Four Common Causes of Posterior Knee Pain


If you live a physically active lifestyle, you are bound to have a few aches and pains for time to time. While most exercise-related pain resolves itself with rest, persistent pain that lingers beyond a few days can indicate an injury that should not be ignored. Posterior knee pain is often seen in runners and other athletes, and it can originate from a number of causes.

Here are four common causes of posterior knee pain, and recommendations for treatment:

  1. Popliteal cyst, also known as Baker’s cyst: A popliteal cyst is a swelling at the back of the knee, about the size of a golf ball, that is filled with fluid. You may feel a sensation of pressure and pain at the back of your knee joint and into your upper calf. It can be caused by a number of issues that cause the bursa to fill with synovial fluid, which lubricates your joints. Rest and compression may help reduce the swelling, and changing activities may be advisable until the swelling goes away. If pain and swelling persist for several days, seek professional treatment.
  2. Meniscus tear: Menisci are tough, rubbery horseshoe-shaped bits of cartilage that rest beneath your patella, between your femur and tibia. Menisci provide stability and shock absorption to your knee joint during physical activity. In sports that entail a lot of pivoting and rapid directional changes, torque to the knee joint can cause a meniscus tear. You may be able to continue to walk, but over the course of a few days, your knee may  become increasingly painful and swollen. Rest, ice and physical therapy are your best options for treatment.
  3. Hamstring tendinopathy: While the hamstrings are made up of three muscles, posterior knee pain originating from the hamstrings most often involves the biceps femoris muscle and tendon. Pain manifests behind the knee near the outside, with pain and tenderness upon bending the knee against resistance, and stiffness after exercise. Ice and compression may help alleviate initial pain. Running gait retraining may provide a long-term solution to prevent further injury.
  4. Gastrocnemius tendinopathy: A common overuse injury seen in runners and sprinters, gastrocnemius tendinopathy is marked by inflammation of the calf tendon that causes pain at the back of the knee. Ice, compression and modified training may help reduce pain and inflammation. Physical therapy can help correct faulty gait and movement mechanics that contribute to tendinopathy.

Knee Pain Diagnosis and Treatment in NYC

When you are used to being physically active, a knee injury can be devastating, keeping you from doing the activities you enjoy and undermining your quality of life. If you have persistent knee pain that does not go away with rest, you may have an injury that will worsen if ignored.

The knee pain specialists at NYDNRehab understand how important your active lifestyle is to you, and we are dedicated to resolving your knee pain, not just treating the symptoms. We use state-of-the-art technology and advanced treatment methods to diagnose and rehabilitate your knee pain, so you can get back to doing the things you love, pain-free.



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