What Causes Pain In The Back Of the Knee And How To Cure It?


Pain behind the knee or posterior knee pain is one of the most common forms of aches many gym goers, and even professional bodybuilders have to deal with. This occurs mainly because of an injury to the popliteus muscle – a small muscle located right behind the knee joint.

Damage or strain to this tissue can lead to severe pain and compromised mobility. It also means that you might not be able to work out for a while. Here’s what you need to know in order to speed up the recovery process and get back to pumping iron in case you have an injured popliteus.

What Warrants Immediate Medical Attention?

Most popliteus muscle injuries get cured on their own or with resting and home remedies, and emergency care is hardly ever needed. However, if you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical help:

  • Swelling around the knee joint
  • A cyst or lump forming around the back of the knee
  • Fluid accumulating around the knee
  • Clicking or popping sound in the knee when joint is moved
  • Excessive pain and locking of the knee

Symptoms Of Popliteus Injury

Spotting the injury is easy mainly because of the unique location the pain is felt.

  • Pain behind the knee joint, especially when putting weight on the affected leg
  • Tenderness at the back of the knee
  • Straightening the knee becomes painful

Causes Of Popliteus Injury

Say you’re running, and you get this persistent pain in your legs and feet which definitely has nothing to do with exerted muscles. You might check in with orthopedic surgeons in Portland to see if any operation can help set you straight, or if an option like orthotics (shoe inserts to shape the sole of the foot in a more healthy way) may be necessary.

The main cause of popliteus injury is arthritis, especially among old people. The pain is akin to a dull toothache, which occasionally becomes intense after sudden movements. Sometimes mild swelling also accompanies the pain.  Moreover, the pain can become intense when you get out of a chair or car seat after sitting there for a while. Prolonged walking or biking can make it worse. Proper medication and rest can improve the condition and reduce the pain.

A minor cut of the cartilage surface can also cause the pain behind the knee. Another, somewhat uncommon reason for the posterior knee pain is a baker’s cyst. It is a cyst formed after fluid buildup as a result of a knee injury or arthritis.

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Things To Avoid During Posterior Knee Injury

Avoid putting too much stress on the affected knee. Exercise, jogging, and running should make you tired but shouldn’t cause any pain. Muscles might be a little sore after an intense workout, however, sharp, sudden pain anywhere in the joints is a clear signal to stop the exercise, and if it persists, see your doctor. Let pain be your guide and never try to push through the pain.

How To Avoid And Cure Posterior Knee Injury

To prevent injury, warming up and proper form have paramount importance. If you find certain parts of your body compensating for other parts, that means your posture isn’t correct. If it’s happening because of pain in the knee, stop the workout right away.

When starting a workout, always begin with simple stretching exercises for your quads. When returning from an injury, the warm-up is even more important plus you need to start with simple exercises, such as Straight Leg Raises, Side Leg Raises, Hamstring Curls, Prone Straight Leg Raises, Wall Squats, and Calf Raises, that don’t put too much stress on the knee. You might also want to minimize stress on the knee by reducing frequency and intensity.

Another important thing to remember if you have the posterior knee injury is to keep your weight in check. If you’re going through a long injury, a sedentary pause in an active lifestyle can trigger weight gain. Every extra pound means four more pounds on your knee joints, which can delay the healing process or even make your condition worse. A regular walk and healthy diet plan should help you keep your weight in an optimal range. If you have trouble walking because of the injury, consult your doctor. They might recommend medicine and even a walking knee brace to help you move around without putting extra weight on your knee, which can deteriorate the condition.

How To Relieve Pain?

RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) is an excellent approach to reducing the pain. Stopping or taking a break from the activity causing the issue is the first step towards recovery. Ice is a natural and most effective anti-inflammatory agent. However, never apply ice directly onto the skin, instead, put it in a plastic bag and place it on the affected knee for 15-20 minutes. Compressing the knee with an elastic bandage will decrease swelling.

When sitting or lying, elevate the knee using pillows and keep it above the level of your heart to further reduce swelling. You may also consider over the counter pain medicine. In case the pain gets worse, consult your physician. The good news is that these tears usually heal with time and surgery isn’t required. In short, recovery from a posterior knee injury is all about giving your knee proper rest, pain management, and staying healthy.

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Joseph Fleming: Co-Founder at Vive Health. Our mission at Vive is to provide you with the highest quality health and medical products at a great value. We understand the importance of living comfortably no matter what your age or lifestyle requires. This is why our team of experts continuously develop and improve our product line. We strive to make ViveHealth.com your one-stop shop for everything you need to maintain your active lifestyle.


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