A Most Curious Pain in the Knee
December 29, 2018 5:17 AM   Subscribe

After walking 15-20 miles over the past couple of days, I've developed a pain in my knee which doesn't resemble any sort of joint pain that I've had in the past. The pain happens only when I'm pulling my back leg forward during walking - basically the coloured leg in frame 4 to 7 of this walk cycle. If I put my leg in the frame 7 position from the front, there's no pain. There's no pain in any other position. There's only pain when I move from the frame 4 position to the frame 7 position. What might be the cause of this pain?

The pain is on the inside front of the knee.

I'm guessing it's some kind of blistering or inflammation(?) in the knee. If it doesn't go away in a couple of weeks, I'll visit a doctor. Right now, I'm mostly curious as to what it might be.
posted by clawsoon to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
I'd suggest visiting a doctor (IANAD!) but I did have a similar problem a number of years ago. It was a small broken piece of cartilage rubbing against the tendon. It eventually dissolved, but it took a while.
posted by pangolin party at 6:50 AM on December 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

IANAD, but I Am A Serious Distance Runner.

What type of shoes were you wearing during these 15-20 miles? Anytime my trainers start their decomposition I get a weird knee pain which immediately goes away once I get new footwear.

With that said, if you are not used to that much activity/walking, it could be due to weak quad muscles that are placing extra strain on tendons surrounding your knee due to the increased activity. I'd recommend stretching, hydration and to scale back a little but not stop activity. You also might try a little ice and anti inflammatory meds or to take a spoonful of turmeric.
posted by floweredfish at 7:11 AM on December 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

It would sound a little like runner's knee, except when I had that, it was pretty clearly the top of the knee, and would also hurt when straightening after sitting a long time.

In any case, what I learned from that experience was foam rolling on the IT bands.
posted by batter_my_heart at 8:08 AM on December 29, 2018

At least for me, if the pain stops when the movement stops, it’s a strong sign of IT Band Syndrome. It’s a common overuse issue and rehabbing it is fairly easy.

First time it scared the hell out of me though!
posted by AaRdVarK at 10:05 AM on December 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

The location and description sound less IT and more adductor.

If you’re not used to this kind of walking, possibly have suboptimal footwear and don’t have a gait well adapted to prolonged walking you may well have tweaked a stabiling muscle group. Like your adductor Magnus which helps squeeze your knees together but also helps your knees stay under your hips.

In a sporting context sharp pain at a muscle insertion or origin can be uncomfortable but is usually treated the same way - rest for a few days and investigation for repetitive movements and/or functional movement patterns that need technical intervention.

I would do a couple things though - make an appointment for a few days from now with a PT. Really, it’s money well spent. If the pain subsided by then then you have an opportunity for prevention. If it doesn’t then you get seen by someone licenced and insured to treat soft tissue injuries.

More immediately - put your feet up and take a load off. And while you’re there check your shoes for wear. And write a few notes for later - memories are terrible.
posted by mce at 11:47 AM on December 29, 2018

Sounds like what I had, which was a "deranged knee." I ended up getting physio for it and they gave me exercises that made a huge difference. soft tissue was getting caught in the joint. there are a number of stretches you can do online. but yeah. go see a physical therapist ASAP. I waited longer than I should have.
posted by evilmonk at 12:01 PM on December 29, 2018

Best answer: Came in to second aardvark. Tight IT band and quads always the culprit for me. I stretch both and also mobilise with a lacrosse ball.

Genuinely thought i had seriously injured myself but happily not - and now if i run/walk/jump a lot i know to get on the stretch/mobilise routine in these areas straight away so i dont experience discomfort/pain.

A physical therapist once told me that when you have pain, have a look at the joint before (hip) the joint after (ankle) and the connecting bits as they are often the culprits. Ive solved an amazing number of issues this way without medical intervention.

Hope yours is similarly easy.
posted by eastboundanddown at 2:50 PM on December 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: A physical therapist once told me that when you have pain, have a look at the joint before (hip) the joint after (ankle) and the connecting bits as they are often the culprits.

Good call, eastboundanddown. I was driving my leg back at the hip joint farther than I usually do when walking, and that seems to have been the source of the problem. Pain is gone now.
posted by clawsoon at 2:08 PM on January 28, 2019

« Older Looking for bumper/bull bar recommendations for a...   |   shopping suggestions for a piece of wearable... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.