Why Am I Getting Pain At The Back Of My Knee
Published on: 4th February 2020
When it comes to knee pain, we often tend to think first of the front and sides. But pain that comes from the back of the knee is probably every bit as common.
It would be helpful if there was a single likely reason for this! But in fact the causes of back-of-knee pain can be very diverse. You could experience it as a sudden pain or a gradual ache. There may be swelling and inflammation or none at all. You might find it difficult to fully extend your leg.
In other words we need to do some narrowing down to find out whats going on. One useful starting point is to think in terms of problems inside or outside the knee joint: in medical-speak, intra- or extra-articular causes. Lets have a look at the most common ones.
Fluid In The Knee Joint
A knee injury often results in inflammation with fluid in the knee. When fluid is taking up space in the joint, you may feel stiffness or have difficulty with knee movements like bending. The increased pressure in the joint can also trigger pain receptors and cause discomfort. Knee bending usually becomes painless once the fluid goes away, if there is no permanent damage from the fall.
A direct blow to your kneecap from a fall can cause a fracture. This injury usually results in significant inflammation at the front of the knee and painful bending and straightening. A kneecap dislocation is dramatic and occurs when the kneecap is forced out of its groove. All knee movement is difficult when this occurs. A cartilage injury is usually less obvious than a fracture or dislocation. Cartilage — the smooth tissue that lines your joints — can get torn or scraped as a result of trauma. Pieces of cartilage may break off and move around your knee joint, causing pain with bending.
Each knee has a pair of menisci that are located between the bones of the knee joint. Menisci provide joint stability and absorb shock with impact activities. An injury causing the knee to bend and twist at the same time can lead to meniscal tears. This often results in pain with knee bending and joint clicking or locking. Bending and straightening the knee compresses different areas of the joint, which can pinch the menisci and cause pain.
What Is Hamstring Tendonitis
The hamstring muscle group includes two inner, or medial, muscles. These muscles are known as the semitendinosus and semimembranosus. Theres also an outer, or lateral, muscle the bicep femoris. Tendons, a type of connective tissue, attach these muscles to the pelvis, knee, and shinbones, and allow the knee to flex and the hip to extend.
When hamstring tendons are overused or misused, tiny tears occur, causing inflammation and pain.
Cases of hamstring tendonitis can be lateral or medial depending on the muscles involved. They can also be described as distal, involving the tendons around the:
Tendon inflammation is technically called tendinitis, but popular use of tendonitis has made the terms interchangeable. Tendonitis is often confused with tendinosis, a chronic condition caused by repetitive overuse or injury.
The most common symptoms of hamstring tendonitis include:
- sharp, burning pain
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How Can Manual Therapy Help You Recover From Knee Pain
At The Pain & Wellness Centre, we see patients with both new and chronic knee pain. Following a comprehensive assessment of your pain, our Chiropractors will work with you to develop a plan of management that is personalized. They will often use a combination of both passive and active therapeutic approaches to help you with your pain. Your treatment will not only be directed at the knee only, but also the neighbouring areas of your body that play a role in supporting the knee, such as the ankle, hip and lower back. Many knee pain conditions are complicated or driven by non-painful muscular imbalances or problems at other areas in the body, and if you are not looking at the whole person and how their knee is a component towards the movement of the whole body, you may struggle to resolve the knee pain.
For passive therapeutic interventions, our therapists are trained in applying various active soft tissue therapies, medical acupuncture, as well as offering specific modalities such as shockwave therapy or interferential current as needed. They will use some of these tools and techniques to help reduce your pain and/or improve the way your knee, hip or ankle moves.
Can Someone With Pfp Syndrome Play Sports
Most people with PFP syndrome need to cut back or stop sports for some time. Follow the health care provider’s instructions on when it’s safe for you to go back to sports. This usually is when:
- Hip, leg, and core strength is near normal.
- Flexibility, especially in the hamstring muscle, has improved.
- There’s no pain with everyday activities, such as walking and going up/down stairs.
- Any pain with activity is very mild and goes away within a few minutes of starting the activity.
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Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury
The posterior cruciate ligament is the ACLs partner. Its another band of tissue that connects your thighbone to your shinbone and supports your knee. However, the PCL isnt as likely to get injured as the ACL.
You can injure the PCL if you take a hard blow to the front of your knee, such as in a car accident. Sometimes injuries occur from twisting the knee or missing a step while walking.
Stretching the ligament too far causes a strain. With enough pressure, the ligament can tear into two parts.
Along with pain, a PCL injury causes:
- swelling of the knee
- trouble walking
- weakness of the knee
Rest, ice, and elevation can help a PCL injury heal faster. You might need surgery if youve injured more than one ligament in your knee, have symptoms of instability, or you also have cartilage damage.
What Causes Knee Pain When Youre Bending It And Hows It Treated
Your knees bend many times throughout the day. The movement is necessary for daily activities, like climbing the stairs and sitting in a chair. You also bend your knees during exercises like squats and lunges.
The wear and tear of everyday life can take a toll on your knees. Plus, there are several ligaments, tendons, muscles, and bones in the area. If theres a problem with one of these structures, you might have knee pain when bending your leg.
Some causes of knee pain are minor and can be treated with home remedies. Others require medical attention. Here, well discuss the potential causes of knee pain while bending, along with signs you should see a doctor.
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Dvt: Deep Vein Thrombosis Can Cause Pain In The Back Of Your Knee And Calf
Deep vein thrombosis or DVT can cause pain in the back of your knee but the pain is not often isolated to the back of the knee. There is usually calf pain, calf swelling and perhaps thigh pain too. A DVT is not a common cause of pain and swelling, but I list it first because it can be a worrisome cause of pain.
Usually, the pain from a DVT will also occur in the back of your calf or your inner thigh. While not impossible, the pain can be isolated to just the back of your knee. Most people with a DVT will also have swelling in their calf or leg. In people who are obese, swelling of the leg is not uncommon so swelling alone does not mean you have a DVT.
People who are at risk for a DVT include people who are obese, have cancer, chronic diseases, and those of you who recently traveled and sat still for hours/days while recovering from illness, injury, or surgery. We do not know the exact incidence of people walking around with a DVT. People who recently had surgery are at an increased risk for a DVT. If your calf is tender and swollen and the back of your knee hurts, you need to see your doctor urgently or go to an emergency room.
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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Treating Knee Pain When Bending
The best treatment for knee pain when bending will depend on the underlying cause of your knee pain. In most cases it will involve:
You will find loads more information on the different conditions we have looked at including the best ways to treat knee pain when bending by using the links above.Here we have looked at the most common causes of knee pain when bending, but almost any problem with the knee can result in pain as you move it. If none of these is sounding quite right, visit the knee pain diagnosis section for more help work out what is causing your bending knee pain.
Torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament
You hear a pop and can’t move after you suddenly change direction — often while playing soccer, football, or basketball. You may have torn your ACL, which connects the femur and the tibia and prevents the tibia from moving too far forward. Your knee will hurt and swell and feel unstable.
You can tear or strain any of the tissues that hold your knee together: Ligaments connect bones to each other tendons connect muscle to bone. Irritated tendons from using them too much? That’s tendinitis.
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Rehab Access Pt Is Ready To Help Treat Your Posterior Knee Pain
Tired of feeling pain behind your knee every time youre bending it? Our team at Rehab Access Physical Therapy is ready and willing to help you treat your posterior knee pain. We can start by performing a free screening to determine the source of your pain. Then, our experienced physical therapists can build you a personalized therapy plan designed to:
- Increase joint flexibility and function.
- Improve your ability to do normal daily activities.
Contact our team today for more information about all the knee pain services we offer or to schedule your initial appointment.
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.
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Pain Behind Knee: What Should You Do
In general, pain behind the knee is one of the more challenging musculoskeletal problems. There are many possible causes muscle tear, tendon, nerve damage, and blood clots. But, like most other problems, the key to properly managing it is an early and accurate diagnosis. So, what causes pain behind the knee, and how do you find the cause?
Chronic Pain Behind The Knee
Pain at the back of the knee may occur gradually. You are unlikely to be able to pinpoint the exact time your injury occurred. These injuries often start out as a niggle which you may attempt to ignore. Eventually, they become progressively worse.
An acute injury may become chronic if it is not treated properly, or fails to heal.
Chronic knee injuries can be more difficult to treat so do not ignore the early signs!
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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: 05/24/22
Hamstring Injury And Pain At The Back Of The Knee
An injury to your hamstring is a very common reason for sharp pains at the back of your knee.
Your hamstring starts at the bottom of your pelvic bone and crosses the back of the knee and ends at the lower leg. Doctors from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons say that your hamstring helps you bend your knee.
Hamstring injuries can result in pulling the hamstring muscle or completely tearing it. This can result in pain at the back of your leg below your knee. You may also notice bruising of your leg and may find it difficult to walk for a few weeks.3
Dr. Tyler Wheeler on WebMD says that you can prevent hamstring injuries by warming up before exercising. You should also strengthen your glutes which make up your buttocks to prevent extra strain on your hamstring muscles.
At the end of the article, you can find out how to treat a pulled or torn hamstring and help ease the pain behind your knee.
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My Knee Hurts When I Bend It And Straighten It
Your knees bend countless times throughout the day. Running up the stairs, down the hall after kids, and getting into the car. You straighten the knee as you walk, descend stairs or get into and out of the car. Bending and straightening the knee are necessary for daily activities. Knee pain with bending or straightening may be a mild, transient irritation or may indicate a more significant problem. Learn more below and avoid further injury and dysfunction.
Causes Of Knee Pain When Bending
Knee pain where bending can be the result of any number of causes, including arthritis, overuse, or sports injury. Also, the causes of sharp stabbiing pain knee comes and goes are the same as these. All of these can cause knee pain when bending or regenerating a knee joint. Some knee discomfort may have a clear and obvious cause. For example, if you fall on your knees during a workout, it is safe to think about why your knee hurts. Other causes of knee pain, such as arthritis or a debilitating condition, will require clinical examination and specialist diagnosis.
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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.
Why Does My Knee Hurt When I Bend It
There are several causes of knee pain while bending. Possible conditions include:
- patellofemoral syndrome, which causes a dull ache in front of your knee
- patellar tendonitis, which causes burning and pain in or at the base of your kneecap
- iliotibial band syndrome, which can cause burning pain outside of your knee that spreads to your hip or thigh
- hamstring tendonitis, which leads to pain behind your knee and thigh
- quadriceps tendonitis, which causes pain above or in front of your knee
- knee bursitis, which may cause swelling, warmth, and pain over or below the knee
- osteoarthritis, which causes diffuse knee pain, swelling, and stiffness in the morning
- injury or trauma to the knee joint or ligaments, which may cause sharp pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the knee
- Bakers cyst, which might cause tightness and swelling behind your knee
The location of your knee pain can help you pinpoint the cause. Take note if you have:
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