What To Expect At Your Office Visit
Your provider will perform a physical exam, and look at your knees, hips, legs, and other joints.
Your provider may do the following tests:
- MRI of the knee if a ligament or meniscus tear could be the cause
- CT scan of the knee
- Joint fluid culture
Your provider may inject a steroid into your knee to reduce pain and inflammation.
You may need to learn stretching and strengthening exercises. You also may need to see a podiatrist to be fitted for orthotics.
In some cases, you may need surgery.
What Does It Mean When The Back Of Your Knee Hurts
According to Dr. Jeremy James, DC, CSCS, and founder of the exercise program FitForever, pain at the back of your knee can be caused by a multitude of things. Dr. James advises to first ask this question: “If there was a recent incident in which you experienced a ‘pop,’ twist, fall, or painful incident in, or around, the knee.” If the answer is yes, you could be dealing with a hamstring strain, or “a microscopic tear in the muscles on the back of the thigh,” a meniscal tear, or “a tear in the c-shaped, shock-absorbing cartilage that lies between the upper and lower leg” , or a posterior cruciate ligament tear, which is the ligament on the back of the knee. However, if your pain is not a result of a specific accident, the answer becomes much more complex.
Complications From Rear Knee Pain
There are different complications from rear knee pain, depending on the underlying cause.
A DVT should always be treated urgently as it can travel to your lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism, which is life-threatening.
To avoid complications from rear knee pain, you should see a doctor if:
- You have a fever
- You have a bluish discoloration, pain, swelling, numbness or tingling in your affected leg
- You have severe pain even when your leg is not bearing weight
- Your pain lasts longer than three days or gets worse
- Your affected leg cant bear weight
You should also see a doctor if your knee:
- Is misshapen
- Is warm, red or swollen
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Consult With The Spine & Rehab Group
Having a healthy body is key to living a full and active life. At the Spine & Rehab Group, we are committed to helping our patients recover from uncomfortable conditions or injuries that are holding them back.
The Spine & Rehab Group is composed of top-rated, board-certified physicians serving in seven convenient locations around New York. With over 15 years of experience, we are well-trained in non-surgical approaches that bring our patients back to full health. Contact us to schedule an appointment.
Does Back Pain Cause Knee Pain
As one of the most complex joints in the body, the knee allows the entire leg to move, flex, and have a good range of motion. Meanwhile, with its vertebrae and shock-absorbing discs, the back has a myriad of responsibilities it holds you physically together and secures the high-speed conduit for your complex and delicate nervous system.
Together, the knees and the back provide flexibility, motion, and support. However, they also rely on each other to maintain balance and equilibrium. Therefore, when your back hurts, so might your knees.
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A Popping Sensation Behind The Knee Or Pain And Stiffness At The Side Of The Knee
May be the result of a torn meniscus, particularly the posterior horn of the meniscus. This can often occur due to an impact or twisting sports injury, and is more likely as one gets older and the meniscus becomes worn. Pain might not be evident until some time after the injury occurred. RICE may temporarily alleviate the symptoms, but the tear will often require a surgical procedure.
Blood Clots Behind Knee
It is important to note that pain and swelling behind the knee may be associated with blood clots. Blood clots behind the knee are especially common for those on bed rest or prolonged laying down, recovering from surgery or who have experienced trauma to the knee. Age and weight may also be a factor in blood clots. If you are experiencing behind knee pain, see a doctor to diagnose your situation, especially as you may be experiencing a blood clot behind knee.
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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.
Causes Of Sudden Knee Pain
The knee is a complex joint with many moving parts, making it very injury prone.
As we get older, the stress of everyday movements can trigger symptoms of pain in our knees.
If you notice sudden knee pain, it can be hard to know what caused it or what you should do next.
Sometimes sudden knee pain is a medical emergency that requires attention from a medical professional, while some knee conditions you can treat at home.
However, if you have sudden knee pain that turns into persistent pain, you should always see a doctor.
In the article below, we will talk about the causes of sudden knee pain to plan your next steps.
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Posterior Knee Pain Exercises
Pain behind the knee can be quite debilitating, as we use our legs to walk every day. If you are unfortunate enough to suffer from knee pain, certain exercises may help.
Prone wall stretches While standing, lay your back flat on the surface of a wall. Place the heel of your injured knee on to the wall without bending the knee. Increase the stretch by moving your body closer to the wall and hold for 30 seconds. Then slowly move your body away from the wall, decreasing the stretch. Repeat this exercise about eight times.
Leg to chest maneuver While sitting upright in a firm chair, place both feet firmly on the floor. Now, slowly lift the leg with the contracted muscles off the floor and bend your knee as you lift your leg toward your chest. You can also place your hand behind your knee to increase the stretch. Hold this position for five seconds. This exercise will help to loosen your contracted hamstrings.
Upright wall stretch Stand about three feet from the wall as you open your palm and place them on to the wall at shoulder level. Now slowly lean forward, bending at your elbows and keeping the rest of your body straight. It is also important to keep your feet flat on the ground while doing this to stretch the calf muscles.
How Would Sciatica Feel
Sciatica is the condition that occurs when this nerve is compressed or irritated. It often begins as back pain that shoots discomfort down to your leg and knee. This may also cause the discomfort to radiate down the hips, the outer side of the leg, and the other body parts connected to these areas.
Low-level nerve irritation may not always be felt as back or leg pain, however. The pinched nerves can also cause your muscles to misfire and destroy the protection your knee joints need, triggering discomfort. The pain may also manifest as tingling or numbness in the legs and feet. Although sciatica is common and treatable, it can be quite debilitating in severe cases.
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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!
How Are Knee Problems Diagnosed
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, other tests for knee problems may include:
X-ray. This test uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to make images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
Magnetic resonance imaging . This test uses large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to make detailed images of organs and structures within the body can often determine damage or disease in a surrounding ligament or muscle.
Computed tomography scan . This test uses X-rays and computer technology to make horizontal, or axial, images of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.
Arthroscopy. A minimally-invasive diagnostic and treatment procedure used for conditions of a joint. This procedure uses a small, lighted, optic tube , which is inserted into the joint through a small incision in the joint. Images of the inside of the joint are projected onto a screen used to evaluate any degenerative or arthritic changes in the joint to detect bone diseases and tumors to determine the cause of bone pain and inflammation.
Radionuclide bone scan. A nuclear imaging technique that uses a very small amount of radioactive material, which is injected into the patientâs bloodstream to be detected by a scanner. This test shows blood flow to the bone and cell activity within the bone.
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Your Knee Pain Is Accompanied By Back Pain
Knee pain accompanied by back pain is the easiest symptom to identify which suggests the deeper problem is with the spine. Even if the back pain is mild or simply feels like some tension and tightness, it should not be disregarded because these signs are both related.
Think back if youve experienced mild back and knee discomfort at the same time, especially if you tend to spend your day sitting down. Sitting shortens the height of the discs along your spine and increases the disc bulge by pushing water out. The pressure on these discs is lowered when youre sitting compared to when youre standing. If youre sitting a lot during the day but have knee and back pains, your spine may be the problem.
Your knees and back are connected by the spinal cord through a nerve branch that controls the lower extremities. If your spine has a pinched nerve or a bulging lumbar disc, the lower back where the nerve branch is located can redirect the pain to the knees. For some people, this is the reason why they only notice the discomfort in the knee but not in the back.
If youre experiencing acute or chronic knee pain, make a mental scan of your body for discomfort in other areas — even if it seems completely unrelated. Let your physician know about these other aches so they can make a fully informed diagnosis.
How Can I Know If I Have Sciatica
Sciatica is linked to certain conditions including pregnancy, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, and herniated or bulging discs. Doctors who suspect their patients have sciatica may ask their patients to perform some exercises or undergo x-rays and similar tests.
Physicians will also ask questions several questions including:
- Where do you feel discomfort?
- What is the pain like?
- How often are you uncomfortable?
- How long does the pain last?
- What triggers the discomfort and what helps it go away?
- Do you sit for a long period of time?
- Do you do any lifting or strenuous physical activities for your job?
- Do you have an active lifestyle?
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How Can A Bad Back Cause Knee Pain
So why can back issues cause knee pain? At first glance, theyre not related. Your back isnt connected directly to your knees, after all.
A large part of the relationship between your back and your knees is how you hold yourself and how you walk. Everything from low back pain to tension in your shoulders can affect how you stand and walk. For example, If youre trying to compensate for a herniated disc or chronic pain in your spine, youll start to walk differently in an attempt to relieve the pain. This is a common cause of joint pain in your knees, as you put more pressure on the ligaments and meniscus there. Additionally, even if you arent experiencing pain in your back, you may have problems with tightness or flexibility in your neck, back, hips, or upper legs, with all can contribute to posture problems and gait problems. Without the support usually offered by your back and spine when it is strong, with optimal flexibility and posture, your knees are left to do all the work. Unfortunately, thats not what theyre made for.
When both are perfectly healthy, your back and knees work together to help you move. Your knee joint allows you range of motion. Your back helps keep you stable and absorbs some of the shock from your movements. When both are pain-free, and moving healthily, they support each other so they can both do their jobs easily.
What Can Cause Pain In The Back Of Your Knee
The back of the knee has complicated anatomy.
As well as the knee joint that sits in the middle, there are muscles from the thigh and calf that pass through this area. Firstly, the large hamstring muscles start from the pelvis and pass across the knee to attach to the lower leg bones. In addition, the large calf muscles start at the bottom part of the thigh and cross the knee to form the large Achilles tendon.
Finally, there are important nerves and blood vessels that cross the back of the knee to supply the lower leg and foot.
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What Are The Causes Behind Posterior Knee Pain
Depending on the reason, diagnosing pain behind the knee might be simple and clear or challenging. Some of the most common reasons for posterior knee discomfort are as follows:
Deep Vein Thrombosis
A blood clot formed deep in a vein causes deep vein thrombosis . The clot is most commonly found in the thigh, calf, or pelvis, but it can occur anywhere in the leg, including behind the knee. Deep vein thrombosis is a potentially fatal disorder. Blood flow can be blocked if a piece of the blood clot bursts off and passes back to the lungs. If the clot remains in place, it might damage the veins’ valves, resulting in discomfort, swelling, ulceration, and other dangerous symptoms.
Tumors are uncommon causes of knee discomfort however, both benign and malignant tumors can grow near the knee. Liposarcoma is a malignancy of the fat tissue that can develop behind the knee. Osteosarcoma is a type of cancer that develops in the long bones of the leg. Synovial sarcoma is a misnomer for a malignancy that occurs in large joints but is not caused by synovial fluid.
You Have Bunions Forming On Your Feet
It may be surprising to hear that bunions on your feet and your spine can affect each other. You may be wondering how these two can be connected and how they have an impact on your knees.
Bunions or bone spurs may grow on your feet if you have a back problem. The L5 and S1 spinal nerves travel to the muscles stabilizing inside and outside of your feet. If these nerves become injured, the muscles will be weakened and unable to perform effectively. You wouldnt be able to walk, run, or stand as you normally would.
Once this happens, your feet will roll towards the inside and the arches will flatten out to support your weight with the inner edge of your feet. Foot pronation occurs when the main tendon continues to stay misaligned and keeps the joint of the big toes tilted unnaturally, creating pressure in the joint where bunions can form.
The strain of moving this way tends to cause back pain. When the back and feet areas are weakened, the knee joints have to work harder and wear out faster, causing knee pain.
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Pain Behind Knee: Common Causes Symptoms And Treatment
Written byDr. Victor MarchionePublished onNovember 23, 2016
Pain behind knee is not unusual, but it can hurt and limit movement. Developing a clear understanding of pain behind knee causes can be important.
When we refer to pain behind knee, we are really talking about discomfort or soreness behind the knee joint. This uncomfortable feeling can happen to a person who still has movement in their knee or it can severely limit movement. Sometimes, pain behind knee is accompanied by inflammation or a burning sensation. In many cases, the soreness is nothing to worry about. There are situations where the pain does not disappear, and there is swelling or even bruising. If this happens to you, it is important to seek medical attention.