The severe pain behind the knee makes you feel old, isn’t it? But, you are not alone. It is one of the most common pain that majority of people can experience. So, you need not panic about it. Also called as the posterior knee pain, it can cause severe discomfort. Your knee is the most complex and large joint in your body. A pain-free knee ensures smooth movement. Therefore, it is important to know in detail about the pain behind the knee.
Table of Contents
You need the knees in good condition to ensure smooth movement. The knee is an important anatomy in the human body that comprises of the following:
- Bones: It has shin bone popularly known as tibia, a smaller bone called the fibula, femur the thigh bone, kneecap also known as the patella.
- Ligaments: ACL, LCL, PCL, MCL
Your knee suffer from several impact that happens due to the simple activities everyday. You can even get injured, which causes great pain. So, it can finally result in severe pain behind the knee. To avoid the pain, you need to minimize the damage. Therefore, avoid strain on the joint or avoid direct impact on the knees.
What Are The Main Causes Of Pain Behind The Knee?
You can suffer the excruitiating pain anytime in your life. The pain behind the knee is caused by diverse conditions in your life. But, the majority of them are injury-related. Some diseases or life threathening diseases can cause the pain. So, you need to pay attention to your body and keep it safe from injuries. The most common causes of pain behind the knee are:
Your muscles can feel tight. The tightness is referred as cramps. Too much work on the muscles without stretching it can lead to the muscles tightness. So, the leg cramps can cause the pain behind the knee. The overuse of the muscles will cause cramps that is not easy to overcome even after stretching.
The leg cramps is also called as overuse syndrome. It is not just restricted to the pain behind the knee. So, it may affect other areas like the calf near the knee or the thigh. The immense pain is sudden and lasts for seconds to minutes. The pain intensity can vary from painful to severe. So, you may experience painful spasm that is sudden. The main reasons that causes leg cramps are:
Women may also experience leg cramps when they are pregnant. It is very common side effect of pregnancy. Stretching the calves regularly can offer good relief to you and relieve the pain caused by the cramps. You need to put less strain o your knees to avoid cramps. So, shorten the stride to relive the pressure on the knees and muscles.
If you have a bulge behind the knee, then it is baker’s cyst. The fluid-filled cysts causes tightness and pain behind the knee. So, you cannot extend your knee or flex it or become active. It causes severe discomfort and pain. The problem also known as popliteal cyst is one of the main reasons behind the pain behind the knee.
Your body has fluid-filled sacs throughout the body. It helps with the lubrication and cushioning of the body parts. So, it makes the movement easier. The inflammation in the fluid-filled sac behind the knee can cause Baker’s cyst. Therefore, it can cause distress in the body.
You may have heard about the condition known as Arthritis. It is the inflammation or wear and tear of the knee joint. So, it can cause pain behind the knee that is severe in the morning. It is the degenerative disease leading to severe wear and tear on the joints. The different types are:
It is the most common type of arthritis. It happens with the increasing age that causes the breakdown of cartilage.
The Lupus is another autoimmune disease that can affect the knees and joints. So, it causes inflammation leading to severe pain.
The type of arthritis can lead to scaly patches and joint pain on the skin.
The tear in the cartilage of the knee joint causes severe pain. The cartilage cushions the knee joint from the daily wear and tear. So, the menisci (the cartilage piece) is susceptible to injuries leading to pain. The pain behind the knee is caused by the tearing of the posterior part of the menisci.
Runner’s knee is the condition that happens when the cartilage in the knee joint wears down. With the cartilage protecting the joints gone, the bones rub together. So, it results in aching pain behind the knee.
A hamstring injury is another cause of pain as it is caused due to the strain or pain in the muscles. The muscles in the back of thigh can tear completely if it is pulled too far. So, the injury is common athletes who take part in running, tennis, basketball, football or tennis.
Blood clots due to prolonged bed rest can cause selling and pain behind the knee. People recovering from surgery or experience with knee trauma can suffer from the condition. Age and weight are the decisive factors in the severity of the condition.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Many people who have a DVT feel more pain when they stand up. Nevertheless, they may feel pain in their leg and knee at most times. You may see the following symptoms:
- Swelling in the area
- Skin at the area is reddish or warm to touch
- Visible surface veins
- Old people, excess weight in the body, and smoking are the main reasons that results in DVT.
Other than the above mentioned problems, the ACL and PCL injuries can also result in pain. So, it is important to see a medical professional to pinpoint the actual problem. It will result in getting the right treatment to eliminate the pain.
Diagnosing Pain Behind The Knee
You need to consult your doctor as soon as possible to get necessary treatment for your knee pain. The doctor may perform the following steps to detect the severity of your pain behind the knee. So, the diagnosing involves the one or more of the following assessments:
Your doctor may ask about your complete medical history. Therefore, it will shed light on the trauma, injuries, or accidents you have encountered. It will help develop a good treatment plan.
Know About Recent Activities
Tracking the recent activities will help determine the actual cause of the pain behind the knee. Subsequently, it gives the idea about the nature of the pain and the root issue.
The magnetic resonance imaging can pinpoint the exact area of pain to help your doctor identify the right treatment plan.
Some the other common methods to determine the issue are:
- Blood test
Treatment For Pain Behind The Knee
You need to get treatment for the pain behind the knee to alleviate the distress from the body. The common treatment available are:
The PRICE is the acronym for protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. So, it has the following steps to eliminate the distress from the body,
- Protection: It refers to using a support to protect the distressed area from future injury.
- Rest: You need to rest the leg by reducing the physical activity and avoiding exercise to eliminate the pressure on the legs. Using support for the legs like walking stick or crutches to take the pressure off the knee.
- Ice: You can apply the icepack on the affected knee can give your relief from the pain behind the knee. So, keeping ice pack on the affected are for a duration of fifteen to twenty minutes will reduce the pain. Keeping it every two to three hours will give you good relief. Instead of ice pack, frozen peas also works. But, you should take care not to touch the ice pack directly on your skin. Using it directly can cause frostbite or ice burn. So, wrap the ice pack in a cloth or towel to avoid direct contact on skin.
- Compression: Compressing the affected area with elastic compression bandage can limit the swelling and pain considerably. It is wise to use the compression bandages in the day time to reduce the distress.
- Elevation: Elevating the leg can give relief from the pain behind the knee. So, raising the leg above the level of the heart reduces the swelling. It can reduce the pain and distress.
Over the counter medication especially NSAIDS can reduce the inflammation. So, medicines like ibuprofen or aspirin can reduce the pain. In low doses the medicines offer pain relief. Your doctor may suggest high doses for anti-inflammatory effect along with pain relief.
Knee braces can act as support to relive the pain in the knee. You can wear it to prevent injuries as well. The knee braces made from the combination of foam, plastic, metal, elastic material, and straps can eliminate the pain. So, your doctor may suggest wearing the knee braces to reduce the pain behind the back. It is available in different colors, sizes, and designs to suit the individual needs.
Light exercises to relive the pain by strengthening the knee. It will help take the pressure on the legs without feeling pain.
To ease the muscle and joint pain, the physical therapy is the best. A licensed physical therapist can work with you closely to relieve the pain. So, the professional can use diverse techniques to strengthen the muscles. It will make your body feel better. Therefore, you can move better without any distress. Your physical therapist may use the following techniques:
- Ice and heat
- Exercises and stretches
- Ultrasound Massage
- Muscle stimulation (Electrical Nerve)
Excess weight of the body can affect the knee negatively. So, the knee problems is common among obese of overweight people. The relief from knee pain is possible with just a small weight loss. So, it can offer relief from the chronic pain behind the knee. By maintaining the right weight, it is easy to lower the chances of getting osteoarthritis.
Another treatment to reduce inflammation and pain is to take the cortisone injections. The shots can relieve the pain and distress associated with the inflammation. The medication is a combination of corticosteroid and a local anesthetic. Therefore, it relieves the pain behind the knee without any delay.
Invasive surgery is suggested by your doctor for the more serious kind of pain. So, the surgery can correct the knee problem that causes the severe distress.
Preventing The Pain Behind The Knee
You can take some precautions in life to prevent the distress of pain behind the knee. It will eliminate the need to seek treatment for the severe discomfort. The main pointers for a pain-free knee are:
Maintaining Healthy Weight
Excess weight can put pressure on your knees. So, it increases your chances of getting arthritis and other issues. A healthy weight will decrease the pressure on your knees. Therefore, maintaining the right weight depending on your age, sex, and height is ideal. It will eliminate unnecessary stress on the knees. So, it will decrease the probability of getting knee injuries.
Women love their heels. But, unfortunately, it is not good for the knee. So, wearing sensible shoes is important to prevent the pain. Stop wearing shoes to look stylish and give importance to your health. A good shoes that fits the legs will help maintain the balance and proper leg alignment. Therefore, it will prevent any serious knee injuries.
Low Impact Exercise
A low-impact exercise can strengthen the knees without putting any strain. You can opt for cross-country skiing machine or a rowing machine in the gym to get the workout. If you have no gym membership, then swim or walk. The low impact exercise like swimming and walking will strengthen the knees to overcome the daily strain.
Strengthen your leg muscles to better support your knees and avoid injuries by working out with weights. But be sure to consult with an expert first on the right way to life weights to prevent knee pain.
The pain behind the knee can make your day sour. It will cause distress and problems in your daily life. So, you need to take necessary action at the right time to overcome the pain. Do not let your ignorance prevent you from losing the mobility. Therefore, talk to your doctor immediately.