LIFESTYLE Where does knee pain come from?


Everyone who is active in sports comes into contact with knee pain sooner or later. Most of the time these are not serious and go back to normal on their own. Rest and heat are the first helpful measures. But what if the pain is localized in the back of the knee? That’s rather unusual. Pain in the back of the knee can have several causes, which we want to explain in this article. 

However, before we get into the individual causes, we must first understand how the knee works, what its function is in the body, and how it is constructed. In this way, we can better understand the causes of the pain and counteract it accordingly, so that we are fit again quickly.

Digression: the knee

The knee performs a variety of functions in the body and is one of the largest joints. Without the knee, there are problems with walking, standing, hopping, and running. Actually, the knee is involved in every movement of the lower body. The knee is a so-called hinge joint that is stabilized by ligaments, bones, and muscles between the thigh and tibia. In addition, it cushions the movement.

The anatomy of the joint consists of the femur, tibial plateau, patellar tendon, which runs along the front side, and the kneecap. The medial meniscus and the lateral meniscus are located on the shin bone, which gives the knee stability, support, and protection. Finally, the cruciate ligament encloses the joint.

As you can see, the knee joint is a very complex joint and it is not surprising that it is very susceptible to injury or overload. Therefore, if you have knee problems, you should take a holistic view of the knee and adjust the training and stress to the function of the joint accordingly.

Pain in the back of the knee Causes

Around 20 million people in Germany currently suffer from knee pain. Pain in the hollow of the knee often occurs after sitting for too long. This is often due to overuse or as a result of an injury. Pain, especially in the back of the knee, can be a problem with the meniscus. If the pain continues to radiate, it may be due to wear and tear. In the following, we will go into more detail about the reasons and causes of knee pain in the back of the knee.

Baker’s cyst

One reason for pain in the back of the knee can be a Baker’s cyst. A typical symptom is a feeling of tension in the hollow of the knee caused by an accumulation of fluid. If the fluid from the small bursa enters the large bursa of the knee joint, this cyst forms and causes swelling. The Baker’s cyst can either be treated surgically or an attempt is made to dissolve it by bringing the knee back into extension more often. Because frequent sitting favors the baker’s cyst and thus the pain in the hollow of the knee.

Knee pain often occurs in the back of the knee when the meniscus is heavily loaded. Meniscus damage or tears are not uncommon in athletes or after accidents. The injury must be treated surgically and the knee joint must be spared after this time. A milder form of meniscus injury is a contusion. This is less of a concern and after a rest or rest of the knee joint of 3 to 4 weeks, the knee can bear weight again.

Another injury that can lead to pain in the back of the knee is a cruciate ligament tear. This injury is particularly common in football and is caused by overstretching the knee joint. A cruciate ligament tear is also surgically repaired and treated with physiotherapy. Here the stress break is a little longer: the cruciate ligament needs up to 6 months to fully regenerate.

Pain from overexertion

Pain in the hollow of the knee can appear as a result of overloading the joint. If the knee is particularly heavily loaded, signs of wear and tear can lead to pain.

Misalignments and growth-related causes such as bow legs and knock knees can also cause pain in the back of the knee. Here the pain occurs either on the inside or outside of the hollow of the knee and indicates a permanent deformity. This causes tendinitis due to the overloading of the muscles. Bending and straightening the knee becomes painful due to the pressure exerted on the tendon.

What you can do about it

The causes of pain in the back of the knee are varied, but they can be treated well. In the case of pain that is not caused by an injury or does not require surgical treatment, you can prevent it yourself and do something to prevent it.

Protection of the knee joint

It is often sufficient to protect the knee joint. A few days, weeks or months depending on the degree of injury or pain level is enough. Cooling is very helpful for inflammation and overstimulation can be treated with heat. If you have pain in the back of the knee, it is best to leave sport or strain on the knee for the time being. If the pain doesn’t go away or even gets worse, a visit to the doctor is a good decision.

The right workout

Modern man moves against his nature these days. Sitting for a long time, incorrect posture, and one-sided movement patterns promote knee pain. Targeted training and stretching help to restore a healthy musculoskeletal system and prevent knee pain.

One of the main reasons why pain in the back of the knee occurs in the first place is weak muscles, tendons, and fascia. Overvoltage compresses the knee joint and the body reacts to the pain signal. Stabilization exercises for the knee and fascia roll massages help to relieve the pain.

Physiotherapy & pain therapy

In addition to exercises and stretching exercises, manual therapies in the form of physiotherapy and pain therapy also help. Here the tension in the muscles and fascia is released and brought back to normal. This relieves the joint and relieves the pain. Most of the time, a combination of targeted training and physical therapy is promising therapy.


The knee is a very complex joint, both in its function and in its anatomy. If you take preventative care of your knee joint with the right training, you minimize the risk of knee pain in the hollow of the knee. Also, make sure you have a healthy movement pattern. If you sit a lot in everyday life, stretch your knees to counteract inflammation and misalignments.

If you already have an injury or problems with your knee, you can use various exercises and therapies to relieve your pain yourself. You can do this through fascia rolling and special stabilizing exercises.


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