Monday, December 11

Causes of Pain Behind The Knee

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But, even a young and a healthy adult can develop a sudden knee pain due to various causes that can lead to an insult relating to the structures which form the knee joint.

What are the structures forming the knee?

The knee provides the upper and the lower parts of the lower limb to move as if they are involved in a hinge joint and the much needed lubrication will be provided for this movement by a synovial fluid running inside a network of bursae. Apart from these fluid filled cushions, cartilages or the meniscus between the femur and the tibial bone will also provide the much needed cushioning. Furthermore, the stability of the joint will be maintained by a complex collection of fibrous tissues, ligaments as well as muscle tendons and these ligaments and tendons will be anchoring a movable bone in front of the knee joint which is known as the ‘knee cap’.

How does knee pain develop?

Pain related to the knee can occur from any one of the above structures and can be precipitated by many causes. It can be an acute strain, a sprain of a tendon or a ligament or it can even be a wear and tear injury of these structures. It may also be following a trauma to the knee where it can give rise to fractures and soft tissue injury. Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis can also lead to knee pain along with possible infections in the same region. Another instance where knee pain can develop would be problems related to nearby structures and let us discuss these in more details later on.

What can cause pain in the back of the knee?

In certain instances, the pain can be confined or will be initiated in the back of the knee. All of the above mentioned methods leading to a knee pain can also be associated with a pain in the back of the knee as well. But, several conditions can specifically give rise to such pain and these are,

-Backer’s cyst

Fluid filled bursa behind the knee is known as the ‘backer’s cyst’ and there may be several reasons for such fluid getting collected in this site. Usually, the condition occurs in the age group between 50 – 70 years and can be due to excessive accumulation of synovial fluid or else due to excessive production in inflammatory conditions. The backer’s cyst can itself give rise to pain behind the knee or else can give rise to a severe pain following a rupture.

-Deep vein thrombosis

This should be considered a serious illness and would result in the formation and blockage of deep veins in the calf region. In most instances, the more prominent symptom would be a pain in the calf region along with tenderness, stiffness and swelling in the region.


If you feel a pain in the back of the knee and if it persists with an associated swelling even after giving accepted home treatment such as cold compression, rest, massage and elevation; you should take the initiative to go and consult a doctor to exclude any serious conditions.


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