Medically the evaluation by wilhelm Morrison, M.D. — written by Stephanie Watson — update on September 17, 2018

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The knee is her body’s best joint and also one the its many injury-prone areas. It’s comprised of skeletal that deserve to fracture or move out that joint, and cartilage, ligaments, and tendons that deserve to strain or tear.

You are watching: What do you call the back of the knee

Some knee injuries eventually heal on their own with rest and also care. Others call for surgery or other clinical interventions. Occasionally pain is a authorize of a chronic condition like arthritis that loss the knee slowly over time.

Here are some of the problems that can reason pain in the back of your knee, and what to intend if you have actually one of them.


1. Foot cramps

A cramp is a tightening the a muscle. Muscle in the calves space most likely to cramp, yet other leg muscles can cramp up, too — consisting of muscles in the earlier of the thigh close to the knee.

You’re an ext likely to have leg cramps as soon as you practice or during pregnancy. Other possible causes include:

nerve troubles in your legsdehydrationtoxins, like lead or mercury in the bloodliver disease

When you have a cramp, you’ll unexpectedly feel her muscle contract, or spasm. The ache lasts almost everywhere from a couple of seconds come 10 minutes. After the cramp passes, the muscle may be sore for a few hours. Here’s exactly how to put a prevent to the pain and also prevent future foot cramps.


2. Jumper’s knee

Jumper’s knee is an injury come the tendon — the cord that connects her kneecap (patella) to her shinbone. It’s also called patellar tendonitis. That can occur when you jump or readjust direction, together as when playing volleyball or basketball.

These motions can cause tiny tears in the tendon. Eventually, the tendon swells up and weakens.

Jumper’s knee reasons pain below the kneecap. The pain gets worse over time. Other symptoms include:

weaknessstiffnesstrouble bending and straightening her knee
3. Biceps femoris tendonitis (hamstring injury)

The hamstring is composed of a trio of muscle that run down the earlier of her thigh:

semitendinosus musclesemimembranosus musclebiceps femoris muscle

These muscles allow you come bend her knee.

Injuring among these muscle is dubbed a traction hamstring or a hamstring strain. A hamstring stress, overload happens when the muscle is stretched too far. The muscle can fully tear, which have the right to take months to heal.

When girlfriend injure her hamstring muscle, you’ll feel a sudden pain. Injuries to the biceps femoris — called biceps femoris tendinopathy — reason pain in the ago of the knee.

Other symptom include:

swellingbruisingweakness in the ago of her leg

This type of injury is common in athletes who run fast in sports like soccer, basketball, tennis, or track. Extending the muscles out prior to play can assist prevent this injury indigenous occurring.


4. Baker’s cyst

A Baker’s cyst is a fluid-filled sac that creates behind the knee. The liquid inside the cyst is synovial fluid. Normally, this liquid acts together a lubricant for her knee joint. But if you have actually arthritis or a knee injury, her knee may develop too lot synovial fluid. The extra liquid can develop up and type a cyst.

Symptoms include:

pain in and also behind her kneeswelling behind your kneestiffness and also trouble flexing her knee

These symptom can gain worse as soon as you’re active. If the cyst bursts, you’ll feeling a sharp pain in her knee.

Baker’s cysts sometimes go away on your own. Come treat a big or ache cyst, you might need steroid injections, physics therapy, or to have the cyst drained. It’s essential to determine if one underlying difficulty is causing the cyst, such together arthritis. If so, taking treatment of this problem very first may an outcome in the Baker’s cyst clearing up.


5. Gastrocnemius tendonitis (calf strain)

The gastrocnemius muscle and also the soleus muscle comprise your calf, i m sorry is the ago of your reduced leg. These muscles assist you bend her knee and suggest your toes.

Any sport that needs you to conveniently go from a standing position to a operation — like tennis or squash — have the right to strain or tear the gastrocnemius muscle. You’ll know that did you do it strained this muscle by the suddenly pain it causes in the earlier of your leg.

Other symptom include:

pain and also swelling in the calfbruising in the calftrouble was standing on tiptoe

The pain need to subside depending on the size of the tear. Resting, elevating the leg, and icing the hurt area will aid it heal faster.


6. Meniscus tear

The meniscus is a wedge-shaped item of cartilage the cushions and also stabilizes your knee joint. Each of her knees has actually two menisci — one ~ above either next of the knee.

Athletes periodically tear the meniscus as soon as they squat and also twist the knee. Together you get older, your meniscus weakens and also degenerates and is more likely come tear with any twisting motion.

When you tear a meniscus, you might hear a “popping” sound. At first the injury can not hurt. But after friend walk ~ above it for a few days, the knee have the right to become much more painful.

Other symptom of a meniscus tear are:

stiffness in the kneeswellingweaknesslocking or giving method of the knee

Rest, ice, and also elevation that the influenced knee can aid alleviate the symptom and allow it to cure faster. If the tear doesn’t improve on that is own, you could need surgical treatment to fix it.


7. Anterior cruciate ligament injury

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a band of organization that runs v the former of your knee joint. That connects your thighbone to her shinbone and helps stabilize and carry out movement to her knee.

Most ACL injuries occur when you slow-moving down, stop, or adjust direction unexpectedly while running. Friend can also strain or tear this ligament if girlfriend land a run wrong, or you obtain hit in a call sport like football.

You could feel a “pop” when the injury happens. Afterward, your knee will hurt and swell up. You can have trouble completely moving her knee and also feel pain as soon as you walk.

Rest and also physical treatment can assist an ACL strain heal. If the ligament is torn, you’ll regularly need surgical procedure to deal with it. Here’s what come expect during ACL reconstruction.


8. Posterior cruciate ligament injury

The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is the ACL’s partner. It’s one more band of organization that connects your thighbone to your shinbone and supports her knee. However, the PCL no as most likely to get injured as the ACL.

You have the right to injure the PCL if you take it a tough blow come the front of your knee, such together in a vehicle accident. Occasionally injuries happen from twisting the knee or lacking a action while walking.

Stretching the ligament also far reasons a strain. With enough pressure, the ligament can tear right into two parts.

Along through pain, a PCL injury causes:

swelling that the kneestiffnesstrouble walkingweakness of the knee

Rest, ice, and elevation can assist a PCL injury cure faster. You could need surgery if you’ve injured an ext than one ligament in your knee, have actually symptoms that instability, or you likewise have cartilage damage.


9. Chondromalacia

Chondromalacia happens once the cartilage inside a joint breaks down. Cartilage is the rubbery material that cushions bones therefore they nothing scrape against one one more when you move.

Injury to the knee, or a gradual wearing under from age, arthritis, or overuse, can reason chondromalacia. The most usual site that cartilage malfunction is under the kneecap (patella). As soon as the cartilage is gone, the knee skeletal scrape versus each other and also cause pain.

The key symptom is a dull pains behind her kneecap. The pains may obtain worse once you rise stairs or after ~ you’ve been sitting because that a while.

Other symptoms include:

trouble moving your knee past a specific pointweakness or buckling that the kneea cracking or grinding feeling when you bend and also straighten your knee

Ice, over-the-counter pain relievers, and also physical therapy can aid with the pain. Once the cartilage is damaged, chondromalacia won’t go away. Just surgery deserve to fix the damaged cartilage.


10. Arthritis

Arthritis is a degenerative condition in which the cartilage that cushions and also supports the knee joint progressively wears away. There space a few types the arthritis that can affect the knees:

You can control arthritis pain through exercise, injections, and pain medicines. Rheumatoid arthritis and also other inflammatory creates of the problem are treated v disease-modifying drugs the dampen the immune system an answer and lug down inflammation in the body. Uncover out just how else girlfriend can manage arthritis pain.


11. Deep vein thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that creates in a deep vein inside the leg. You’ll feeling pain in the leg, especially when you was standing up. Here’s how to phone call if you have actually a blood clot.

Other symptom include:

swelling of the legwarmth in the areared skin

It’s important to get DVT cure as quickly as possible. A clot deserve to break totally free and travel to the lungs. When a gerean gets lodged in one artery the the lung it’s called pulmonary embolism (PE). PE can be life-threatening.

DVT is treated with blood thinners. These medicines prevent the clot from obtaining bigger and stop new clots native forming. Her body will eventually break increase the clot.

If you have a large clot that’s dangerous, your doctor will offer you drugs referred to as thrombolytics to rest it up much more quickly.


tips for rapid relief
once to see your doctor

You may be able to treat pain indigenous a boy injury or arthritis at home. However call your medical professional if you experience the following:

The impacted leg is red.The foot is really swollen.You’re in a lot of pain.You’re to run a fever.You’ve had a history of blood clots.

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They have the right to determine the root cause of her knee pains and help you find relief.

You should additionally seek prompt medical fist if you’re experiencing:

severe painsudden ede or warmth in the legtrouble breathinga leg that can’t host your weightchanges in the illustration of your knee joint

critical medically the review on September 18, 2017


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Medically the review by william Morrison, M.D. — created by Stephanie Watson — update on September 17, 2018

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