Pain Behind The Knee: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

By Ameera Mills. Updated: April 9, 2020
Pain Behind The Knee: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Do you suffer from pain behind the kneecap? It is common to suffer from bad knees, especially if you are an athlete, elderly or do a lot of sport. The area behind the knee, if not treated correctly, can injure easily. There are several types of injuries and conditions which can affect the general knee area. Pain can manifest in one area but only appear in another. Therefore, it is important to know where the pain is coming from so that you can treat it accordingly.

Do you experience pain behind the knee when bending? How about pain behind the knee when running? For more about its pain behind the knee causes, symptoms and prevention, keep reading here at OneHOWTO.

You may also be interested in: How to relieve knee pain naturally

Pain behind the knee: symptoms

Pain behind the knee in itself, highlights the main symptoms: pain. Other common symptoms of knee pain include: swelling, throbbing, weakness, bruising and stiffness. However, depending on what you are suffering from, symptoms may differ. Therefore, when analyzing pain behind the knee, we need to look at the different causes. Keep reading to find out the main causes of knee pain.

For more, you can also take a look at our article where we answer the questions, ‘‘Why do my knees hurt?’’

Pain behind the knee causes: popliteal injury

Do you feel discomfort in the knee area when walking, pain behind the knee when bending and stretching or just a general burning sensation in this area? It is possible you are suffering from a popliteal injury. This can also be recognized if, when palpating, there is a muscular bulge or contracture in the subsidence of the area.

The popliteus is a muscle that is located just above the calf and behind the knee. It is a very small and short muscle and not many people know it exists until injured. However, this small muscle, sometimes forgotten, has its function. For example, when the knee is extended, the popliteus is responsible for initiating the flexion. In addition, it maintains balance of the knee allowing for stability.

If you go running regularly you will know that this exercise type can impact the legs greatly. This muscle also intervenes in this striding movement. The impact receives by constantly hitting the ground can cause the popliteal muscle to overload, which can cause stiffness and lack of elasticity in the knees. This can then cause the tendon to swell and result in tendinitis. Popliteal tendonitis can result as pain in the knee, specifically in the back of the knee. Do you feel pain behind the knee after exercise, especially after or while doing squats or running downhill? Then it is possible that you are suffering from this injury.

If exercise is continued and physical activity is not reduced, knee tendinitis could become chronic. That is why it is important that if you take note of this discomfort and lower your general pace, in addition to decreasing the intensity of your training.

Popliteal tendonitis: treatment

If you are experiencing this type of discomfort you can apply ice to calm the pain and reduce any apparent inflammation. You can also use compression stockings for a while to increase blood flow and decrease pain. We recommend that you go to the doctor as soon as you notice any symptoms. A doctor will be able to help you treat the injury accordingly.

Pain Behind The Knee: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment - Pain behind the knee causes: popliteal injury

What causes pain behind the knee: Baker's cyst

Baker's cyst is a well-known knee injury. Baker’s cyst is caused by an accumulation of synovial fluid in the knee and is generally concentrated in the bottom of hamstring. Thus, this fluid deposit forms a cyst in the area called Baker's cyst.

This injury usually results due to swollen knees. This swelling produces pain and stiffness behind the knee. It will feel as if you have a small water balloon on the back of your knee. Sometimes it can also result in spread inflammation or bruising. Causes of Baker’s cyst include:

Baker’s cyst: treatment

To treat Baker’s cyst, you need to find the route of the cause or the cyst. Sometimes the cyst requires professional drainage done by a doctor. If the cyst is too big or results in more serious symptoms, it can be removed by surgery. If untreated this knee problem can reappear over time.

Muscle pain behind the knee: tendinitis

Have you heard of the muscle biceps femoris? This muscle has two parts; the long head, which is attached to the ischium (the lower and back part of the hip bone), and the short head, which is attached to the femur. Both allow the knee to flex, but the longer muscle also helps the hip to extend. When knees are semi-flexed, the biceps femoris aids external rotation.

If you are a runner, it is possible that this muscle is damaged. This damage can cause pain and swelling in the area where the tendon inserts into the bone. If you feel pain when you bend your knee or when you have just exercised, you are possibly suffering from this tendinitis.

Tendinitis: treatment

The best treatment for this injury is to massage the painful area and remember to stretch before doing sport. In addition, you can also treat tendinitis with some over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. If the injury worsens, we recommend consulting a professional.

Pain Behind The Knee: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment - Muscle pain behind the knee: tendinitis

Swelling and pain behind the knee: overloaded muscles

Pain in the back of the knee can also be caused by a progressive overload (stress placed on the muscle). This can happen to two muscle types the gastrocnemius or the soleus. Both of these muscles join to the Achilles tendon.

These muscles have several functions and work very hard when you run or stride, but they are also vital when feet contact the ground. They lessen the impact of this action by distributing weight. This can, however, cause an overload of the gastrocnemius that can often result in the appearance of tendonitis, which would cause pain behind the knee due to inflammation.

Pain behind the kneecap: causes

Other causes that can lead to pain behind the knee include:

  • Having flat feet.
  • Poor bone alignment, also known as poor alignment of the patellofemoral joint.
  • When there is stiffness or weakness in the muscles of the thigh, both anterior and posterior.
  • Overloaded exercises like running, jumping, skiing or playing soccer.
  • Cartilage injuries.
  • Arthritis.
  • Dislocation of the kneecap (when it comes out of its place).
  • A clamping of the inner lining of the knee that causes it to move.

For more about treating pain behind the knee, we recommend taking a look at our following article:

Knee pain: prevention

Do you often suffer from pain behind the kneecap? If so, we recommend taking a look at these ways to prevent pain behind the knee:

  • Stretch and warm-up well before you do any exercise.
  • Avoid excessive weight-gain. Bu maintaining a healthy weight you will relieve pressure from your knees.
  • Practice low-impact exercise that doesn’t put too much force onto your knees.
  • Wear shows which offer your feet and knees enough support and help with alignment.
  • Take it slow.

If you suffer from constant knee pain which does not remit, we recommend consulting a physical therapist.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Pain Behind The Knee: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

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