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Sports Medicine

Knee pain after standing for long periods

07/10/2006

Question:

Since time on active duty military, have occasional/recurring problems with knee pain after standing for long periods. Am ok if I am moving about, walking, dancing, etc. but if I have to stand relatively still for long periods (or sit for long periods, e.g., on a bus where I can`t easily move) experience pain in the knee, and then sometimes have difficulty maintaining weight on the leg when the knee is bent (e.g., walking up or down stairs). Feels like needles behind the kneecap.

Answer:

Your symptoms may be due to patellofemoral pain - which means pain involving or around the kneecap.  This has several different causes, including arthritis, tendinitis, and abnormal "tracking" of the patella in the bony groove at the end of the femur (thighbone).  Patellofemoral pain may be due to imbalances in muscle strength and/or flexibility - not only at the knee, but also possibly at the hip and/or ankle.  A leg length difference, or one foot which pronates (flattens) more than the other, are other potential causes for patellofemoral pain.

Alternatively, if you've previously injured your knee, your pain may relate to a torn ligament or cartilage (meniscus) in your knee. Your knee pain could also be "referred" from your hip or lower back.

Evaluation by your primary care physician or a sports-oriented physician will help determine the cause and best treatment for your knee pain.

You may also wish to consider reading some of the articles which result when you do a search within the NetWellness website using the terms "patellofemoral pain", "anterior knee pain", and "chondromalacia," although again it isn't certain that this is the cause of your symptoms.

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Response by:

Brian L Bowyer, MD Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University