Nevertheless, there are 5 very frequent pain behind knee causes with relief tips that possibly might help you alleviate some discomfort.
What Causes Pain Behind Knee?
Below we outlined basic info on each of these causes, along with easy relief tips that will help you manage or get rid of pain behind knees.
1. Baker’s Cyst
Baker’s Cyst, also known as a Popliteal Cyst, is a swelling in the popliteal space (space in back of the knee) which causes stiffness and pain behind knee. The pain usually gets worse when fully flexing or extending the knee as well as moving about.
Our Baker’s Cyst article contains a lot more information about this pain behind knee cause.
Relief Tip – Baker’s cyst will often resolve on its own without needing treatment. However, some self-care techniques may be effective, such as: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID), Ice and Resting (especially RICE relief method), Crutches and Compression Bandages.
2. Meniscus Tear
The meniscus is a rubbery, C-shaped disc that cushions your knee. Pain behind knee from a Meniscus Tear is quite common and is usually caused by twisting or turning quickly, often with the foot planted while the knee is bent.
Causes – Lifting heavy objects, sudden changes in direction, direct impact in a contact sport and excessive strain on the knees.
Relief Tip – A moderate tear may only require RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation). Knee braces can be helpful as well, for which you should check our knee brace guide. A severe tear may require physical therapy or surgery to repair or remove the meniscus.
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3. Hamstring Injury
A Hamstring Injury is a common and sometimes excruciating form of pain behind knee injury. It happens when one or more of the three muscles that run along the back of the thigh gets pulled, strained or injured.
Causes – Quick acceleration activities when running or initiating running activity.
Relief Tip – Most minor to moderate hamstring injuries heal with some rest, ice, compress, Advil and leg elevation.
4. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee), frequently occurring in teenagers or young adults, is a pain behind knee injury that occurs when an unaligned kneecap (patella) irritates the femur grove or thighbone.
Causes – Overuse, injury, excess weight, a kneecap that isn’t properly aligned or changes under the kneecap.
Relief Tip – Avoid activities that might make symptoms worse. Ibuprofen, ice, bandages and rest will also alleviate the pain. Read more about Chondromalacia Patella or Patella Femoral Syndrome for even more information about runner’s knee problems.
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Pain behind knee from non-cancerous knee bone tumors include non-ossifying fibromaunicameral bone cysts, osteochondromas, giant cell tumors, enchondromas and fibrous dysplasia. Cancerous knee bone tumors are osteosarcomas and those caused by multiple myeloma or Ewing’s sarcoma.
Causes – The causes of bone tumors are unknown. Possible causes are genetic, radiation and trauma.
Relief Tip – Seek professional attention from your healthcare provider because benign and malignant tumors usually have to be surgically removed to relieve pain.
Other Possible Pain Behind Knee Causes
- Muscle cramps are common due to various reasons. Leg cramps can cause pain in back of knee.
- Jumper’s knee (patellar tendonitis) frequently happens to athletes. It typically causes pain below your kneecaps but it can feel like it’s behind your knees.
- ACL tear (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries can happen in sports, typically when you suddenly stop or change direction. Rest and therapy helps, while surgery may be required in more severe cases.
- Chondromalacia patella can happen due to injuries but also due to gradual wearing as you age. Similarly, arthritis can also cause pain in back of your knee.
Get professional medical help from certified doctors
Best Pain Behind Knee Relief
Most effective way for pain behind knee relief is the RICE method – Rest, Ice, Compress & Elevate. You can find out how to properly do RICE here. If the pain or injury isn’t very severe you can skip the “Rest” part and try some easy exercises.
Make sure you read our 101 knee pain relief tips for over a hundred different ways to manage or get rid of knee pain. If you are experiencing pain in back of your knee there are easily dozens of effective exercises and tips that will help.
Additionally you should start doing these 7 knee pain exercises immediately. They are easy and anyone can do them to reduce pain.