Pain on the front and back of the knee
Learn more about pain on the front and back of your knee.
Pain on the front of your knee
This is one of the easiest areas to find since you see this very easily. The pain on the front of your knee can be easily split into areas at, above or below your patella (kneecap).
Pain located directly over your patella usually mean you have something wrong with your patella or the soft tissue over the patella. Pain deep inside your knee usually means your problem is at your patella such as a problem with the way it tracks over your femur or even softening of your cartilage surface. This is called chondromalacia patella. If you have had a serious injury to your knee, pain deep in this area could be due to a fracture (break). Pain in the soft tissue above your patella may mean your have a bursitis. The bursitis may be due to overuse, trauma or even infection. Finally, the pain under your kneecap could simply be due to arthritis in that area of the knee.
Pain located above your patella may be due to an injury to the tendon connecting your thigh muscle (quadriceps) to your patella. This is known as the quadriceps tendon. Another reason you may have pain in this area may be due to swelling in your joint causing an aching pain over the joint capsule.
Pain located below your patella may be due to an injury to the tendon connecting your patella to your tibia (shinbone). This is known as your patellar tendon. Pain in the area below your patella may also be due to calcium deposits in the patellar tendon, or if you are younger than 18 years old, you may have injured the growth plate where the tendon attaches to the tibia.
Pain behind the knee
Pain located behind the knee may be due to swelling of a cyst called a Baker's Cyst. This does not mean that you will start to look like the Pillsbury Doughboy, but is named after a famous surgeon named Baker. The cyst is usually due to a weakening of the lining of your joint. When you knee swells, the fluid pushes out the back of your knee to cause the cyst to enlarge. Many things can cause you knee to swell such as a tear in your meniscus or ligaments. You may even have arthritis or just a minor tear of the cartilage surface.
WARNING: pain that is so severe that it inhibits you're walking or, if your pain persists for over 72 hours, please seek medical evaluation.
Click Next below to learn more about the symptoms of instability or "giving way" of the knee: