Wednesday, October 20, 2021

What Causes Pain Behind The Knee And Swelling

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If You Have Jumpers Knee

Immediately take rest from the activity that caused it: basketball, netball or any other sport you might be playing. The knee is a complex machine and needs rest if it incurs complications.

It is the first step of the R.I.C.E process which is common for treating a Jumpers knee.

R= Rest

C= Compression

E= Elevation

Apply an icepack on the knee area which will compress it and then elevate the knee using a splint, stool or with the help of a wall.

This elevation increases the blood flow to the knee to help in the healing. When you are involved in some light activity, make sure to wear a supporting knee brace to reduce the amount of weight applied on the knees.

As for the rehabilitation process, several exercises are recommended by the doctors.

Sandra Curwin and William Stanish especially recommended drop squats and came up with a 6-week program that helped the patients in increasing the tendon strength years ago.

There are other exercises as well, like the:

  • Short-leg raises:

Lie on the floor with your good leg bent as shown above.

Tighten the muscles of the affected knee by straightening it and raise it 30 cm above the ground.

Hold there for 6-10 seconds before lowering the leg and repeat for 10-15 times.

  • Step-up & step-down

Have a raised platform in front of you. Get on top of it and then descend. Repeat if for 10-15 times.

  • Side-lying leg lift:

Lay on your good leg and raise the other leg at least 3-4 feet from it.

  • Prone hip extension

What Causes A Swollen Knee

Knee swelling from mild knee osteoarthritis, non-septic knee bursitis, or a minor injury can be treated at home with over-the-counter medication and the R.I.C.E. formula. ReadHow to Care for a Swollen Knee

Swelling in a knee joint may limit knee flexibility and function. For example, a person may find it difficult to fully bend or completely straighten a swollen knee, and the joint may naturally bend 15° to 25° while the leg is at rest. The swollen knee may also be painful, red, and/or difficult to put weight on.

Depending on the underlying condition, a swollen knee may be treated at home using the R.I.C.E. formula or may require medical treatment. A doctor can make an accurate diagnosis.

Treatment To Help Relieve Symptoms

If you have pain and discomfort because of your Baker’s cyst, one or more of the following may be helpful:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . These can help to relieve pain and may also limit inflammation and swelling. There are many types and brands. You can buy at pharmacies, without a prescription. You need a prescription for the others. Side-effects sometimes occur with NSAIDs. Stomach pain and bleeding from the stomach are the most serious. Some people with asthma, high blood pressure, kidney failure and heart failure may not be able to take NSAIDs. So, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking them, to make sure they are suitable for you.
  • Stronger pain relief. If the cyst ruptures, the fluid from inside the cyst may leak into the calf and cause worse pain. In this situation, stronger medication may be needed.
  • Ice may also help to reduce swelling and pain. Make an ice pack by wrapping ice cubes in a plastic bag or towel. A bag of frozen peas is an alternative. Apply the ice pack for 10-30 minutes. Less than 10 minutes has little effect. More than 30 minutes may damage the skin.
  • Crutches. It may be necessary to use crutches to get about until your symptoms ease. They help to take the weight off the affected leg while you are walking.
  • Physiotherapy. Keeping your knee joint moving and using strengthening exercises to help the muscles around your knee may be helpful.

Swelling Behind The Knee

Reviewed by: KPE Medical Review Board

There are a number of different causes of swelling behind the knee.

The most common is a Bakers Cyst where there is inflammation of the popliteal bursa at the back of the knee.

Sometimes there is back of knee swelling and pain, other times there is a lump behind the knee but no pain associated with it. It might be that only one knee is swollen, or there may be swelling behind both knees.

Most times when the back of the knee is swollen, it can be treated with a combination of rest, regular ice, compression bandages, exercises and physical therapy, but some case may require knee surgery.

Pain Behind The Knee When Bending It Or Pain And Stiffness Below The Kneecap

Behind Knees Swelling What Causes

Although not behind the knee, the patellar tendon can be overloaded and torn by repetitive actions such as jumping, running or kicking. This is called patellar tendonitis, and can get progressively worse as the the torn tendon swells and becomes weaker. Again the RICE formula should be applied, and your doctor should be consulted.

Blood Clot Giving Rise To The Back Of Knee Pain

There is a major blood vessel present at the back of the knee, known as the popliteal vein. If a clot forms in this vessel, the blood flow to the lower leg is restricted and pain might occur.

The clot can be formed due to many reasons, including smoking, obesity or a major injury.

The most-occurring symptoms are:

The blood clot behind the knee is treated in the following ways:

  • Anticoagulant medication: These blood thinners like warfarin and heparin stops the blood clots from growing.
  • Thrombolytic therapy: Involves the intake of drugs that dissolve the blood clot.
  • Compression bandages and warm compressions: To regulate the blood flow in the legs.

What Should I Do When I Feel Pain Behind My Knee When I Straighten It

Pain in the back of the knee, often called posterior knee pain, can result from a variety of reasons. The structures of the knee, consisting of muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and vascular system, can each be affected, resulting in a variety of injuries.

Some conditions may only require rest, pain medication, knee elevation above the heart and a warm compress to get better. However, others may need surgical interventions and may become worse over time if left untreated.

It is always best to seek a doctor if the pain does not resolve with rest and pain medication, if the swelling worsens, if there are considerable changes in the appearance of the knee, or if daily activities involving the knee become difficult.

What Causes Pain Behind The Knee When Bending

The most common cause of pain behind the knee when bending is a Bakers Cyst. This is when there is inflammation of the semimembranosus bursa, a small sac filled with fluid that sits at the back of the knee.

If the bursa gets inflamed, then any time you bend your knee, the bursa gets squashed, causing posterior knee pain.

Evaluating Pain On The Inner Side Of The Knee

Knee problems are quite common due to the nature of the joint. Our ankle, knee, and hip joints are tasked with supporting the weight of the entire body when walking, sitting, and moving throughout the world, but the knee in some ways is the most confined. The hip is a ball-and-socket joint with a wide rotation range, and the ankle, though functionally an up-and-down-style hinge joint just like the knee, nevertheless can also rotate the foot in ways the knee joint cannot move.

This rigidity in the knee gives us the support we need to stand but is also vulnerable to sudden switching movements that can cause slips and injuries among the bones and tissues of the joint. These injuries can result in pain and sometimes permanent loss of function, and this is why it’s important to quickly identify knee pain.

When it comes to pain on the inner side of the knee, here are some important distinctions.

If You Feel Pain Behind Your Knee When Bending Or Squatting:

You may be feeling a symptom of Patellar Tendonitis . This is caused by repetitive activity like kicking, jumping or running. The repetitive exercise puts a lot of strain on the tendon resulting in tiny tears and inflammation along the patellar tendon. Other symptoms include pain just below the kneecap, pain with any pressure to the knee, aching and stiffness after activity, knee stiffness in the morning and thickening of the patellar tendon.

When To Contact A Medical Professional

  • You cannot bear weight on your knee.
  • You have severe pain, even when not bearing weight.
  • Your knee buckles, clicks, or locks.
  • Your knee is deformed or misshapen.
  • You cannot flex your knee or have trouble straightening it all the way out.
  • You have a , redness or warmth around the knee, or a lot of swelling.
  • You have pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, or bluish discoloration in the calf below the sore knee.
  • You still have pain after 3 days of home treatment. 

A Swelling At The Back Of The Knee And Calf Causing Pain And A Feeling Of Tightness When Straightening The Leg

This may be due to a Bakers Cyst, which is an accumulation of synovial fluid in the popliteal fossa. The synovial fluid is over-produced, due often to a trauma to the knee or in conditions such as arthritis. The cyst may clear up on its own, but if not it is advisable to visit the doctor. Swelling in the knee joint due to extra synovial fluid being produced also occurs due to accidental damage to the knee or when  is present.

Can There Be Complications If I Dont Treat A Bakers Cyst

File:Kneeffusion.JPG

Not all Bakers cysts are treated. You might feel that the pain is mild and leave it alone. The cyst might go away on its own if it isnt treated. However, there are other complications that can happen if a Bakers cyst is left untreated, including:

  • The pain getting worse.
  • The cyst increasing in size.
  • The cyst bursting, causing bruising in the lower leg.

If the cyst doesnt go away, reach out to your healthcare provider. Its important to get the right diagnosis and make sure it is a Bakers cyst. This condition could be mistaken for something more serious like a tumor or artery aneurysm, which is a medical emergency.

Immediate First Aid For Knee Injuries

All acute knee injuries should be treated using the P.R.I.C.E. principles . You should apply the PRICE principles for at least the first 2 3 days.

  • Protect knee from further damage. Rest to allow healing to take place
  • Apply ice or cold therapy to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation.
  • If you have swelling then then apply compression and elevate your knee to allow tissue fluids to drain away.

Treatment Options For Knee Injuries

As you can see there are many possible causes of your non-injury related knee pain and swelling!  As always, we at OhMy.Health recommend that you see your trusted health care practitioner who should do a through examination of your knee joint.

These exercises for knee pain are safe to do for almost all knee conditions, but if in doubt check in with your physical therapist. 

If you have any swelling in your knee joint, you should also follow the tried and trusted RICE protocol. It stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

If you have been unlucky enough to sustain a knee ligament or meniscal injury, you will find lots of specific knee injury related content covered in our knee meniscus and knee ACL videos where there are great physio approved exercises and loads of good tips and information in Karins videos. 

Remember to join up for our newsletter, so that you can keep yourself informed, always be the first to know when our new exercise videos are released and enable you to always be kind to your joints! 

References

  • Brukner & Khan, Brukner & Khans Clinical Sports Medicine: Injuries, Voume 1. 2017
  • Frank H. Netter, Atlas of Human Anatomy, International Edition, Elsevier Health Sciences, London
  • Musculoskeletal Examination and Assessment A Handbook for Therapists, 5th Edition by Nicola J. Petty, Elsevier
  • Brief Anatomy Of The Knee

    The knee is a vulnerable joint that bears a great deal of stress from everyday activities, such as lifting and kneeling, and from high-impact activities, such as jogging and aerobics.

    The knee is formed by the following parts:

    • Tibia. This is the shin bone or larger bone of the lower leg.

    • Femur. This is the thighbone or upper leg bone.

    • Patella. This is the kneecap.

    Each bone end is covered with a layer of cartilage that absorbs shock and protects the knee. Basically, the knee is 2 long leg bones held together by muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

    There are 2 groups of muscles involved in the knee, including the quadriceps muscles , which straighten the legs, and the hamstring muscles , which bend the leg at the knee.

    Tendons are tough cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones. Ligaments are elastic bands of tissue that connect bone to bone. Some ligaments on the knee provide stability and protection of the joints, while other ligaments limit forward and backward movement of the tibia .

    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 will attempt to ignore. Eventually they become progressively worse.

    Chronic knee injuries can be more difficult to treat so do not ignore the early signs!

    What Can Cause Swelling Above Knee

    Swelling above knee appears like a puffed knee and the accumulation of fluid may give it a bulging appearance.2 Swelling above knee or swollen knee is often accompanied with pain, discomfort and inability to move the knee joint properly. The knee may appear red, warm to touch and weight bearing on the knee, walking and other activities may be difficult. Complete bending or straightening of the knee may be difficult and painful on account of swelling above knee.

    There can be many causes for swelling above knee, which includes:

    Swelling above Knee Caused Due to Injury or Trauma: Any injury or direct trauma to the soft tissue surrounding knee joint can result in swelling above the knee. People engaged in sports, adventure games, or an accident can experience swelling above the knee joint due to injuries to soft tissues resulting in ligament strains, tendon injuries, muscle strains, cartilage and meniscus injuries. Injuries to the knee cap and soft tissues of the knee cap can cause swelling above the knee. Serious injuries like fractures or dislocations of knee cap and knee joint too can cause swelling above the knee joint because of collection of blood. If the pain is very severe with inability to move the knee, then immediate medical attention should be sought.

    Treatment And Prevention Tips For Pain Behind The Knee

    When you experience knee pain that doesnt go away within a day or two, you should seriously consider health care. Here are a few tips on protecting your knee in situations where you might have a minor knee injury or experience reoccurring knee problems.

    • Avoid activities that cause pain
    • Apply ice
    • Keep knee raised to bring down any swelling
    • Sleep with a pillow underneath or between your knees
    • Avoid running up and down stairs walk carefully
    • Dont forget to warm up before exercising or engaging in sports
    • When you run, do it on smooth, soft surfaces instead of rough pavement
    • Swim instead of running
    • If you are overweight, consider ways to lose a few pounds
    • Make sure you wear well-made running shoes
    • Consider shoe inserts for better arch support

    I Have A Pain Behind My Knee But I Also Feel Unstable On My Feet As If My Knee Is Looser What Should I Do Right Away

    An unstable knee results from a problem with the tissues that keep the knee stable. This could be a ligament injury, a meniscal tear, a patella injury or an injury to the knee capsule itself, or to the muscles which provide secondary stability. You should consult your doctor to get a proper diagnosis as soon as possible. If the problem does not clear up I would be happy to see you and assess things further.

    Biceps Femoris Tendon Avulsion

    Knee Pain: Causes, Treatment, and When to See a Doctor

    An avulsion strain occurs when a tendon tears pulling a small piece of bone with it. Like a Biceps femoris tendon strain, this occurs through sprinting or kicking activities. If you suspect you have an avulsion injury, seek professional advice. An X-ray is needed to confirm the diagnosis. Symptoms of an avulsion strain:

    • A sudden severe pain at the back of your knee .
    • Sudden swelling and tenderness at a point on the back of your knee.

    Hamstring Pain Behind Knee

    Hello to all the sports playing individuals reading this.

    Doesnt seem uncommon, right?

    Hamstrings are the set of tendons present at the back of the thigs that attach the thigh muscles to the bone. It includes 3 muscles:

    • Semimembranosus muscle
    • Bicep femoris muscle
    • Semitendinosus muscle

    Now, if any of the above muscles are stretched above their optimal limit, you will incur hamstring strain. It could be during running, jumping, rolling, bending the knee, etc.

    If your bicep femoris muscle is injured, then you are most likely to encounter pain behind knee.

    Whilst Squatting With A Heavy Load I Heard A Pop And Experienced Sudden Pain Should I Go To My Gp

    A popping or cracking sound on its own is not unusual and nothing to be worried about. However, if accompanied by sudden pain you may have damaged one of your knee ligaments , or torn a meniscus. You should consult your doctor. If the problem does not clear up I would be happy to see you and assess things further.

    Lower Leg Pain Caused By Veins And Nerve Issues

    1. Blood Clot

    When blood thickens in veins, it can develop a clot. This typically happens in the thigh or lower leg, commonly leading to pain from knee to ankle. There is a higher risk if you are overweight, on certain medicines, or inactive for a long car ride or flight.

    2. Varicose Veins

    Varicose veins are caused by weakness in the vein walls or valves and can lead to a dull ache, particularly after standing.

    3. Lower-Extremity Peripheral Arterial Disease

    This occurs if your legs arteries get damaged and harden. The legs begin to miss needed blood flow, leading to pain or cramps when walking or climbing stairs.

    4. Narrowed Spinal Canal and Sciatica

    When the spinal canal narrows due to a herniated disc, arthritis of the spine, or another cause, it can lead to weakness, fatigue, numbness, tingling, or cramping, burning leg pain when you sit or stand. It may start in the hip and the back before extending down the leg.

    5. Diabetic Neuropathy

    This diabetes complication can be due to high blood sugar levels and leads to pain in both legs. It also features less sensation and numbness in lower legs.

    When to See a Doctor

    You should see your doctor for pain from knee to ankle if you have the following symptoms:

    For Ligament Cartilage And Joint Tears

    Ligament, cartilage and joint tears in your knee will need to be addressed by your doctor.

    After imaging diagnostics and a clinical assessment, your doctor will let you know if your treatment will include physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication, or if youll need to undergo surgery to repair the injury.

    Recovery from knee surgery can take some time. It may take anywhere from 6 months to a year to resume your normal activities.

    Common Causes Of Swollen Knee

    Bakers Cyst: Bakers cyst is a non-malignant growth that is usually noticed in runners and tennis players. Weakened lining of the joint can lead to the formation of a lump or swelling behind the knee, which may restrict the leg movement. It can cause pain and discomfort to the person. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can especially lead to the formation of Bakers cyst, causing unbearable pain.

    Chondromalacia of Patella: Chondromalacia of the patella is also called runners knee. Swelling at the back of the knee after running can be noticed when a runner approaches forty miles per week for the first time. Over-strain leads to such condition. Even though a few days rest is recommended, the pain may come right back. After the first few miles of the next run, increased swelling can be noticed, and the pain also might flair up.

    Injuries: A fracture or tear in your meniscus or ligaments, or just a minor tear of the cartilage surface can lead to pain and inflammation. Trauma, injury, and fracture during a sport event or accident are some of the common contributing factors for the inflammation of the joint.

    Weakened Muscles: Sometimes, weakened thigh, foot, or calf muscles can create unnecessary work pressure on the knees during any activity, and can lead to pain when bending. If you are overweight, then this problem can be often experienced as the knees have to carry excess weight.

    Are There Any Complications That Can Develop

    If a Baker’s cyst ruptures, it can be quite difficult to tell the difference between the ruptured cyst and a deep vein thrombosis in the leg. A DVT is a blood clot that forms in a leg vein. In these cases, it is important that investigations are carried out to exclude a DVT because it can be a serious condition that needs treatment. See the separate leaflet called Deep Vein Thrombosis for more detail.

    Very rarely, a Baker’s cyst may become infected.

    Discomfort Aching And Tightness In The Knee Grating And Pain Behind The Kneecap When Bending The Knee Or When It Is Exercised After A Period Of Rest

    May be due to chondromalacia patella. In this condition the cartilage on the underside of the patella softens and deteriorates. Some people are able to ignore the condition, but it will not improve and will probably need surgery. Sometimes an unstable flap of surface cartilage may cause this pain, and may be curable with simple keyhole surgery and a chondroplasty.

    Pain Behind The Knee When Walking Or Running

    Pain Behind Knee: Here

    The cause of pain at the back of the leg behind the knee could be hamstring tendonitis. This is caused by the tendons of the hamstring becoming inflamed, often due to overuse of the hamstring muscles, but the pain will subside after rest and first aid centred on the RICE method .

    If you notice a sudden sharp pain in the back of the thigh when undergoing vigorous exercise this may be due to a pull, partial tear or tear of the hamstring, and is due to overloading the muscle. This type of injury is most often treated by a doctor. A similar pain in the calf may be due to gastrocnemius tendonitis.

    A tenderness behind the knee, felt when rotating the leg inwards in the act of walking could denote an injury to the popliteus muscle. A cold pack applied for 10 minutes every hour for the first day after injury can alleviate the symptoms.

    All the muscles at the back of the leg can be subject to cramp. This is a common condition and occurs when a muscle goes into spasm. The symptoms are a tightening of the muscle accompanied by pain. Amongst other causes, it could be due to dehydration, muscle fatigue or a restriction of the blood supply to the affected muscles. Cramp is not serious and can be relieved by relaxing, massaging and stretching the affected muscle.

    Knee Pain And Problems

    Knee pain is a common complaint among adults and most often associated with general wear and tear from daily activities like walking, bending, standing and lifting. Athletes who run or play sports that involve jumping or quick pivoting are also more likely to experience knee pain and problems. But whether an individuals knee pain is caused by aging or injury, it can be a nuisance and even debilitating in some circumstances.

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