Why Does My Knee Hurt When I Bend My Leg
Your knee can cause pain because of several reasons. Some of them are:
- Injury or trauma to the knee ligaments or joint: it may cause sharp pain and difficulty in moving your knee
- Patellofemoral syndrome: causes pain in front of your knee
- Iliotibial band syndrome: causes pain in your knee that spread to your thigh or hip
- Patellar tendonitis: causes burning pain in your kneecap
- Hamstring tendonitis: causes pain behind your knee and/or thigh
- Quadriceps tendonitis: leads to pain in front of your knee
- Osteoarthritis: causes diffuse knee swelling, stiffness, and pain, especially in the morning
- Knee bursitis: may cause warmth, swelling, and pain below or over the knee
- Bakers cyst: may cause swelling and tightness behind your knee
Where exactly do you feel knee pain when bending? Is the pain behind your knee or above it? Knowing the location of your knee pain can help you identify the cause. So, take notes if you have the following types of knee pain.
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Taking It On The Kneecap
Diagnosing and treating patellofemoral pain.
Studies have shown that roughly half of recreational runners will suffer an injury during their training year, with the knee as the most common site of injury. Kneecap pain can be debilitating and frustrating, and the prolonged pain and dysfunction lead many to abandon or limit running. Kneecap pain is sometimes referred to as runners knee, chondromalacia patella or patellofemoral pain.
The knee joint is comprised of three bones: the tibia, the femur and the kneecap or patella. The patellofemoral joint generally refers to the kneecap and its underlying groove or trochlea, with which it articulates. The four muscles of the quadriceps share a common attachment on the patella. The kneecap plays an important role as it lengthens the lever arm of the muscles and tendons of the quad and protects the front of the knee from direct trauma. Because its subjected to forces up to 8 times bodyweight with running and jumping, the cartilage underneath the kneecap is among the thickest in the body. This cartilage is a natural shock absorber and protects the bony surfaces of the joint from stress. While cartilage doesnt have any nerve supply, the underlying bone is highly innervated and becomes vulnerable when no longer protected by the padding of the cartilage.
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Symptoms and Sources
How Can I Treat My Knee Pain
Treatments at home, such as rest, ice, using bandages or bracing, and elevation can often help. If your doctor gives permission, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications and stretching or strengthening exercises can also often aid in relieving the pain. If your symptoms worsen or do not improve, make sure to seek medical attention.
Are you experiencing knee pain while bending down? At Flexogenix®, our board-certified physicians are dedicated to non-surgical solutions for knee and joint pain. Contact us today for a no-cost consultation and let us give you a personalized plan to relieve your pain and get you back to the active lifestyle that you deserve.
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What Causes Runners Knee
Iliotibial band syndrome is a sign of excessive strain. Its caused by a combination of myofascial shortening and hardening, restricted mobility and lack of strength, and the imbalances that these result in.
Restricted mobility of the tensor fasciae latae muscle as a cause of ITBSThe tensor fasciae latae and glutes both extend out into the ITB and provide it with the tension it needs to create stability. If the tensor fasciae latae creates too much tension , the thigh rotates inward and the hip bends more. This also increases tension all along the iliotibial band causing greater friction on the outside of the knee. You could try to imagine it like a piece of string that keeps rubbing against the sharp edge of a stone. Sooner or later, this will cause irritation.
Lack of activity and weakness in the glutes as a cause of ITBSThe main role of the glutes muscles is to stretch the hip. Your body is completely upright and your thighs, pelvis and upper body are all in one straight, upright line. Our glutes suffer from the comfort we take in sitting down all the time. Constant compression severely limits the mobility and neuromuscular activity of these muscles. If the glutes are weak in the first place, they wont be able to maintain the balance with the tensor fasciae latae properly.
Treating Lateral Knee Pain
Many of the aforementioned conditions, especially if its onset is gradual, are caused by overuse and poor training habits. For example, adding too heavy a load, too quickly or suddenly increasing the intensity of your workouts can be bad news for your knees.
Even playing sports on uneven, poorly maintained fields can cause major lateral knee pain. Of course, structural abnormalities can also prove to be the culprit, but most often, you can work with a Exercise Physiologist to fix any habits that arent serving you.
When you visit your physiotherapist to treat your lateral knee pain, youll likely be working on various knee flexion exercises using proper form. By increasing flexion of the knee and improving its range of motion, youre also less likely to experience an injury since youll have the tools to protect your knees from further damage, therefore relieving lateral knee pain.
For example, by applying pressure to the fibula and manually rotating the lower leg posteriorly, your physiotherapist can help increase the range of motion in your knee flexion with less lateral knee pain. If this therapy method helps, your physiotherapist can then use kinesthetic tape to hold the posterior rotation of the fibula in place for about 48 hours, giving your knee more range of motion while allowing your body to heal.
Check out our video going into more detail about this process
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What Does It Mean When The Outer Side Of Your Knee Hurts
There are a few possible reasons for why the outer side of your knee might hurt. One possibility is that you have a condition known as IT band syndrome, which is when the iliotibial band becomes irritated and inflamed. Another possibility is that you have bursitis, which is when the fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions between bones and tendons become inflamed. Or, you could simply have a muscle strain or sprain. However, its always best to consult with a doctor or physical therapist to get a proper diagnosis.
Outer knee pain or lateral knee pain refers to pain on the outside of the knee. There are several reasons why we experience outer knee pain. Overstretching or tearing the anterior cruciate ligament is a common cause of anterior knee pain. Meniscus tears can be avoided as you age. Over-50s are more likely to experience knee pain caused by the outer knee. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including an injured knee or a swollen fibrous tissue band. If you have iliotibial band syndrome, your outside knee may be causing you pain.
When you first feel pain due to anterior knee ligament damage, you may hear a pop. When you rest, you usually get better due to the reduction of pain caused by osteoarthritis. If you present to your doctor with symptoms, he or she may be able to diagnose the injury. Your doctor may advise you to have a knee procedure performed to determine whether your cartilage or ligaments have been damaged.
The Most Common Cause Of Pain On The Outside Of The Knee Is The Iliotibial Band
“IT Band Syndrome” or “Runner’s Knee” is a very common cause of pain on the outside of the knee… and you DON’T have to be a runner to get it.
The IT band is a long tendon that runs from your hip down the outside of the thigh, and it attaches on the outside of the lower leg, just below the knee joint.
If the muscles that attach to the IT band are either too stiff or too weak, that can lead the IT band to rub over the outside of the knee joint, causing it to get inflamed and irritated.
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Preventing iliotibial band syndrome might be difficult if youre an athlete such as a skier, cyclist or long-distance runner. But you might try changing some of the ways you do those activities to reduce your risk of ITBS. Examples include:
- Avoid running up or down a hill or any slanted surface.
- Make sure you have the right technique no matter what activity you do.
- Shift training intensity gradually. Slowly speed up when youre bicycling instead of suddenly switching from slow to fast .
- Slowly warm up and slowly cool down.
- Wear supportive shoes.
Superior Tibiofibular Joint Sprain
The tibiofibular joint is the point in the knee where the tops of the shin bones join. Dislocation of this joint is likely to have been caused by an impact or fall onto the knee, particularly when it is in a fully bent position. Symptoms include:
- Pain and swelling on the outer surface of your shin.
- In addition, the top of the fibula bone may appear more prominent than normal on the outside of your knee.
- More on Tibiofibular joint sprain
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How Do You Relieve Pain On The Outside Of Your Knee
Strengthening the knee and improving the iliotibial bands flexibility are also useful exercises. Ice on the outside of the knee is also an option. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen , naproxen , or acetaminophen , can help to reduce inflammation.
The most common complaint for which a person goes to their doctor is knee pain. Inflammation occurs in response to an injury and acts as a natural defense mechanism. It can be broken down in two ways: by controlling the substances that cause inflammation and by limiting the extent of the damage. Protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation, and ice are all common home care techniques for knee pain. If you cant put weight on your knee, feel ill, or have a fever, you should go to the emergency room, as your knee may be red and hot. This rule can apply to newly injured knees as well as those that have not yet been disabled. The doctor will usually request that the patient specify the exact nature of the pain.
Acute and chronic knee pain are two possible diagnoses. It is possible to have acute knee pain as a result of an infection or injury. Chronic knee pain is often caused by an injury or inflammation . Aside from these general precautions, there are some additional precautions you can take to reduce the likelihood of an injury to the knee.
If You Feel Inner Knee Pain Locking Of Your Knee Or Hear A Clicking Sound:
You might be feeling symptoms of medial knee plica syndrome. A lot of people with this syndrome say that their knee doesnt feel stable during daily activities. The Patella Stabilizer Knee Brace can help to feel stability within your knee and aid in the healing process. It also may hurt to walk up and down the stairs or when running. The knee may feel achy or worse at night or when you are active. It may hurt to squat, bend, or get up after you sit for a long period of time.
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Why Do My Knees Hurt When I Bend Them Or Go Up And Down Stairs
Many knee pain patients will report that they have trouble with deep bending through the knee, or going up and down stairs due to an increase in anterior knee pain. When you bend the knee under load, such as when you go down or up the stairs, there are a lot of muscles that are working, and putting pressure on the kneecap via their strong tendinous attachments. The patella sits above a groove in the femur when we are standing. When we start to bend the knee, the kneecap glides into this groove. This groove keeps the kneecap stable and in place. Within the groove, there will be building pressure within the patellofemoral space . Under normal circumstances, we will be able to tolerate this increase in joint pressure without any concerns. However, when there is thinning of the cartilage on the underside of the kneecap, as is the case of chondromalacia patella, our tolerance for compression is lessened, and this may provoke feelings of pain. Further, if there is osteoarthritis in the knee, affecting the joint space or shape of the bone, this can slightly change the way the kneecap tracks and alter the forces seen acting on the knee.
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What Can You Do For The Pain
Your plan will depend on your specific injury. Mild to moderate issues will often get better on their own. To speed the healing, you can:
- Rest your knee. Take a few days off from intense activity.
- Ice it to curb pain and swelling. Do it for 15 to 20 minutes every 3 to 4 hours. Keep doing it for 2 to 3 days or until the pain is gone.
- Compress your knee. Use an elastic bandage, straps, or sleeves to wrap the joint. It will keep down swelling or add support.
- Elevate your knee with a pillow under your heel when you’re sitting or lying down to cut down on swelling.
- Take anti-inflammatorymedications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen will help with pain and swelling. Follow the instructions on the label. These drugs can have side effects, so you should only use them now and then unless your doctor says otherwise.
- Practice stretching and strengthening exercises if your doctor recommends them. You may want to do physical therapy, too.
Make an appointment with a doctor if you still have pain after 2 weeks of home treatment, if the knee becomes warm, or if you have fever along with a painful, swollen knee.
Some people with knee pain need more help. For instance, if you have bursitis, your doctor may need to draw out extra fluid from the bursa in your knee. If you have arthritis, you may need an occasional corticosteroid shot to settle down inflammation. And if you have a torn ligament or certain knee injuries, you may need surgery.
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Knee Pain On The Outside Of The Knee
Your knee is a complex part of your body. Various ligaments and bones, different types of cartilage, and the iliotibial band are located in and around your knee.
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A number of problems with these structures can lead to pain on the outside of your knee. These problems are often the result of repeatedly bending your knee during sports or during years and years of everyday activities. Trauma to the knee can also lead to outside knee pain. Treatment depends on the underlying cause.
What Is The Long
For minor injuries, the ligament may heal without any issue. However, its important to note that if the ligament got severely stretched, it may never regain its prior stability. This means that its more likely that the knee will be somewhat unstable and you could easily injure it again. The joint could become swollen and sore simply from physical activity or minor injury.
For those with a major injury who dont have surgery, the joint will most likely remain unstable and easily injured. You may not be able to do physical activities that require repetitive use of the knee, including running, climbing, or biking. Pain could result from minor activities like walking or standing for extended periods. You may have to wear a brace to protect the joint during physical activity.
For those who have surgery, the outlook will depend on the severity of the original injury and the surgical procedure. Generally, youll have improved mobility and stability after the joint completely heals. You may have to wear a brace or limit physical activities in the future to help prevent reinjuring the knee.
In knee injuries involving more than just the LCL, treatment and outlook may be different, as those injuries could be more severe.
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Preventing It Band Issues
To prevent IT band issues from occurring, its important that you take care of your body while working out. Practice good form and dont exert yourself beyond your limits. Always stretch, warm up, and cool down when working out. You may wish to use a foam roller to loosen up your IT band.
Continue doing exercises to strengthen and stretch your body. This will also help to balance out your body if youre often doing the same type of repetitive activity. Do the exercises at least three times per week. Take at least one full day of rest per week to allow yourself time to recover between workouts.
Lateral Tibial Plateau Fracture
The tibial plateau is located at the top of the shin at the knee. A break on the outer or lateral part of the tibial plateau can cause considerable knee pain. A lateral tibial plateau fracture is often the result of a vehicle accident or a bad fall that impacts the outer knee directly.
If the bones are still aligned, surgery may not be required to treat the injury. If not, you may need surgery to place the affected bones in their proper position and secure them with screws or plates.
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How Is Knee Pain On The Outside Of The Knee Diagnosed
When you see a doctor about lateral knee pain, theyll first ask you to describe the location and type of pain, for example is the pain sharp or aching? Theyll also ask you when the pain started and what activity you were doing when your symptoms began.
Theyll then perform a physical examination that will typically involve extending and flexing your knee, as well as moving it gently from side to side. This may reveal whether theres any swelling, areas of tenderness, or looseness in any of the ligaments.
Imaging tests may also be appropriate, including one or more of the following:
- X-ray to see bones
- Magnetic resonance imaging to get detailed images of ligaments, tendons, muscles, and cartilage
- Computed tomography scan provides a more detailed image of the bone than is possible with a standard X-ray
Based on your symptoms, the physical exam and imaging, a doctor should be able to diagnose the cause and severity of your knee injury and propose a treatment plan.
For minor lateral knee injuries, rest and conservative measures are all that are needed to allow them to heal. However, ligament tears, meniscus tears, and advanced arthritis may require surgery.