of support to keep you upright. If theyre not in top form, youre bound to feel weak in the knees , and you might not be able to walk at all. If this is the case, you could need surgery.
On the other hand, the weakness could be temporary, caused by wear and tear, improper footwear, or a strain. If youre a weekend warrior or youre over the age of 30 , you might experience this symptom on a regular basis.
However, if the weakness is recurring and happens every time you exercise, its possible you have a time bomb thats waiting to happen. When in doubt, seek advice from a physician.
If your knee buckles under you when you are walking, then it usually indicates instability, she says.
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