Female Body

Pain Behind Knees – Diagnosis and Treatment


Pain behind knees is especially prevalent amongst women, not sparing even the most active persons. Read on to find out more about the condition.

How It Occurs

Runner’s Knee is the general term coined for pain behind knees. When you bend your knee, the back of your kneecap slides over the cartilage. Improper movement of the muscles and the bone causes the kneecaps grind against the thigh bones. Over time, your patella deteriorates, resulting in the pain behind knees.

Sometimes it can be a common sports injury resolved by a few days’ of rest. Otherwise, it could be a result of misalignment in the knee, for which resting would not suffice.



Besides pain behind knees, do you feel any grating or cracking when flexing your knee? The ache may become acute after sitting for some time or when performing strenuous activities for your knees, such as prolonged periods of standing. Don’t hesitate to seek medical attention when the pain behind knees escalates or persists over a few days.


Patient Demography 

Runner’s Knees can affect a large majority of the population. Below are some popular factors:

Age – sometimes our bones expand too quickly during puberty. This means that muscles around the knees are stretched so taut that they pull at our kneecaps, resulting in pain behind knees.  

Sex – women share a largely different anatomy from men that makes us more prone to Runner’s Knees. With a wider pelvis, more force is exerted on our knees as our thigh bones are slanted inwards through a wider angle. Women also have weaker ligaments and thigh muscles to hold together and support the joints. According to a scientific study by the University of Texas, women suffer a higher risk of Runner’s Knee during particular periods of their menstrual cycle, as estrogen (a female sex hormone) increases the likelihood of knee ligament injury.

High heels – a higher feet arch shifts your weight forward, concentrating it more on your knees and raising the risk of Runner’s Knees.   

Athleticism – running and squatting motions increases exertion of the kneecaps, hence people who are more active are more likely to feel pain behind knees.   

Arthritis – a disease of the knees that grows more common with age


Treatment – Heat vs. Cold

When do you use which? The rule of thumb is that heat therapy should never be administered to open wounds or swollen areas, while cold therapy reduces inflammation. But with Runner’s Knees, one should never opt for ice unless your knee is swollen in the case of an injury. It will only worsen the pain behind knees, as they are trigger points on your body, just like your neck and lower back.

Heat therapy, on the other hand, drives blood circulation. It helps relax your muscles, and has no fixed application period. Examples include saunas, and heat patches like KneeHeat

All in all, Runner’s Knees are usually treated with heat therapy, but what’s more important is to go with your own preferences. If you dislike heat, then switch to ice instead!

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