Back Of Knee Pain FAQ's

Written By: Chloe Wilson, BSc(Hons) Physiotherapy
Reviewed by: KPE Medical Review Board

It is pretty common to get back of knee pain, aka posterior knee pain. Here we will answer some of the most common questions we get from people regarding what is going on and how to treat it

1. What Cause Back Of Knee Pain?

Find out about the common causes of pain behind the knee

The main causes of back of knee pain are:

  • Baker’s Cyst: a collection of fluid behind the knee
  • Meniscus Tear: damage to the knee cartilage
  • Calf Tear: a strain or tear of the muscles on the back of the lower leg
  • Knee Arthritis: wear and tear in the joint
  • Knee Sprain: damage to the ligaments
  • Hamstring Injury: strain or tear of one of the muscles on the back of the thigh
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis: a blood clot in one of the leg veins

You can find out loads more about each one in the pain behind the knee section.

2. How Do You Get Rid of Pain in The Back of Your Knee? 

It is important to diagnose what it causing the pain in the back of your knee correctly before starting treatment. However, treatment will typically be a mixture of exercises, rest, ice, compression, elevation of the knee and sometimes using a knee support. Deep vein thrombosis does require immediate medical attention.

Find out more in the knee pain treatment section

3. What Are The Best Exercises for Treating Pain in the Back of Your Knee?

Exercises are a great way for treating pain in the back of your knee

The right treatment for back of knee pain will depend on what is causing the problem and occasionally exercise is not the best option. However, exercises will typically involve strengthening the major muscles in the upper and lower leg (quads, hamstrings and calf muscles) to provide more support to the knee joint and stretches to improve flexibility.

For a whole range of knee exercise programs go to our knee exercises section. 

4. What is The Muscle in The Back of The Knee?

There are a few muscles in the back of the knee.

  • Hamstrings: travel down the back of the thigh to the sides and back of the knee.
  • Popliteus: a small muscle found in the back of the knee, stabilises and rotates the knee.
  • Gastrocnemius: arises from the back of the knee forming part of the calf muscle.

Find out more about each of these in the knee muscles section and how injuries to them can cause back of knee pain.

Find out how to tell if you have a blood clot in your leg

5. How Do I Know If I Have a Blood Clot in My Leg?

With a blood clot in the leg, there is typically redness and warmth but only in one leg. Pulling your toes up towards you will make your pain worse. 

The pain from a DVT can come on suddenly or gradually over time, caused by periods of inactivity, obesity, pregnancy or genetics. Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect  a DVT is causing your back of knee pain.

Find out More

You can find out loads more about all the different aspects of back of knee pain including symptoms, diagnosis and treatment in the pain behind the knee section

Page Last Updated: 10/07/21
Next Review Due: 10/07/23


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