Pain in the outside part of the knee is common with many sports and activities. It is also called "Lateral Knee Pain." The pain can come from several parts of the knee.
The most common causes of pain on the outside of the knee are:
Iliotibial Band Syndrome or ITB syndrome occurs when there is extra friction from the IT Band rubbing over the lateral condyle of the knee. Tightness in the ITB can also cause the knee cap to pull to the outside. Both of these issues can cause pain in the knee.
The ITB should glide over the outside bump on the condyle with bending and straightening of the knee.
The Iliotibial Band is a long thick piece of connective tissue the runs from the outside of the hip, to the knee. The Gluteus Maximus and the TFL attach to it at the hip region. The IT Band attaches to the outside of the knee cap and top of the fibula bone at the knee region.
Lateral Patellofemoral pain or knee cap pain is one of the most common causes of pain in the knees. This type of knee pain happens when the knee cap rides on the outside part of its groove in the knee.
The best way to correct lateral knee cap pain on your own is with strength exercises. Strengthening the Quadriceps, Gluteus Medius, and Hip External Rotators can help to improve the mechanics of the knee cap in the groove. Try these exercises.
Knee arthritis can cause pain with weight bearing activity such as walking or stairs. Arthritis in the lateral compartment or the lateral patellofemoral joint can cause pain in the outside part of the knee.
Arthritis is inflammation in a joint that lead to a breakdown in the cartilage. This may occur from excessive force over time on the outside of the knee. The most common type of arthritis affecting outside knee pain is Osteoarthritis.
Exercises for the quadriceps and gentle range of motion exercises may help to calm symptoms of knee arthritis. A stationary cycle can be helpful to maintain range of motion and limit the amount of weight and force on the knee while getting some exercise.
Anti-inflammatory medications may also be helpful with arthritis in the knee.
In severe cases, and knee joint replacement or arthroplasty may be needed. With a knee replacement, and orthopedic surgeon removes the damage cartilage on the joint surfaces. They place artificial surfaces in the knee to allow for movement and walking.
Click to Learn about Robot-Assisted Partial Knee Resurfacing.
A lateral meniscus tear can cause outside knee pain. Meniscus tears usually occur with trauma but can be degenerative over time as well.
There are 2 menisci in the knee. The lateral meniscus is in the outer part of the knee. A tear in the meniscus can limit knee range of motion and stability.
Strength and functional training exercises can help to improve pain and return to full function in most people. Physical therapy can help to customize exercises to improve function after a meniscus tear.
If pain persists, surgery may be needed. Surgery for the lateral meniscus may involve a partial meniscectomy or a meniscus repair. In some cases, a meniscus replacement can be performed.
The Lateral Collateral ligament or LCL is a ligament on the outside of the knee. It helps to stabilize the knee and limit Varus forces. As with most knee ligament tear, the LCL tears typically occur with trauma to the knee that forces the knee into a Varus or Bowlegged position.
Partial of minimal tears in the LCL can heal with time and physical therapy. A knee brace can help to limit forces and allow for healing.
In severe cases, surgery is needed to repair an LCL tear.
If you have pain on the outside of the knee, or any issue with the muscles, ligaments, or tendons of the knee, the Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute can help. To schedule with a JOI Knee Doctor, call (904)JOI-2000, schedule online, or click the link below. To see a JOI Rehab Therapist is 1 of our 12 locations, call (904)858-7045.