Popliteus Tendinitis Causes with Relief Tips

Popliteus TendinitisPopliteus Tendinitis (mistakenly spelled Popliteus Tendonitis) is not a common knee pain condition. Chances are if you have popliteus tendinitis you are extremely athletic or you have a history of knee trauma.

Nevertheless, you’ll be glad to know relieving knee pain for popliteus tendinitis is relatively simple and straightforward.

What is the Popliteus Muscle

The popliteus muscle is in the back of the leg and used for unlocking the knees. The popliteus tendon connects the popliteus muscle and together are responsible for walking and standing by laterally rotating the thighbone (femur) on the shine bone (tibia).

You can read more about knee anatomy here, or take a look at our helpful 3D knee diagram to better understand it. Our knee muscles article also has an overview of all muscles in the knee.

Popliteus Tendinitis

Popliteus tendinitis is often caused by a tendon strain. There are 3 levels of strains to the popliteus tendon.

Level 1 – The strain in the popliteus tendon causes pain but the tendon is not lengthened.

Level 2 – The strain in the popliteus tendon is lengthened because the ligament is stretched or ruptured.

Level 3 – The strain in the popliteus tendon is torn and movement is impaired.

Causes of Popliteus Tendinitis

Popliteus tendinitis occurs when a strain to the popliteus tendon becomes inflamed. It usually occurs from an overuse injury. The symptoms of popliteus tendinitis are inflammation, pain, swelling, and sensitivity outside of the knee.

Relief Tips for Popliteus Tendinitis

The RICE technique is the best method to achieve knee pain relief from popliteus tendinitis.

  1. Rest for approximately 6 weeks. Avoid activity that will put stress on your knee.
  2. Ice the area for 15 to 20-minute throughout the day.
  3. Compress the knee to add knee support.
  4. Elevate the knee above your heart to reduce swelling.

Knee Strengthening & Stretching Exercises

Knee strengthening and stretching exercises can benefit those who have popliteus tendinitis. However, consult your doctor or healthcare provider before beginning a knee strengthening regimen.

Outlined below are some of the most effective exercises for popliteus tendinitis.

Wall Squats – Stand up straight with your back against a flat wall with your feet about 6 inches apart. Keep your head up and look forward so your spine stays aligned. Slowly and gently slide down the wall a few inches and hold it for 5 to 10 seconds. Slide back up the wall to a standing position and repeat several times. Interested in learning more about the proper squat form? Take a look at the video at the end of this post.

Hamstring Stretches – Sit on the floor with your legs extended and heels on the ground. Put your hands on the floor by your knees and slowly slide your hands towards your ankles. When you feel a slight stretch hold this position for a 30 seconds. Relax and repeat 5 to 10 times.

Quadricep Stretches – Stand up straight with your knees together. Place a hand on a wall for balance. Grab the ball of your foot with your hand. In a controlled form bring your foot to your buttocks. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Release and repeat 10 times. Repeat one set of 10 repetitions.

Hip Flexor Stretches – Place one leg in front of the other and bend your knee. Bend your other leg with your knee close to the floor. Place a hand on a wall for balance. In a controlled manner move your hips forward while keeping your back straight. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Have you suffered from popliteus tendinitis? If so please comment below.

Proper Squat Form Video

Article last updated on January 7th, 2019, first published on April 17, 2013.

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