Knee joints are a very important part of the musculoskeletal system. Every day they have to withstand enormous loads, and given their superficial location and structural features, the risk of damage and various diseases is very high. Most often people complain of pain in the knee joints themselves, which are caused by arthrosis or arthritis, but no less dangerous is the situation when it begins to disturb the pain under the knee. Such discomfort can be caused by serious causes and markedly worsen the quality of human life. So let's understand why the leg in the knee joint can hurt.
Why does my leg ache under my knee?
Immediately to determine why a person is concerned about pain under the knee is very difficult, since this area of the human body is complicated. There is a large number of anatomical structures, the damage of each of which can be accompanied by pain. So, the pain behind the knee can be associated with damage:
- structures of the knee joint,
- of the muscular skeleton of the knee joint,
- extraarticular ligament,
- of the blood vessels,
- lymph nodes,
- of nerve fibers,
- of the adipose tissue of the popliteal fossa.
The complexity of diagnosis makes use of such methods of examination as radiography, computer and magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound. Especially informative is MRI, which allows you to clearly consider the soft tissue and find the cause of pain.
The popliteal fossa contains a large number of important anatomical structures
Reasons for knee arthritis
As a rule, diseases of the knee joints are accompanied by pain along the anterior surface of the knee, but some ailments are manifested precisely by painful sensations in the popliteal fossa.
This benign cystic formation, which consists of a dense connective tissue membrane, and inside is filled with viscous jelly-like contents. Anatomically associated with the capsule of the knee joint, so it is located nearby and most often in the popliteal fossa.
Women are more likely to suffer, but the prognosis is favorable. Education never degenerates into a malignant tumor, although it can bring a lot of inconvenience to its owner. Completely get rid of Baker's cysts can only be surgically done. But it is important to know that the cyst often recurs, so sometimes it may take 2-3 operations or more to get rid of it.
Symptoms of Baker's cyst:
- formation is round or oval;
- the skin over it is not changed, the surface is smooth;
- feels soft, soft, elastic;
- as a rule, pain is absent, but sometimes painful pain can occur;
- is located in the popliteal fossa;
- sizes vary - from inconspicuous to 3-5 cm in diameter;
- if the cyst reaches a large size, it can limit the amplitude of movements in the knee joint.
Baker cyst, or popliteal hygroma
Knee meniscus cyst
This is a fluid-filled formation in the thickness of the cartilage tissue of meniscus knee joints. This pathology often affects young and active people, athletes. Its cause is considered to be increased load on the cartilaginous intraarticular tissue.
The main symptom of the disease is pain that occurs on the lateral surface of the knees and behind. Painful sensations are disturbed at movements in knees and are absent in a status of rest. In some cases, there may be a slight swelling in this zone.
If you do not start treatment, then the cyst of the meniscus can cause a secondary deforming arthrosis of the knee joint. Completely get rid of education can only be surgically.
Knee joint meniscus cyst
Knee meniscus injuries
If pains occur under the knee and they begin after some kind of trauma, then you need to think about damaging the back of the lateral or medial knee meniscus. Also, the meniscus rupture may occur as a result of inflammatory or degenerative-dystrophic processes. Treatment of such an injury is only prompt.
Diseases of the periarticular soft tissues
Pain sensations at the back of the knee may be associated with inflammation, overexertion or damage to the muscles, ligaments and synovial bags of the popliteal fossa. For example, often ligaments under the knee after a long walk, heavy physical labor, a prolonged stay on their feet.
In this area, tendinitis and bursitis can develop, which are caused by aseptic or infectious inflammation. In this case, there is acute or pulling pain, which appears or increases with the load. If the inflammation is purulent, there is redness of the skin under the knee, it becomes hot to the touch, edema is formed, the function of the joint is impaired. Symptoms of general malaise, such as fever, may also occur.
Treatment of pain under the knee of this nature, as a rule, conservative. To begin with, it is necessary to provide complete rest to the aching leg. To this end, you can use special orthoses. Assign anti-inflammatory and analgesic therapy, with infectious inflammation - antibiotics. After the elimination of acute inflammation, medical gymnastics and physiotherapy procedures begin. Prognosis for tendinitis and bursitis of the knee is favorable.
Several tendons are attached to the knee joint, which, if inflamed or stretched, is accompanied by pain.
If infection occurs in the popliteal zone, purulent inflammation of the fatty tissue may occur. Lymph nodes can also be drawn into the pathological process. In such a situation, under the knee, you can feel painful enlarged lymph nodes. Skin over them blushes, develops edema. Treatment is conservative, with the help of anti-inflammatory and antibacterial therapy. In case of inefficiency, surgical sanitation of a purulent focus begins.
The popliteal artery and vein pass through the popliteal fossa. Accordingly, the pain can be caused by the lesion of one of these anatomical structures. The most common cause of pain under the knee of a vascular nature are:
Venous stasis due to the failure of valvular valves is often accompanied by pain in the legs. She, as a rule, appears under the knee and falls on the shin. Painful, appears in the evening or after a long stay on his feet. It is accompanied by swelling of the lower extremities. With superficial varicose veins, it is possible to consider enlarged venous nodes under the skin or a vascular network, the preferred location of which is the popliteal fossa. In the case of varicose veins, there may not be external signs.
Popliteal vein thrombosis
This is a fairly rare pathology that can occur with venous inflammation( thrombophlebitis), with a clotting disorder( thrombophyllia), or as a complication of varicose veins. In patients with thrombosis, patients complain of intense pain in the popliteal region. For several hours, the leg becomes dark cherry or cyanotic, hot to the touch. It strongly swells, sometimes increases 2 or more times in diameter.
Treatment can be both conservative( injected with anticoagulants, antibiotics) and surgical. If you do not start therapy on time, the patient may be left without a leg due to gangrene development.
Embolism of the popliteal artery
Interlacing the lumen of the arterial vessel with emboli is not uncommon. By localization of thromboembolism, the lesion of the lower extremities is on the 4th place after the coronary, cerebral arteries and aorta. The cause is mainly embolic diseases of the heart( rheumatism, septic endocarditis, ciliary and other types of arrhythmias, heart defects, artificial heart valves).
In the case of embolism of the popliteal artery, there is a sharp and very intense pain. The leg becomes pale and cold to the touch. On the arteries of the foot, one can not feel the pulse. If help is not provided within 2-3 hours, then gangrene develops, which requires limb amputation. The treatment is mostly surgical.
Embolism of the popliteal artery and its consequences
Popliteal artery aneurysm
This is the protrusion of the artery wall to the side. It can be both an inborn defect, and acquired due to damage to the arterial wall, for example, an atherosclerotic process. If an aneurysm is present, then in the popliteal fossa, you can feel a soft and elastic formation that pulsates. Pain occurs when an aneurysm reaches a large size, because of which the surrounding nerves and other structures are squeezed.
If an aneurysm is found, it must be surgically removed. Otherwise, it can burst at any time and cause extensive and fatal bleeding.
The tibial nerve passes through the bottom of the popliteal fossa, the damage of which can be accompanied by pain in this zone. The main diseases of the nerve:
- tumor( neurinoma),
- trauma( bruise, pinching, stretching, rupture),
In addition to pain, with lesion of the tibial nerve, there is a violation of the sensitivity of the skin of the shin and foot, a decrease in tendon reflexes, a paresis of the foot, a decrease in muscle strength and atrophy of the calf muscles. Treatment depends on the cause.
Thus, the pain under the knee can be caused not by one dozen reasons. In each case, to determine the etiology of pain is very important, as this directly affects the treatment and its success.
- Why does the leg ache under the knee
- Reasons for the pathology of the knee
- Diseases of the periarticular soft tissues
- Vascular diseases
- Nerve damage