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Knee pain when flexing: causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The knee is the largest joint in the body and is constantly under stress, making it vulnerable to injury and degenerative diseases. It supports our body weight and comprises a complex set of elements that allow its proper functioning, such as bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and menisci.

Knee pain is widespread and occurs in all ages. It affects both sexes; when flexing the knee, pain may appear in the anterior or posterior area, and it is due to several causes. At FastlyHeal, we will explain in detail what are the causes of knee pain when flexing and, in addition, what is the ideal treatment for this condition.

Knee pain when flexing: symptoms and predisposing factors

Knee pain when flexing is typical among the reasons for consultation with the orthopedic surgeon. It is associated with the manifestation of particular symptoms such as:

  1. Crack in the knee.
  2. Knee pain at frequent rest.
  3. Pain when performing movements such as running or jumping.

Among the predisposing factors that are related to knee pain are:

  1. Obesity or overweight: wears the joint down substantially faster.
  2. Age: the older, the more degeneration of the elements that compose it.
  3. Occupation, profession, and sports: standing for long periods, wearing high-heeled shoes, and repetitive or high-impact movements can affect the joint to a greater degree.
  4. Lack of flexibility or muscle strength: weak (hypertrophic) muscles due to lack of physical activity or inappropriate protein intake provide less stability to the knee and make it more susceptible to injury.

Knee pain when flexing: common causes

There are more specific causes of knee pain when flexing according to the affected area:

In the anterior area or front of the knee, the most common causes of knee pain when flexing are:

  • Runner’s knee: this is also known as the “patellar-femoral stress syndrome” joint in athletes. There is a process of wear of the cartilage of the patella, causing pain and inflammation.
  • Quadriceps tendonitis: product of overload, inflammation is generated in the quadriceps tendon (the muscle that originates in the patella and continues to the power), associated with activities such as basketball, volleyball, soccer, and skiing. It is also known as quadriceps tendinopathy.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons [1], anterior knee pain is joint in healthy and young active people, especially in the female sex.

In the posterior area or behind the knee, the most common causes are:

  • Popliteal tendinitis is an uncommon pathology; it consists of the inflammation of the muscle called the popliteal. It is characterized by pain in the back of the knee that increases, especially when running.
  • Baker’s cyst: also known as a popliteal cyst. It is nothing more than a process of accumulation of fluid in the joint (synovium) behind the knee, precisely where the popliteal fossa is located. It is associated with degenerative inflammatory processes. Therefore, it is common in older adults; it manifests itself with stiffness and discomfort when flexing the knee.
  • Chondromalacia: also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome. The wear of the cartilage on the surface of the patellar joint is typical in people with overload or overpressure in the knee and in adults due to wear of the articular cartilage. It manifests itself with pain in the knee during flexion movements.

Treatment for knee pain when flexing

There are general measures that can be taken in case of knee pain; such as the case of the RICE protocol as explained by the Medical Journal of Costa Rica and Central America [2]: Rest of the limb, local ice, compression with elastic bandages or knee brace and elevation of the affected lower limb.

These general measures are combined with:

  1. Analgesics such as NSAIDs or opioids, depending on the circumstances that cause the pain and the underlying pathologies of the individual. The doctor will make the most appropriate decision according to the case; it is at the discretion of this to indicate or not physiotherapy or another type of local treatment such as, for example, injections with corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid, or platelet-rich plasma directly into the joint.
  2. The surge is aimed at more serious injuries where general measures failed to alleviate pain, or entry, in patients with severe injuries, either by arthroscopy or open surgery.

Tips and remedies for knee pain when flexing

  1. Maintaining an adequate weight reduces the daily impact on the knee and is the most effective method of pain relief.
  2. Exercise regularly. A strengthened muscle group gives better stability to the joint.
  3. Appropriate exercise. There are measures you can take before exercising: a good stretch before an intense workout is essential to avoid injuries; on the other hand, if you have limitations due to pain, you can perform low-impact activities for the knees, such as swimming. . It is always recommended that you receive guidance from a coach with experience in the area.
  4. Acupuncture: an ancient technique that can relieve pain.
  5. Electrotherapy, ultrasonotherapy, contact hyperthermia, thermotherapy, or mechanotherapy are non-invasive techniques under medical indication.
  6. Use of insoles or special footwear, especially in individuals with flat feet.

Exercises to improve knee pain when flexing

Training to improve balance and stability

  • Quadriceps Strengthening: Lying on your back, bend your knee with your foot on the ground and hold it there for 10 to 20 seconds while the other is extended. Repeat the movement 8-10 times, then switch limbs.
  • Hamstring Strengthening: Lying on your stomach, keeping your arms close to your body, lifting your leg with your knee extended, taking your thigh off the ground, hold for 5 seconds and repeat ten times with each leg.
  • Strengthening the calves: standing, with your hands on the wall, put both feet on tiptoe, with the knee without flexing, hold for 5 seconds, then rest the entire sole on the floor. Repeat ten times.

Flexibility and stretching exercises

  • Bring your heel toward your glute, with your knee fully bent and back, with your hand supporting your ankle. Hold on with the other hand if necessary.
  • Sitting on the floor, with your legs stretched out, try to touch your toes with the tips of your fingers. Hold 10 seconds and repeat 7-10 times.

Knee pain is joint in medical consultations, even though the causes are multiple. The use of natural medications and exercises can improve its annoying symptoms. Likewise, the traumatologist has the power to indicate pharmacological treatment if required or some other complementary therapy.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Knee pain when flexing: causes and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Bones, Joints and Muscles category .

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