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
There are seven main reasons for pain behind the knee: Baker’s Cyst (a collection of fluid behind the knee), a meniscus tear (damage to the cartilage), a strain or tear of the calf muscle, arthritis in the knee, a knee sprain (damage to the ligaments), a hamstring injury or deep vein thrombosis.
Find out loads more about each one in the pain behind the knee section.
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
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 programmes go to our knee exercises section.
There are a few muscles in the back of the knee. The 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.
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.
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: 30/10/18
Next Review Due: 30/10/20