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Lateral Knee Pain

Lateral knee pain has many causes and depends mostly on the symptoms experienced (pain vs. stiffness vs. clicking etc.), the mechanism of injury and the exact location.

Common causes of lateral knee pain

Iliotibial band syndrome is the most common cause of knee pain without trauma. People experience a gradual increase in pain on the outside of the knee which is usually related to running. Tenderness on the outside of the knee just above the knee joint is most common.

Lateral Meniscus Tear can be from trauma (twisting on a planted foot), or from overuse (degenerative tear in people middle aged and up). Pain is felt at extreme ranges of motion (in full extension or flexion), or with weight bearing rotation. Sometime swelling, clicking and locking are experienced depending on the type and severity of the tear.

Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) Tear/ Sprain is also from trauma. This can be from getting hit from the inside of the leg, forcing it outwards. Pain is felt with movement and touching of the ligament right beside the joint line.

Popliteus Tendinitis is felt on the outside and back of the knee. This usually has a gradual onset and is also associated with running. The popliteus is responsible for rotation control of the knee. Conservative treatment consisting of manual therapy is the best treatment.

Tibial-Fibular Subluxation can be from a sudden injury of the ankle. The fibula is the small bone on the outside of the shin, and is closely related to ankle movement. Abrupt pain over the bump on the outside of the knee is characteristic of this condition. Manual treatment is most effective.

Other causes include:

  • Biceps femoris insertional tendinitis
  • Capsular Sprain
  • Personal Nerve Entrapment
  • Lateral Gastrocnemius Tear

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