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119752 Views 26 Replies Latest reply: Jul 22, 2012 6:20 PM by cmon2 RSS 1 2 Previous Next
cmon2 Amateur 20 posts since
Feb 26, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Feb 26, 2010 6:56 PM

pain behind knee - how to get rid of it?

thanks for reading my post!

 

start of the issue: I started running last september (2009) and I got this in october even though I wasn't doing much running yet back then. I have looked up many knee problems online and this problem fits the description of none of them! I hope someone can give advice, nobody so far has been able to.

 

main symptom: pain behind either knee (where it flexes) or in worst cases, both knees, it is not inside the knee, it feels like it is on the surface of the knee behind. or to say it in another way, it is this part between hamstring and calf, in the behind of your leg. I hope I explained this in a clear way, if not, let me know please.

the pain isn't awfully sharp but is a lot more sharp than dull. it's felt behind the knee, in the middle and below. I think I don't have swelling there, don't have anything visible there, don't feel anything when I touch it.

 

symptom details: it just started one day in october... a few days of rest didn't change it at all. it usually never hurts during a run or walking (maybe occasionally I feel the pain for 1 sec as if it was strained). then I noticed that it is usually the worst after getting up from a few mins of sitting with flexed knees or after getting up in the morning (I was sleeping with flexed legs/knees by default). so then I identified that a static flexing of the legs is what makes the pain come up and a few seconds of walking where your legs naturally extend-flex-extend, will make it go away fast. it did feel horrible in the first steps but then went away. when I say it felt horrible it was a different pain, not as sharp, it was more like my knee behind was totally rigid and needed warming up. the other pain that is more sharp can just come suddenly for 1 sec, maybe when I put my leg in an incorrect position.

 

temporary fix: so then after this realization, I started to pay attention not to keep my legs flexed ever. I even sleep with fully or partially extended legs. it seemed and still seems it is happy as long as the knees are not bent too much. if they were bent in 90 degrees or even more bent than that then it would come back.

 

after a while this temp fix worked so well that I was able to keep my legs flexed during sitting, for hours, and no pain. but sometimes it would lose the tolerance for being flexed and would come back and then I had to pay more attention to keep my legs extended or partially extended, again.

 

oh, one more note, I noticed that extending the legs too much can also make it hurt. so there is a fine balance. but most of the time it's happy with the extended state. but I think the best really is a partially extended-partially flexed state (but not reaching 90 degrees!!).

 

attempts at another fix: then I bought a knee support thing for my runs, to see if it will help. well, it seemed to somewhat help, because I hardly got the symptoms anymore, I could sin by keeping them flexed for very long and no problems... note, I still tend to sit with extended legs out of habit and out of cautiousness.

 

ok, so the knee support strap seemed to help BUT then it caused different knee pain (related to and) along with quads muscle pain after my workouts. this pain was worrying me too much so now I'm off the knee strap, I don't think it's a good fix if it causes another issue...?! the quads pain was pretty sh*t too. and it didn't 100% fix the original issue anyway.

 

current status: however it (the strap) did probably help with the original problem because now since I'm not using the strap anymore, my knee behinds (particularly behind the left knee) seem to be more sensitive again, though it is controllable most of the time. but not as controllable when seated on a bus where I don't have space to extend my legs. that led to me feeling the left knee behind in my last workout yesterday (not pain, just uncomfortable) when I started it but it went away. (I felt that because I was "sinning" too much with flexing the legs directly before going out for the workout.)

duh and I had to sprint after a bus the day before that, and my left knee behind was unhappy from sitting on another bus 5 mins before that, and it did hurt during the sprint too.

 

my real question: OK, so please can someone give me any idea what to do to fix this? I do not want this to become worse or chronic! so if you have ideas other than going to a doctor (I don't know of any good sport doctors here where I live but will keep looking!) that'd be so great.

  • Haselsmasher Legend 507 posts since
    May 25, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Feb 26, 2010 7:25 PM (in response to cmon2)
    Re: pain behind knee - how to get rid of it?

    I think the bottom line is this:  Knees are not something you want to mess with.  I'd go to a doctor (preferably sports-oriented doc, in my opinion) and see if there is anything major wrong.  I think things that happen on both sides tend to be things like shoes, stride type, etc.  When major things (stress fractures, torn tendons or ligaments, etc.) happen I they tend to be on one side.  If it feels muscular and the doctor doesn't find major issues I'd bet you'll get referred to Physical Therapy.

     

    There is a muscle where you describe and I've pulled it a couple of times.  It's called Popliteus.  You might Google that and see what images come back and see if it's location fits where you're having discomfort.  When I had issues with this muscle I'd sit on the floor and bend my knee 90 degrees (foot on the floor) and use my thumbs to massage that muscle.  If that is your issue that might loosen it up and increase circulation.

     

    Good luck.

     

    Jim





    http://jimhaselmaier.blogspot.com/


    "Kick off your high heel sneakers, it's party time."

    -- From the song FM by Steely Dan

  • Haselsmasher Legend 507 posts since
    May 25, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Feb 27, 2010 10:09 AM (in response to cmon2)
    Re: pain behind knee - how to get rid of it?

    A few additional thoughts.........

     

    My recommendation about the doctor speaks to the point that, just because your pain is in the same spot as that muscle, doesn't mean the problem is the muscle.  There can be other issues that might produce pain in that same location (ligaments?  bursitis?  something else?).  I'm not saying the items just mentioned match your symptoms.  I'm just saying there can be a variety of issues that only a medical professional can really figure out.  I'd just be cautious about trying to figure it out too long on your own - in case it gets worse.

     

    The shoes absolutely can be the problem, although they may not be.  There are all sorts of stories associated with getting different shoes and problems either going away or showing up.  It sounds like you ended up going to a local running store to get good shoes.  That's good.  It increases your chances of getting the right shoes however it, obviously, doesn't guarantee it.  Unfortunately we sometimes just have to do some trial and error to see what works.

     

    Jim





    http://jimhaselmaier.blogspot.com/


    "Kick off your high heel sneakers, it's party time."

    -- From the song FM by Steely Dan

  • RobinfromMaine Pro 162 posts since
    Dec 6, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Feb 27, 2010 1:21 PM (in response to cmon2)
    Re: pain behind knee - how to get rid of it?

    This is a shot in the dark, but I wonder if you could have Bakers' cysts? There's no way to diagnose it without a doctor (who would probably order an ultrasound or MRI), but you might have had them before starting running, and they would't cause much problem other than pain.

     

    Let us know what you find out.

     

    Robin

  • gatorman10 Legend 242 posts since
    Apr 23, 2003
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Feb 27, 2010 2:10 PM (in response to cmon2)
    Re: pain behind knee - how to get rid of it?

    I used to get the same thing.  I was complaining one day about it to my buddy in the locker room in front of an "older" dude.  He said "well no wonder your quads are puny".  Turns out in a former life he was a soprts doc for the Ohio state Buckeyes.  Apparently he was right.  I began biking (stationary) and doing other quad strengthening excersises.  It turns out that the quad can "give out" at some point in your run and allow the knee cap to "float" which scratches (could tear) the meniscus over the knee cap.  Mine was mostly top of the left knee.  I would try it.  Can't hurt.  a "go to" cross-training excersise is a must anyway since we all get hurt once in a while.

     

    Good Luck!

     

    P.S.  I have seen the straps and things but I wouldn't want to make myself dependent on that.  Just a personal thing.  AND as painful as it is to think of running is not the only way to stay fit!  Get yourself healthy!

  • Marykb Legend 1,347 posts since
    Jan 16, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Feb 27, 2010 7:31 PM (in response to cmon2)
    Re: pain behind knee - how to get rid of it?

    I'm sitting here with the exact same problem.  Mine has been going on for two months now.  In early January I was running on icy ground and changed my gait to keep my footing and I think that is when I injured it.  I believe this is hamstring tendonitis.  My symptoms are almost identical to yours, mine is also right behind my knee where it bends.

     

    This is weird, but I can usually run on it (once I'm warmed up) with only some twinges of discomfort.  But when it REALLY hurts is in the middle of the night!  During the day it isn't too bad other than being stiff.  If I rest it 2-3 days it is always much better but then after a couple of runs I am waking up at night with it aching again.  Is this how yours is?

     

    I've also done icing and wrapping.  It keeps getting better then worse again.  From what I've read the answer is resting it for several weeks.  That is my last resort!





  • gatorman10 Legend 242 posts since
    Apr 23, 2003
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Feb 28, 2010 5:47 AM (in response to Marykb)
    Re: pain behind knee - how to get rid of it?

    Just re-read the LOCATION.  My diagnosis is "not helpful" sorry.    BAD Gatorman....

  • JamesJohnsonLMT Legend 1,145 posts since
    Aug 23, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Apr 6, 2010 9:12 PM (in response to cmon2)
    Re: pain behind knee - how to get rid of it?

    Just joined this thread, but I agree with Jim's assessment and  strategy.

     

    I need to add that the Popliteus muscle is  used to initiate the action of unlocking the knee, and it can become  ischemic (deprived of blood flow) when the knee is straight (locked),  particularly if your knee is prone to hyperextension, which could be  another reason why this muscle would be sore. Its job as a medial rotator can sometiimes point to excess motion in your footstrike, either due to surface slippage, footwear, or foot structure. Have someone run behind you to look for this action. Lateral movement of the foot would also be a clue to the tiring of Popliteus.

     

    There is another muscle in  the back of the knee (Plantaris) that acts via a long skinny tendon as a  knee and plantar flexor, but it does not even exist in some people, and  has been found to be so tiny and vestigial in others to be mistaken for  a nerve. Still could register pain, though.

     

    BTW, be  careful massaging in this cavity, because there are nerves and arteries  with little protection in there. This is why self-massage of the area  may be better, so you can monitor pain and pulse.

     

    Meanwhile,  there are muscles that work with the above two to flex the knee. The  hamstrings are obvious, and the upper rear-calf muscle Gastrocnemius can  be strengthened by toe raises while the knee is locked straight. The  stronger these larger muscles get, the less work for the little guys.

     

    Take a look...

    http://www.getbodysmart.com/ap/muscularsystem/legmuscles/popliteus/tutorial.html

  • JamesJohnsonLMT Legend 1,145 posts since
    Aug 23, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    14. Apr 12, 2010 8:42 PM (in response to cmon2)
    Re: pain behind knee - how to get rid of it?

    A couple things I ran across in my studies for another thread...

     

    MaryKB   mentioned "hamstring tendonitis" as a possible cause for her similar   pain, and I found that both back-of-knee pain (more dull than sharp), as   well as misdiagnoses of hamstring tendonitis, can be due to trigger   points in the Biceps Femoris (outer hamstring) you can find at tab  #5 in  the link I supplied earlier. You can get a better look in this  link  (click on #14)...


    http://www.getbodysmart.com/ap/muscularsystem/legmuscles/bicepslong/tutorial.html

     

    This   is because the outer hamstring pain is sometimes mapped to this area  by  the brain, although it can range from outer thigh pain to  top-of-calf  pain. There is a possibility that the location of the  Biceps Femoris  tendon is the reason for this - because it crosses over  the tiny  Plantaris muscle. To find the most common trigger point on the long head of Biceps Femoris, see on the link where the muscle diagonally crosses the Femur bone. Consistent short sets of circular massage at this point may or may not reproduce your back of knee pain, but a few times a day may reduce it after a few days or weeks.

     

    On your Popliteus, another   interesting tidbit is the tendency for this muscle to compensate for   weakness in the Posterior Cruciate Ligament, the function of which is to   prevent hyperextension and keep the Femur from slipping forward on the   supporting Tibia bone. If you ever had an accident to this area (I had  a  nasty ski accident when the binding did not release after impaling a   mogul - ouch), there might be some hyperflexibility in the ligament  that forces  both Popliteus and Biceps Femoris to tire from  compensation. If that  were the case, tightening ligaments is not an  easy thing to do.

     

    In case  things don't stabilize as your running inevitably matures,  there are  relatively inexpensive options down the line should such a  problem be  diagnosed. One would be prolotherapy, an injection  technique that  induces inflammation in semi-hard tissues like ligaments  in order to  toughen them.

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