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Sports Medicine

Pinched nerve in knee?

12/28/2006

Question:

I`m a healthy 31 year old woman who excercises regularly. After hours of shovelling snow after a blizzard last week, I noticed a strange sensation near my right knee. When I squat down there is a burning sensation on the skin below and to the outside of my right knee. I also can`t get on my knees either.

My knees do hyperextend but I`ve never had any serious problems with them before. The other thing is that if I sit on the floor with my knees bent and lightly run my finger over the bump to the bottom outside of that knee, I get a small nerve popping sensation about 2 inches below the area.

None of this is really painful (except if I kneel) and the sensation feels a bit like rugburn.

If I don`t squat or kneel I feel no pain - went to the gym today and worked out on the elliptical with no problems.

I don`t have insurance and don`t want to go to the doctor if I don`t have to. But I also want to get back to my regular workouts and not do any further damage.

Any clue how long I should wait before going to the doctor? Also, can I continue to lightly excercise if I don`t feel pain? I have a small tens device - could using this help?

Thanks in advance!

Answer:

Netwellness is not a forum for diagnosing conditions, and I would always recommend that you seek evaluation by a physician for your problem.  That being said, bursitis and tendinitis could be causing your symptoms as well as a condition called iliotibial band syndrome in which the tendon portion of the iliotibial band which runs along the outside of the leg rubs over the bone at the knee.  Cartilage injuries within the knee joint can cause pain with bending or squatting that may not cause pain with walking or even using the elliptical machine.  It is reasonable to use a week or two worth of anti-inflammatory medication and if there is not resolution of your symptoms, head to the doctor.  I hope this helps.

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Response by:

Charles Webster, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati