The main muscle groups around the knee are the Quadriceps which are located on the front of the thigh. Their action is to straighten the knee and control the knee during activity. The hamstring muscles bend the knee joint and are on the back of the thigh attaching around the knee. The calf muscles originate at the back of the knee attaching at the back of the ankle as the achilles tendon. A tendon is the thick sinew where the muscle attaches to bone. Below the knee cap is the patella tendon which is commonly irritated due to overuse.
Muscles and tendons are prone to injury when they are overused. This is usually due to doing more activity than you are used to causing them to be strained. This means that the tissues have stretched but are not permanently damaged.
- Most simple strains can be managed at home without the need to see your GP. However, if there is significant pain and swelling, giving way of the knee or loss of control of the joint seek medical advice urgently.
- Your health care professional will listen to your history and examine the knee joint. Diagnosis is usually based on history and examination without the need for further investigations.
- Occasionally, if your symptoms persist, your clinician may arrange investigations such as an ultrasound scan.
- Simple strains can usually be managed at home with:
- Gradually increase your activity as able
- Regular exercise – Arthritis Research UK knee exercises – Please click here to read more about the benefits of regular exercise.
You can prevent future injury by:
- Increasing sports and activity levels gradually over time
- Weight loss if overweight – check here to see whether you are within a healthy weight range
Being overweight increases the likelihood of developing OA of the knee. It is estimated that 4 x your bodyweight goes through the knee when walking. So for every 10lbs you are overweight an extra 40 pounds is being exerted through the knee! Weight loss will help to relieve knee pain symptoms, improve function and quality of life.
- Replacing your sports trainers when necessary as worn trainers will affect the position of your knee & forces through it.
- You can also try lower-impact exercise such as cycling or swimming to improve your general health and fitness
www.nhs.uk/Conditions/knee-pain – general advice about the management of knee pain
www.knee-pain-explained.com – follow links to ‘muscle injuries’ for further information
https://www.nhsinform.Scot/injuries/muscle-bone-and-joint-injuries-problems – general advice about the management of knee pain