For most people, pain behind the knee may be due to overuse of the leg muscles while for some, the reason might be something more severe. Let us explore the possible causes of leg pain that affects the area behind the knee, from this article.
Pain in the joints of the knee causes discomfort in the area around our legs and also restricts mobility. Pain behind the knee is commonly observed in people involved in rigorous physical activities such as running, cycling, sports, etc. In these activities, people tend to overuse their knees, which exerts undue stress and pressure, resulting in pain. Apart from this, there are many other causes and associated symptoms of knee pain and areas behind the knee which may be serious too.
Knee pain can affect your mobility as it may restrict movement of your leg. So first and foremost, you should try to avoid any type of knee injury. Pain behind the knee can be caused due to many other reasons too. Following are some of the probable causes of this type of pain.
- It mainly occurs when the kneecap rubs against the lowermost end of the femur (thigh bone). For efficient movement of the knee, the kneecap has to actually glide over the femur. However, in this condition, instead of gliding, it starts rubbing and the friction thus produced damages the cartilage present beneath the kneecap. This friction further intensifies and results in pain.
- Another important cause of pain behind the knee, is being overweight or obese. Your upper body weight actually tends to exert a lot of stress on your knees, which affects the frontal as well as the rear portion of the knee, causing pain.
- One of the common reasons behind the pain is the buildup of synovial fluid which is present between the joints to reduce friction. This buildup forms a cyst which is known as Baker’s cyst or popliteal cyst, causing pain.
- Deep vein thrombosis is a condition in which blood clots form in the large veins of the leg. This condition can hinder proper circulation of blood in the leg, which may further result in knee pain, tender skin, change of the skin color to blue or purple, etc.
- Overuse and excessive stress on the knees can result in the weakening of the hamstring muscles. People involved in excessive physical activity like running, cycling, sports, etc., usually face knee pain problems.
Following are some of the other causes which may result in pain in the back of the knee:
- Weak leg muscles
- Fault in the structural alignment
The most common symptom is pain and inflammation behind the knee. However, in severe conditions, where the pain has persisted for a long time and damage to the cartilage has intensified, structural abnormalities in the cartilage surface can take place. In traumatic cases, a blow to the kneecap can be serious enough to tear off a part of the bone or the articular cartilage. Here are some more symptoms which may be observed accompanying the pain.
- Decrease in knee movement
- Stiffness in the knee joint
- Pain when stressing the affected knee
- Change in the skin color to blue or purple
- Sensitive or sore skin
- Warmth behind the knee
- Swelling and pain behind the knee and leg
The pain can intensify and cause more damage if you ignore it or continue with your rigorous physical activities. Therefore, to prevent worsening of the condition, you need to take enough rest and avoid activities that may aggravate your pain. Avoid taking the stairs often, running and jogging exercises and all the activities that may put pressure on the knees and the area behind it. Following are some options you can try to get rid of the pain.
- Low-impact stretching exercises, working out on an exercise bike, swimming, etc., are a few remedies for leg pain. These exercises will not only help relieve the pain, but will also strengthen the knee muscles and prevent occurrence of such pain in the future. But do not overdo it.
- Using shoes with additional arch support while walking or running, and using knee braces are other good options for relief from the pain.
- Sometimes, anti-inflammatory drugs or over-the-counter pain relievers are also found to be effective in treating the pain. But these medications should be consumed only after consulting your physician.
- If obesity is the cause of the pain, then losing weight is the suggestive remedy to treat leg pain.
- In case of Baker’s cyst, it is necessary to drain the build-up, which can be done by surgery. Sometimes, the cyst ruptures on its own and the fluid is drained out. Medical assistance is necessary in this case.
- If you observe color change in the skin, contact you doctor immediately.
In some cases, pain behind knee may not be a very serious condition. However, in extreme cases, if the pain doesn’t subside within two days, it is wise to treat the pain with proper medical intervention.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.