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Pain in Back of Knee: Find Out About Causes and Treatment

Pain in the back of the knee is one of the most common ailments around. As this sort of pain is exceedingly common, there are a wealth of causes associated with it. Here’s a look at everything you need to know about the causes for pain behind knee, as well as the variety of treatments that can help to alleviate the pain, whether mild or severe.

Most Common Causes of Knee Pain

If you suffer from pain behind the knee joint, there may be a number of reasons as to why. As this particular joint is necessary for the mobility of a person, it’s important to understand the causes for this pain, which will allow you to seek the correct treatment.

In general, a torn ligament or cartilage tear can be the root cause for pain behind the knee and most often occurs during strenuous exercise or heavy lifting. A tear within the knee cartilage, also known as a meniscus tear, can be due to a sporting injury of some sort, which can manifest itself in relatively severe pain in the back of the knee.

A torn ligament is similar in nature to that of a cartilage tear and will occur within the knees of those that are active in sports or exercise regularly. The tear will likely present itself in the PCL or posterior cruciate ligament, though injuries to the ACL and MCL are more common.

A particular ailment, known as Runner’s Knee, is very common with athletes, especially after running. Runner’s knee is basically a name that was created to encompass most of the basic forms of pain behind knee that are accompanied with exercise and general athletic activities, such as running, jogging or riding a bicycle. Causes for runner’s knee typically include some sort of bone misalignment between the thigh and knee, as well as overuse. If you notice any amount of pain when bending your knee, then it’s a sign that you may suffer from this condition.

However, outside of the aforementioned, there are a number of other common causes for knee pain, including that of Bursitis. Bursitis, which can appear in a variety of regions throughout the body, such as the elbow, is a condition upon which the bursa in the knee has become inflamed. A “Baker’s Cyst” is the term used for when Bursitis attacks the back of the knee.

The common symptoms of this condition are inflammation and swelling, as well as occasional pain in the calf. Anyone with a severe case of arthritis is likely to have a Baker’s Cyst if they feel pain behind the knee. Arthritis, in general, also brings about pain and a burning sensation in the knee joint and is often experienced by those over the age of 50.

Less Common Causes of Knee Pain

Though not quite as common as the causes mentioned earlier, the following causes of knee pain can still occur in anyone and should be treated straight away if noticing any symptoms. While anyone that is overweight is more likely to experience pain within the back, the knee can take on a form of osteoarthritis, which is caused when the cushioned area on the knee wears away over time, due to extra stress being placed on the joints. If you are overweight, you will notice the pain when walking up or down stairs, as well as after sitting for a lengthy period of time.

An injury to the hamstring tendon, located in the thigh, can bring about pain at the back of the knee. It will initially present itself as a dull ache, though it’s likely that you will experience sharp pain when squatting or simply bending your knee. Tendonitis in the knee, commonly known as jumper’s knee, is another cause for knee pain and usually occurs in those that play any sport that involves jumping on a regular basis, such as in basketball or even volleyball.

At-home Treatment Options

Fortunately, the vast majority of the causes for pain in the back of the knee that were mentioned earlier have simplistic and straightforward treatment options that you can administer yourself from the comforts of your own home. If you are looking for a treatment that takes effect immediately, it’s possible to relieve the pain when straightening leg. You should also consider implementing the following treatments into your routine:

  • Rest your knee as often as possible.
  • If laying down, try to prop it up on a pillow, to best keep the leg straightened.
  • If your knee is swelling due to Bursitis or some other condition, try to place ice on it, which should reduce the swelling and pain.
  • Try some light stretching exercises, which can help to alleviate the pain.
  • If you’re busy and simply don’t have time to rest your knee, buy and wear a knee brace until it begins to get better.
  • If you’re overweight and this is the cause of the knee pain, try to eat healthier and exercise often to lessen the strain on the body and eventually lose weight.

Advanced Treatment Options

There may be times when the pain behind your knee is too severe and simply won’t go away, even after attempting some of the previous treatments. If this is the case, then you may need to consider some additional treatment options. Taking physical therapy that is administered by a licensed therapist can really help to identify the causes for the pain and help you to work towards a solution.

If things become too severe and your pain and other symptoms persist, then it may be time to take more drastic measures. Anti-inflammatory medications or injections can help to reduce swelling and pain over time, while a mild form of surgery may be necessary in order to rid the knee of pain entirely. While this option can be costly, the potential benefits are more than worth it should the need arise.


Pain in the back of the knee is a common nuisance that affects millions of people around the world. Whether you’re active or inactive, in-shape or overweight, it doesn’t matter, as knee pain can affect anyone for a wide variety of reasons. As such, it’s important to understand the root causes of knee pain and the treatments that are available to you. The previous information looks to do just that, providing you with the necessary knowledge that will allow you to identify the cause for this pain and treat it promptly and properly should it ever happen to you.


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