Pain at the Back of the Knee:Reasons for Pain Behind

Pain in the back of your knee

As we age, new aches & pains develop. It can be difficult to distinguish between normal aging and injuries, especially in the joint. One such difficult symptom is pain in the back of your knee. The knee joint is so large and complex that it can be easily injured.

Age-related symptoms are common.

The following symptoms are more likely to be related to age-related changes:

Common signs and symptoms that indicate a more serious injury include:

More serious injuries can cause symptoms such as:

  • Incapacity to support weight at the knee
  • Inability to straighten or bend the knee fully
  • FeverRedness, swelling, pain and tenderness are all possible.
  • Obvious deformities of the leg or knee

It is crucial to be able recognize the symptoms of pain in the back side of the knee. This will help prevent future injuries and provide the best care.

Pain in the back of your knee

The back of your knee is made up of many muscles, bones, ligaments and nerves. To see the entire knee, including all its parts, click this image. The joint also contains fluid, which lubricates and protects it. These components can be damaged or injured by many different processes, which can cause pain in the back side of the knee.

Inflammatory causes

The following may be considered as an inflammation causing pain behind the knee.

  • Arthritis ArthritisIt is a broad term that refers to multiple conditions that can cause pain, stiffness, and inflammation of the bones and joints. Arthritic conditions can cause inflammation of many areas of the knee, which often results in pain and injury.
  • InfectionInfection of the fluid around the knees can cause inflammation, pain, swelling, and redness.
  • Extra fluid:Injury and inflammation can lead to excess synovial fluid being produced in the knee. This extra fluid may build up and cause swelling.CystsPain in the back of your knees is a common cause.

Trauma-related causes

These are some possible causes of pain in the back side of the knee due to trauma.

  • MicroeconomicsChronic knee pain can be caused by small injuries, such as strains, tears, and gradual wear and tear.
  • MacroTraumatic injuries of large magnitude can cause injury to the major ligaments or fractures to the bones. These areInjuriesThis will cause pain in the back of your knee.

Mechanical causes

Problems in alignment or orientation of the knee, as well as other parts of your body like the hip and foot, can cause knee pain. Alignment can also be affected by a lack of flexibility or strength in the surrounding muscles. These mechanical factors can affect your walking and cause pain.

This list is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice. It may not reflect your actual situation.

Baker’s cyst (popliteal Cyst)

Baker’s cyst is also known as Popliteal cyst. It is a fluid-filled cyst that causes a bulge behind the knee and tightens the muscles. If the knee is extended or fully flexed, it can cause more pain.


Top SymptomsCalf pain, swelling, knee pain when squatting or bending, knee instability, dull, achy pain in the knees

The symptoms of baker’s cyst (popliteal) are the same as those that occur in other cases.lump at the back of your knee, constant knee lump

UrgencyPrimary care doctor

Meniscal injury

Menisci refer to the two pieces cartilage that act as shock absorbers in your knee. They are located between the lower end and top of the hinbone. In the knee, a torn meniscus can be referred to as “torn articulation”.

A meniscus injury can often occur along with other injuries to the knee. This is especially true if there is any forceful twisting or direct hit, such as a tackle.

If the cartilage becomes worn or thinned with age, older people might tear their meniscus.

The symptoms include swelling, stiffness, pain, and swelling. The knee may stop working properly and may lock up, catch or give way.

The diagnosis is made by taking a history of the patient, performing simple motion tests and using imaging like MRI or x-ray.

Depending on the severity of the injury, the tear might heal naturally with support care like rest, ice and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Sometimes, rehabilitation and arthroscopic surgery may be required.


Top SymptomsPain in one knee, knee stiffness or instability, pain inside the knee, swelling of the knee

Urgent:Primary care doctor

How to treat pain in the back side of the knee

To find out the cause of your pain, use our free symptom tester.

Pain at the back of your knee symptom checker

Patellofemoral pain syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as runner’s or jumper’s shin, is also called anterior knee pain, chondromalacia patella and patellofemoral joint disorder.

Training for sports can lead to overuse, especially if the knee joint is misaligned or there has been a knee injury. This causes pain when exercising and wears down the cartilage below the kneecap.

This condition is more common in women and young adults who are involved in sports but it can also affect anyone.

The symptoms include dull pain around the knee and around your kneecap (patella), while running, squatting or climbing stairs or prolonged sitting with your knees bent.

The diagnosis is made by physical examination, x-rays and CT scans.

Rest, over-the-counter pain reliefs, low-impact exercises like swimming or bicycling, and physical therapy to strengthen and stabilize your knees and to correct misaligned stride are the most common treatments.

Only severe cases may require surgery. This procedure is called arthroscopy and involves the removal of any damaged cartilage fragments.


Top SymptomsKnee pain, pain in the knees, knee pain when you go up stairs, dull, achy pain in your knees, and knee pain when you squat

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is characterized by the following symptoms:Knee pain

Urgent:Primary care doctor

Infrapatellar Bursitis

Infrapatellar Bursitis refers to inflammation of the bursa or small cushioning sacs beneath the patella or kneecap. This condition can affect the shallow bursa as well as the deep bursa.

People who work on hard surfaces may develop superficial infrapatellar brusitis.

Chronic overuse can lead to deep infrapatellar bursting, such as from sports training or other hard physical work.

Both forms of the condition may also be caused hemorhage, infection or trauma. Some cases can be considered idiopathic. This means that they are not caused by any clear cause.

The symptoms include swelling and pain below your kneecap.

The diagnosis is made by taking a history from the patient and performing a physical exam.

The treatment includes rest, heat, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling and pain; a knee brace; sometimes corticosteroid injections in the knee.


Top SymptomsPain in one knee, sudden knee pain, dull, achy pain, knee pain when you go up stairs, knee pain when you squat


Iliotibial (it), band syndrome (runner’s knee)

The Iliotibial Band Syndrome is also known as ITBS, or IT syndrome. The iliotibial bands is a thick, long piece of connective tissue. It starts at the top of your hip bone and runs down to the outside of your leg. It attaches to the side of your knee.

ITBS refers to an overuse syndrome. It is most common in athletes who are involved in intense training, such as runners and cyclists. If the far end of your iliotibial bands rubs against the outside edge of the knee joint, you can experience pain and inflammation.

The symptoms include pain around the knees, particularly when running or sitting with your knee bent.

The patient’s history and physical exam are used to diagnose the problem. Simple stretching tests can be used to pinpoint the exact location. Sometimes, an MRI may be ordered.

The treatment includes rest, ice, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, stretching exercises for the iliotibial bands, strengthening the upper leg muscles, and, if necessary, modifications in the person’s stride or training. In some cases, surgery or corticosteroid injections may be necessary.


Top SymptomsKnee pain, pain in the knees, dull, achy, or worsening knee pain when you go down stairs, sharp, or persistent knee pain

Symptoms of iliotibial band syndrome (runner’s knee) are always presentKnee pain

UrgencyPrimary care doctor

Hamstring strain

A strain is also known as a “pulled muscles” and refers to a condition where a muscle becomes too stretched or tears. Hamstring strain occurs when the muscle at the back of your upper leg (thigh), is pulled.


Top SymptomsSpontaneous back pain, pain in one’s back, pain in the knee, hamstring tightness or sports injury, hamstring discomfort

Hamstring strain is a common cause of hamstring strain symptoms:Hamstring pain

Hamstring strain can cause symptoms that are not present in the hamstring.Grain pain, hip pain and pain on the outside of your hips, difficulty moving the hips


Rheumatoid arthritis

Arthritis can be described as a combination of multiple conditions that cause pain and stiffness in the body. Rheumatoid (RA) can be described as a chronic condition. It is autoimmune in that the body’s immune system, which is normally responsible for protecting the body from disease, is affected by RA.

Deep vein thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot which forms in deep veins in the body. Deep vein clots most often occur in the lower leg and thigh.


Top SymptomsFever, thigh pains, upper leg swellings, calf pains, butt pain

UrgencyEmergency room in a hospital

Treatments and relief for pain behind the knee

Prevention and treatment at-home

There are many ways to reduce knee pain and decrease your risk of injury.

  • Do it correctlyA healthy weight can help reduce pressure and stress on your knees. However, it is important that you exercise correctly and with the correct form.
  • Stretch and strengthen:Due to weak muscles and mechanical issues being a major cause of knee pain or injury, it is crucial to strengthen the major knee muscles (hamstrings, quadriceps) and to stretch them to ease tightness. Stability and balance are crucial to ensure that your knees and muscles work well together.
  • Heat and then apply ice:Ice on your knees will reduce pain and relax tight or sore muscles. You should limit the amount of heat or ice you apply to your knees for 20 minutes. This can be done every few hours to provide relief.

When should you see a doctor?

Seek medical attention immediately if you have chronic pain or severe injury-related pain. Inadequate treatment can result in increased pain, joint injury, and disability. Your doctor might recommend the following treatment options depending on the reason for your knee pain:

  • Medicines:Your doctor might prescribe medication to relieve pain and swelling at the back of your knees and to treat conditions such as arthritis.
  • Physical therapyYour doctor might recommend stretching exercises or physical therapy/rehabilitation programs to restore your knee’s range of motion, strength, and stability.
  • InjectionsYour doctor might recommend injecting medication or other substances directly into your knee joint to reduce inflammation, lubricate and promote healing.
  • Surgery:Your doctor may recommend surgery if conservative treatments fail to provide relief.

If it’s an emergency

You should immediately seek medical attention if the pain radiates to the back of the knee.

How to treat pain in the back side of the knee

To find out the cause of your pain, use our free symptom tester.

Pain at the back of your knee symptom checker

FAQs regarding pain in the back knee

These are some commonly asked questions regarding pain in the back side of the knee.

How can you tell if there is a blood clot below your knee?

Deep vein thrombosis, also known as DVT, is a blood clot in your lower leg’s veins. If you experience one-sided swelling, pain, warmth, or redness below your knee, you may have a blood vessel behind your knee. These clots may occur on one side or both, but it is rare. However, some blood clots that occur in the legs do not cause symptoms. To reduce embolizing potential to the lungs, DVT must be treated immediately.

Why does my right knee hurt when I try to straighten it?

Your knee is composed of bones, cartilage and muscles, as well as tendons. Your quadriceps muscles, located on your front thigh, will tighten when you extend your knee. On the back, your hamstrings (those at the back) will relax. The quadriceps muscles can be injured or overused, causing tiny tears in the tendon. This is why knee pain when straightening occurs. Any damage to the joint may cause pain. Cyst formation after injury to the joint may cause pain in the back of your knee.

Is it possible for dehydration to cause pain in the back side of the knee?

Dehydration generally does not cause pain at the back of your knee. If you’re dehydrated, cramping may occur in your muscles. This can be caused by electrolyte imbalances that cause muscle irritation. If your muscles cramp, this can cause pain in your back. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, thirst, cramps in the muscles, dizziness, and exhaustion.

Is it possible to have growing pains in one leg only?

Growing pains are usually bilateral or both. For school-aged children, these pains are usually located deep in the calf or thigh. These pains usually occur at night and resolve by the next morning. Consider bringing your child to a medical appointment if they are experiencing pains in one leg. A one-sided feeling in the legs can indicate infection, musculoskeletal injury, deformity, or other serious conditions, such as a tumor.

Are there any “growing pains” for adults?

Growing pains are a mystery. No one knows what causes them. They can occur in sleep, and they may wake the child. Although some doctors believe that they are caused by fatigue, overuse and mild orthopedic anomalies, the exact cause is unknown. We know that growing pains are not common in adults, regardless of their cause. Most growing pains begin between the ages of 2 and 12. However, it is possible to experience similar pains due to mild injuries or overuse.

Ask your doctor questions about pain in the back or knee.

Your doctor will likely ask these questions to diagnose the condition.

  • Are the knee pains affecting either one or both of your knees?
  • Are your knees often buckling?
  • Is your knee pain in the right place?
  • What would you say is the root cause of your knee pain?

If you answered yes to any of the questions, self-diagnose using our Buoy assistant.

Statistics on pain in the back of your knee

People who have felt pain at the back of their knees have also experienced:

  • 7%Knee Pain
  • 6%Lower back pain
  • 4%Knee stiffness

Most often, people who experienced pain at the back of their knees were matched with:

  • 40%Meniscal Injury
  • 30%Baker’S Cyst (Popliteal Cyst).
  • 30%Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Some people who experienced pain at the back of their knees had symptoms that lasted for:

  • 40%More than a month
  • 20%It takes less than one day
  • 19%It takes less than a week

What do you think?

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