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Pain behind Knee – Causes and Treatment

Written by Dr.Mary

Pain behind the knee is one of the more common symptoms that an individual will have involving the knee. There are numerous reasons for the cause of pain behind the knee. An individual can get burning aching pain or sharp pain behind the knee. Often, the individual can even get needles and pins sensation and in some cases numbness.

Many kinds of athletes commonly have pain behind the knee, including:

  • Skiers
  • Cyclist
  • Soccer players
  • Runners


Meniscus pain

The meniscus is also a major cause of pain that is behind the knee. The meniscus is responsible for the absorption of the shock in the knee joint and also prevents the knee from twisting too far. If the knee clicks or hurts when you move your leg quickly or when you do fast turns, then you can have a meniscus problem that is causing the pain behind the knee. This is a frequent problem with individuals who do high impact sports such as soccer, basketball and football due to quickly running and turning at high speeds.

Popliteus pain

The popliteus is the muscle behind the knee that supports the knee joint from the back. It is a muscle that aids the knee holding together. If an individual has knee pain that occurs at the back, this is one probable cause of the knee pain. This muscle can become injured by getting squashed or strained in between other muscles like the hamstrings as well as the calves.

Arthritis of the knee

The majority of pain comes from the arthritic knee joint which is usually caused by wear and tear of the knee joint. When the knee joint becomes worn out, the knee can go into spasms of the muscle as well as inflammation. The pain is much worse when the individual puts all or most of the weight of the body on to the knee by activities such as bending down or standing on one leg – for example when going up stairs. If you do have that type of pain, then the likely cause of pain behind the knee is arthritis of the knee.



This is another cause of pain behind the knee and is the medical name for abnormal softening of your knee cartilage. This problem happens so frequently with runners that chondromalacia is also referred to as Runner’s Knee.


Pain that develops behind the knee may be managed with rest as well as ice to help reduce the swelling. Additionally, the following will also help in the management of the pain:

  • Exercising using those exercises that are low impact. This helps strengthen the muscles particularly the quadriceps, and can help with the pain behind the knee.
  • Strengthening and stretching the quadriceps as well as the hamstrings can ease pain located behind the knee.
  • Exercising with a stationary bike, swimming or taking part in other exercises that are low-impact can help in relieving behind the knee pain.
  • A knee brace offers stable relief from pain behind the knee
  • Using over-the-counter pain relieving medications as well as anti-inflammatory drugs may help to relieve the pain from behind the knee.
  • Trying shoes with added arch supports while walking or exercising, is vital to treating pain behind the knee.

The individual who uses the above measures and still pain behind the knee persists, should visit their primary care physician. The physician can tell if the individual needs any surgery to fully lessen the pain from behind the knee.

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