Why Do I Suffer With Knee Pain

Knee pain can present in so many different ways, often being caused through the most innocuous movement/activity. A lot of the time, you will have small things building up over a period of time before you suffer with your pain or injury.

knee pain

What can cause my knee pain?

There are so many potential causes of knee pain that I won’t cover them all in this post. Instead I will try to touch on as many as possible. The two key areas that can lead to or increase the risk of knee is the level of strength and range of movement of the muscles around the knee. Weakness and tightness in the muscles can predispose you to injury. You may be sat there thinking, so what, I stretch all the time and strengthen my muscles but I still suffer with pain. The list below outlines potential causes of knee pain.

  • Age
  • Previous Injury
  • Excessive Weight
  • Significant Trauma
  • Lack of Strength
  • Lack of Flexibility
knee pain causes

Pain on the inside of the knee

If this is you, and you are suffering with pain on the inside of the knee, the first you should do is book in with a professional. Most causes of medial knee pain are typically traumatic in their onset. If you have the sensation of locking, giving away or feeling as if there is something in your knee catching as you move your leg; you may have damaged some important structures.

Sports that have lots of twisting and turning can increase the risk of medial knee pain, this can cause extra strain on the MCL. Activities that involve planting of the foot and then a twist can put you at risk of a meniscus injury. As you get older however, you are naturally at a greater risk of arthritis. If untreated/managed can cause significant damage to the knee.

Pain behind the knee

There are several causes again of pain behind the knee. Muscles that attach in and around this area include the calves and hamstrings. Straining these muscles, if they are inadequately prepared for activity can lead to pain behind the knee. Alternatively, your pain can be caused by a Baker’s Cyst. This is normally quite obvious to diagnose, due to the big lump that sits in the back of the knee. All the cyst is made up of is synovial fluid. This may need to be drained by a doctor, however, if the true cause of the Baker’s Cyst is determined it can be possible to get rid of this through specific exercises and treatments.

knee strengthening

Pain on the outside of the knee

This is a common problem that is seen in runners. Often referred to as Iliotibial Band Syndrome. The repetitive bending and straightening can cause the IT band to become inflamed and painful. This is commonly seen in runners who have had a sudden spike in their workloads, whilst also having reduced levels of flexibility. The best place to start with this if you suffer with this is to look at 3 things.

  • Your week to week loading/mileage
  • The footwear you have
  • The surfaces you run on
  • Or if you are a cyclist, look at the position of your knee as you pedal
Lateral Knee Pain

Pain on the front of the knee

So again there are multiple causes that lead to this. I see this often most weeks and it is usually caused by 2 specific areas of tightness. Tightness in the hamstrings and/or tightness of the rectus femoris muscle (front of the thigh).

Both of these muscles being tight will affect the tilt of the pelvis, which in-turn will play a part in how your kneecap is tracking. When the kneecap is influenced by a tight rectus femoris muscle you can find that you have pain just under the kneecap. This is due to the greater strain placed on the patella tendon through the tight muscles.

How can I get rid of my knee pain?

First things first, get assessed first to fully determine the cause of your pain. It isn’t a one shoe fits all when it comes to exercises to get you pain free again. However, working on your flexibility really does help. Although, if you are doing mobility exercises, make sure you are strengthening your muscles too. What is the point of increasing your movement if it is going to be weak throughout the movement?

  • Get Stretching
  • Get Strengthening
  • Get Assessed
  • Get Fixed

Why do I get pain in my knee when I run?

Knee pain is a very common problem in the general population whilst runners are very often affected with knee pain, with this being called runners knee. Pain can be caused through injury to the muscles, ligaments, tendons and to other joint structures. The onset of pain isn’t the same for everyone, however, the pain is either acute or chronic in nature.

What is runners knee?

Runners knee is often associated with a dull pain at the front of the knee. More often than not, this leads to the knee being painful to touch. Whilst, there is often the sensation of rubbing, grinding or clicking linked to this problem. After a prolonged period of sitting there can be pain felt in the front of the knee, with a feeling of knee instability noticed during runners knee.

Why do I suffer from runners knee?

  • Muscle weakness
  • Tight hamstrings
  • Tight Achilles tendons
  • Poor foot support
  • Poor running biomechanics
  • Excessive training or overuse
  • Tight quadriceps

Muscle tightness can lead to this problem due to the alteration of where the knee-cap sits within the joint. To reduce the risk of developing runners knee you should aim to perform stretches and strengthening exercises, an example for this is further down the page.

I get my pain on the inside of the knee, why?

Medial knee pain can be caused by many things. This could be caused through a medial collateral ligament injury (the main ligament on the inside of the knee). This is usually injured through a traumatic episode by which a large force is applied to the outside of the knee of the standing leg. Other than this, medial knee pain can be caused through an inflammation of a bursa, bruise from a traumatic impact or muscle weakness. The best thing to do is to seek professional advice. Ideally, you should book an appointment with a physiotherapist or a graduate sports therapist, to get to terms with what is causing your pain.

What are the main causes of knee pain?

The main causes will vary person to person. Different activities and personal movement biomechanics will predispose people to different injuries more so than other people.

  • Age – as you get older you are more at risk of arthritis related knee pain
  • Gender – Women can be more at risk of knee pain due to the angle at which their femur is, this is due to the difference in angle of the femur between males and females
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle tightness
  • Overuse
  • Poor biomechanics
  • Alteration in postural alignment