Do You Get Pain On The Outside Of The Knee When Walking, Running, Or Climbing Stairs?
Watch the video to learn what causes pain on the outside of the knee and how to relieve it...
What Causes Pain On Outside Of Knee?
Pain on the outside of the knee can be caused by many things, but most of the time it's not serious.
One cause can be a problem inside of the knee joint such as knee arthritis or a meniscus tear.
However, that type of pain is usually deep inside the joint and you can't touch it with your fingers.
A pain right over the outside of the joint can be caused by a ligament sprain but that usually only occurs when:
- there is an acute injury to the knee
- the knee feels unstable, like it will give way
The MOST common cause of pain on the outside of the knee is the iliotibial band ("IT Band")
"IT Band Syndrome" or "Runner's Knee" is a very common cause of pain on the outside of the knee... and you DON'T have to be a runner to get it.
The IT band is a long tendon that runs from your hip down the outside of the thigh, and it attaches on the outside of the lower leg, just below the knee joint.
If the muscles that attach to the IT band are either too stiff or too weak, that can lead the IT band to rub over the outside of the knee joint, causing it to get inflamed and irritated.
Other Causes Of Pain On Outside Of Knee
Pain On Outside Of Knee When Bending Or Kneeling
What's A Fibular Head Joint Dysfunction?
- What's a fibular head?
The fibula is a small bone that runs down the outside of your lower leg. Your tibia bears 5/6 of your weight while standing, while the fibular only bears 1/6 of your weight. The bottom of the fibula joins with the tibia at the ankle joint. The top part of the fibula (the fibular head) joins with the tibia on the outside of the knee.
- What's a joint dysfunction?
A joint dysfunction is where a joint doesn't move properly, which can cause pain and stiffness. In the case of the fibular head, when that joint is stiff or stuck, it can cause pain on the back or outside of the knee when the knee is bent all the way... such as when kneeling.
What To Do For Pain On Outside Of Knee?
You can use ice, medications, or rest from running, walking, or other activities. These things might help you relieve pain on the outside of the knee for a brief period of time.
Ultimately though, to get long-term relief from pain on the outside of the knee, you have to find out what's causing the pain in the first place.
Your Hips Can Cause Knee Pain
Most of the time, knee pain isn't caused by knee problems.
Knee pain is usually caused by a problem in the hip and/or ankle, and your knee is the thing that's in the middle getting beat up.
When the muscles in your hip and in your butt are too weak, it can cause your leg to twist inward, rubbing the IT band over the joint line.
See our last post on Pain On The Outside Of The Hip for an EASY exercise to strengthen the hip muscles.
Stiff Ankles And Calves Can Be A Cause Too
When your ankles or calves are stiff, it can cause your foot to flatten ("overpronate") and your leg to twist inward.
As noted above, this inward twisting of your leg can cause your IT band to rub over the knee joint which can lead to pain on the outside of the knee.
Stretching your calves is often necessary to get long-term relief from pain on the outside of the knee.
Stretches For Pain On Outside Of Knee
Sometimes you just want some quick relief though.
This stretch can help if your knee joint is twisted or if you're having IT band pain on your knee.
Use the stretch to relieve outer knee pain
- Sit in a chair
- Cross the ankle of the sore leg over the knee of the other leg (figure 4)
- Pull toward you on the lower leg bone (just below the knee) while pushing away from you on the thigh bone just above the knee.
I hope you find the tips to be helpful.
If you need more help for knee pain, we'd be happy to help you out.
Give us a call at 314-941-3970.
We'll help you figure out what's causing your knee pain and what you can do to get rid of your knee pain so that you can get back to walking, running, taking exercise classes, climbing stairs, or doing other activities you enjoy without being limited by knee pain.