Have you ever asked yourself if the pain behind knee that you feel is coming from the Popliteus muscle? Probably not because most people don’t know what that is. There are several pain behind knee issues that could be affecting you.
However, this article will specifically deal with one area to help you understand (in clear terms) more about this small muscle, what causes pain behind your knee and what tips you can use for relief.
What is the Popliteus Muscle?
The Popliteus is a muscle (pictured above in red) located at the back of the knee joint. It plays an important part in unlocking the knees when flexing or extending. It is also involved in rotating the Tibia (shinbone) and Femur (thigh bone).
Tip: see our awesome 3D knee diagram for more about knee anatomy.
What Causes Popliteus Pain Behind Knee?
There are several pain behind knee causes you may have experienced. Here are the most common ones.
An accident or fall with the knee extended is a common cause of pain behind the knee. Occasionally hyperextension from a sports injury (or aggressive activity) can tear the muscle.
Excessive running such as in a marathon can lead to pain behind the knee. In addition, bad workout techniques can lead to tendinitis in the legs which can cause a lot of pain.
Reactive muscle tone
A reactive muscle from surgery or poor leg function can cause pain behind knee problems. The 3 causes of reactive muscle tone is explained in full detail in this excellent article by Chris Mallac.
How to Relieve Popliteus Muscle Pain
Relieving the knee pain in the Popliteus muscle is usually straightforward. The RICE method for injuries should relieve your pain in many cases. Avoid activity for 6 weeks that puts unnecessary stress on the tendon, such as running or exercising. Ice behind the knee regularly to bring the pain and swelling down.
Over the counter medication, such as Advil or Motrin can be taken as prescribed. For more serious injury to the popliteal contact your professional medical practitioner to discuss your pain relief options.
If your pain behind knee isn’t caused by popliteus muscle, then see our 5 Pain Behind Knee Causes (with Relief Tips) article for help in diagnosing your exact issues.
What caused your pain behind knee and how did you relieve it? Please let us know below.