What’s Causing the Pain in the Back of My Knee?

Pain in the back of the knee is a very common reason people seek their orthopedic surgeon. Sometimes this pain comes on suddenly due to injury or a trauma.

Other times the pain can come on slowly over time.

When determining the cause of pain in the back of the knee it is most important to decide whether the pain is coming from within the knee joint itself or from an injury or issue with the muscles or other structure that are behind the knee joint.

More often than not pain in the back of knee is not caused by an injury to the structures within the knee joint itself.

The knee is surrounded by a soft tissue layer called a capsule. The capsule keeps all the joint fluid inside the knee. Inside the capsule are the structures of the joint itself, which are the cartilage, the menisci, and some of the ligaments.

Many of the muscles in your leg are behind the knee joint. Many times a calf sprain can present itself as pain behind the knee.

Also a hamstring strain can be pain behind the knee, but not actually in the joint.

Pain in the back of the knee which is caused by damage to structures within the joint are most commonly meniscal tears.

The meniscus is a cartilage structure which acts as a shock absorber between the femur bone and the tibia bone in the knee.

Sometime this can cause posterior knee pain.

If your knee pain persists then you should seek consultation from your orthopedic surgeon.

Dr. Michael Gott is a Westchester orthopedic surgeon who is fellowship trained in sports medicine. He has also been an active member of the National Ski Patrol as well as a Member of the Windham Mountain Ski Patrol for 18 years.