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Sports Medicine

Pain behind knee after hiking fall

02/02/2010

Question:

Went snowshoe hiking the other day and slipped, causing my left knee to bend under me in the normal way when kneeling or squatting, only it bent more, feeling overstretched. I noticed a slight click in the knee when walking right after (no immediate pain). Next day my knee was sore, front and back. I hiked again the next day and felt pain when I put pressure on the leg going up hills, again behind the knee.

Now, a few days later, I have pain behind the knee and down into the calf, which feels worse when I stand on my toes.

Can you suggest what`s going on? I`d like to get back to bike riding soon, but the knee hurts when I bend it a lot (on the rowing machine) and when I put pressure on the bike pedals. Most of the pain is behind the knee.

Answer:

If your knee symptoms continue to be sufficiently bothersome that they interfere with function, the best advice is to consult with your physician, who can perform a targeted history and physical examination, as well as determine if results from any imaging studies would change the initial management of your condition. However, if your symptoms have only been present for a few days and aren't worsening, you may or may not wish to wait a bit longer to see if improvement begins to occur, while you implement the usual generic treatment measures often referred to as "R.I.C.E." - Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation - and let your symptoms guide positions and activities.

A diagnosis - and then of course appropriate treatment - needs to be determined based on medical history, physical examination findings, and imaging studies if necessary, and cannot be made over the Internet. Although possible causes for your symptoms include a torn meniscus (cartilage) or a posterior cruciate ligament tear, only your doctor - or if necessary a sports medicine physician - can determine if these possible causes apply to your situation. 

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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