What causes behind knee pain?

Behind knee pain can be due to a fairly mild condition, such as a torn hamstring that responds well to rest and self-care measures. However, behind knee pain can result from a Baker’s cyst or deep vein thrombosis. With both conditions you may have pain, swelling, and bruising behind the knee and calf. In contrast to a Baker’s cyst, deep vein thrombosis is a life-threatening condition that needs to be treated as soon as possible.

Chronic degenerative conditions that cause behind knee pain include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is also an autoimmune disorder.

Common causes of Baker’s cyst and behind knee pain

Behind knee pain may arise from an injury or an inflammatory condition, such as:

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Overuse injury

  • Repetitive motion

  • Torn ligament or cartilage

  • Torn hamstring muscle

  • Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in the leg which can break loose from the leg causing a pulmonary embolism in the lung, a heart attack, or even stroke)

  • Peripheral vascular disease (PAD, also called peripheral vascular disease, or PVD, which is a narrowing of arteries due to a buildup of fat and cholesterol on the artery walls, which limits blood flow to the extremities)

Serious or life-threatening causes of behind knee pain

  • Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in the leg which can break loose from the leg causing a pulmonary embolism in the lung, a heart attack, or even stroke)

  • Peripheral vascular disease (PAD, also called peripheral vascular disease, or PVD, which is a narrowing of arteries due to a buildup of fat and cholesterol on the artery walls, which can limit blood flow to the extremities)

What are the potential complications of behind knee pain?

Because behind knee pain may be a sign of a serious disease, failure to seek treatment can result in complications. It is important to visit your health care provider when you experience any kind of persistent pain, redness, warmth, or other unusual symptoms. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important that you follow the treatment plan outlined by your health care provider to reduce your risk of potential complications related to behind knee pain, including:

  • Loss of mobility

  • Disability

  • Poor quality of life from constant pain

  • Pulmonary embolism associated with deep vein thrombosis

References:

  1. Baker’s cyst. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001222.htm.
  2. Deep vein thrombosis. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000156.htm.
  3. Knee problems. Family Doctor.org. http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/tools/symptom/542.printerview.html.
INTRODUCTION

What is behind knee pain?

Behind knee pain is discomfort or soreness behind the knee joint. It may occur with or without movement and can be severe enough to limit movement. People may describe behind knee pain as discomfort, inflammation, increased warmth or burning, soreness, stiffness, or pain.

... Read more about behind knee painintroduction

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with behind knee pain?

Behind knee pain often occurs along with other symptoms that vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. These symptoms include swelling or edema, inflammation and redness, soreness, or pain. If you are experiencing other symptoms along with your behind knee pain, be sure to tell your health care provider. This additional information can help your doctor make a diagnosis. Read more about behind knee painsymptoms

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Jul 30, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

Behind Knee Pain Related Links


What's Causing Your Symptoms?