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Sports Medicine

Swelling and really bad pain behind knee



i was wereing my knee brace beacuse my knee was hurting. i would wear it to school and work. i got home from work and was sitting on the couch then my leg started to tingle and go numb. i got up to walk on it. it went un numb for 5 minutes then it whent numb from below my knee to my toes. it then swelled 3 times bigger then my other leg. the swelling whent down overnight but started again the next day with numbnes . i went to the doctor and she looked me over. i then whent to get a ultra sound to check if it was a blood clot. it was not a blood clot and the swelling has gone away but now i have lots of pain . i cant exerice with out the back of my knee hurting lots. when i straightend my leg for a long time it hurts bad. it does not hurt as much to walk but it hurts very bad when exercising. know one could tell me why my foot and leg swelled up. do you know what might of cause the swelling and why it hurts to exerice even when i wear a knee brace?


For your persisting symptoms, you should follow-up with your doctor ASAP, who may or may not refer you to a musculoskeletal physician specialist.

Sometimes, repeating an ultrasound test (venous doppler) will reveal a blood clot which didn't show up on a prior study, which could be due, for example, to the prior study being of "suboptimal quality", or due to a clot not being large enough to show up on the initial ultrasound, or due to a clot being "higher up" than suspected (such as in the groin or pelvis).

Alternatively, there could be an "internal derangement" within your knee (such as a torn cartilage), which a physical exam of your knee could suggest, although an MRI scan of the knee may be necessary for further clarification.

Another possibility is the pain and numbness could be "referred" into your leg by a condition such as a "pinched nerve" in your lumbar spine. Although leg swelling wouldn't be typical with this, it could still occur as a "reflex response" to severe pain, for example, if your symptoms were due to a "complex regional pain syndrome."

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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