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What can trigger pain in the back of the knee when straightening the leg?


When an individual experiences discomfort in the back of their knee when straightening their leg, it is called posterior knee pain. Pain in the back of the knee, called the popliteal fossa, is common, but there are a wide variety of causes, ranging from ligament injury to arthritis.

A few of these causes will improve with rest, while others will need surgical treatment or will slowly worsen.

Discovering the cause for posterior knee pain can be difficult since it can originate from problems with the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, or vascular system.

This short article looks at possible reasons for discomfort in the back of the knee when a person straightens their leg. We also take a look at the potential treatment choices.

The posterior cruciate ligament, situated in the back of the knee, is responsible for holding the knee in place and supplying stability to the joint. It keeps the shinbone from moving too far backward.

Injuries to the PCL are not as typical as in other parts of the knee, and an individual can injure the PCL if they experience injury to the front of the knee. This can also take place if individual land or falls heavily on their knees.

Twisting and hyperextension can also cause injury to the posterior cruciate ligament.

An individual may experience pain and swelling right after an injury to the PCL has taken place. It may make the knee stiff, develop trouble walking, and provide a sensation of instability in the knee.


Treatment

Treatment can include rest, ice, compression, and elevation, using knee braces to stop the knee from moving, and physical therapy.

If a person’s symptoms do not improve after these treatments, a person can undergo surgery to reconstruct the ligament with a tissue graft.


Tendinopathy

Tendinopathy is the name for an inflamed tendon.

It can affect the hamstrings, gastrocnemius, and popliteus tendon, all located at the back of the knee.

Tendinopathy occurs due to recurring knee motions and routine pressure on the joint. Routinely playing sports that need sprinting can cause tendinopathy in the back of the knee.

Signs of tendinopathy consist of discomfort and inflammation at the back of the knee and a decrease in flexibility and range of motion.


Treatment

Rest, anti-inflammatory pain relievers, flexibility training, and physical therapy can be successful treatments for tendinopathy


Biceps femoris tendinopathy

Biceps femoris tendinopathy affects the biceps femoris tendon in the hamstrings.

Sports that include sprinting can cause little tears in the tendon.

Biceps femoris tendinopathy triggers discomfort in the outside of the back of the knee. A person can also experience bruising on the back of the leg, listed below the knee, for a few days.

A person might experience stiffness, swelling, and weak point in the joint, and it might harm to correct their leg.

 

Treatment

Physical treatment, cold packs, and resting the affected knee can all help to deal with biceps femoris tendinopathy.


Chondromalacia

When the cartilage beneath the kneecap breaks down, chondromalacia patella is. When a person utilizes the knee joint, there is no cushioning in between the thigh and the kneecap bone, which causes friction.

Chondromalacia can take place due to a misaligned kneecap. It can likewise occur due to trauma to the location, such as a fracture or dislocation.

An individual with chondromalacia may have a problem aligning their leg. Most discomfort will take place at the front or the side of the knee.

 

Treatment

Treatment can include:

  • physical treatment
  • pain management with ice bags and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Surgical treatment to replace the cartilage or change existing cartilage in the joint.

Arthritis

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the knee joint gradually deteriorates. This triggers the bones in the knee to rub against each other, which can cause bone stimulates. Pain from these bone can worsen in time.

Rheumatoid arthritis triggers swelling in the synovial membranes that cover the knee joint. A person with rheumatoid arthritis may experience pain and stiffness in their knees.

An individual may experience discomfort in the knee when they correct their leg since arthritis can cause the joints to swell, making them feel uncomfortable and stiff.


Treatment

The AAOS note that there is currently no cure for arthritis, however there are methods a person can manage their symptoms. This can include:.


  • Changing to low-impact exercise: Cycling and swimming can put less stress on the knee joints than running or tennis.
  • Physical treatment: This can assist to increase a person's series of motion, versatility, and strength in the legs.
  • Discomfort medication: NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, and corticosteroids can enhance swelling and pain.
  • Keeping a moderate weight: The United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) keep in mind that preserving a moderate weight can also decrease stress on the knee joint.

In some cases, surgery is necessary to enhance a person's symptoms if other treatments have not worked.

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Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in one of the body's deep veins discovered in the lower leg.

Blood clots can form in the popliteal vein that is found in the back of the knee.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Trusted Source, DVT is an underdiagnosed condition.

The signs of DVT include:.

  • swelling.
  • pain.
  • tenderness.
  • flushed skin in the affected location.

When they align their legs to stand up, an individual might feel more pain. Nevertheless, the CDC states that around 50% Trusted Source of people with DVT do not have any symptoms.

 

Treatment

Treatment for deep vein apoplexy includes blood-thinning medication and compression stockings to alleviate pain and swelling.

If an individual has extreme DVT, a cosmetic surgeon can eliminate a blood clot through a catheter or surgical treatment.


Baker's cyst

A Baker's cyst is a lump that forms on the back of the knee. It is filled with fluid and is soft to the touch. Healthcare experts may likewise refer to it as a popliteal cyst.

A Baker's cyst typically trusted Source occurs due to inflammatory joint conditions, such as arthritis. It can likewise take place as an outcome of overuse and injury.

Symptoms consist of pain, tightness, and pain at the back of the knee. The swelling might be more noticeable when a person stands and extends the knee totally.



Treatment

Treatment is not necessary if a cyst is not triggering symptoms. A person can use NSAIDs to decrease inflammation and discomfort, as well as cold packs.

If needed, a healthcare expert can drain pipes the cyst. According to a 2014 study, the cysts can return, even after surgical treatment.


Prevention

To prevent pain in the back of the knee, an individual can avoid putting excessive tension or strain on the knee joint when possible.

To do this, an individual can engage in low-impact sport, such as swimming or biking.

Consuming a healthy diet and remaining active can help reduceTrusted Source a person's threat of deep vein apoplexy.

 

When to call a physician

A person needs to see a medical professional if:.

  • discomfort is severe.
  • the knee is irritated and inflamed.
  • they establish a fever.

They ought to also make an appointment to see a health care professional if an individual has a history of blood embolisms.

If an individual has signs of DVT, they must look for treatment rapidly. This is because blood clots can travel to the lungs and cause a lung embolism. When a blood embolism obstructs a blood vessel in the lungs, a lung embolism is.


Summary

Discomfort in the back of the knee can establish for many reasons. The back of the knee may hurt when an individual straightens their leg because of a variety of problems, consisting of embolism, muscle or tendon injuries, arthritis, or cysts.

Physical treatment, rest, and pain medications prevail treatments for much of these causes, however often a person will need surgery treat the issue.

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