Where does my pain come from? Can I still use my knee? How bad is it?

Outside of Knee Pain

Outside of knee pain can be caused by various factors. It can be due to wear and tear, acute trauma, or chronic overuse.
Most pain outside of the knee can be easily treated using ice packs and exercise modifications. However, the treatment and medication given are always based on the cause of pain.

Causes of Outside of Knee Pain

  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome
    ITB is the inflammation of the iliotibial band, which is a strong, wide tissue band that stretches from below the external knee to just above the hip joint. ITB syndrome is typical to cyclists and distance runner, and usually causes pain early in the ride or run. As the athlete warms up, the pain diminishes, as well.
    Running outside - knee pain in progress
    Sometimes, the pain radiates down the calf or up to the thigh and hip. Most athletes who experience ITB syndrome treat their knees with heat packs prior to exercises and with ice packs right after. Stretching before and after is also important in order to minimize the pain.

    Like most activity-related knee injuries, Iliotibial Band Syndrome is treated basically with R.I.C.E. or Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

  • Lateral Meniscus Tear
    Outside of knee pain can also be experienced by a person with a lateral meniscus injury. It is mostly a result of a twisting motion in the knee area while the foot is planted firmly on the ground. The person will feel immediate pain when this happens.
    Most of the time, a lateral meniscus tear will require microsurgery and a 1 to 3-month break from doing sports or strenuous physical activities.
  • Osteoarthritis
    For an older person, outside of knee pain can also be due to osteoarthritis. Some athletes who have had knee injuries in the past can also suffer from this condition. Osteoarthritis is a joint disorder caused by wear and tear and aging. This condition can cause stiffness of the outer knee, as well as pain when standing and walking. Typically, physical therapy is the initial treatment prescribed, but for more severe conditions, injections are provided for temporary relief. If these methods are still proven ineffective, total knee replacement is sometimes recommended.

Knee pain, like any other pain, has varying intensity. It can be very painful if you have a severe knee injury while it could be mild and bearable if the injury is minor. Nevertheless, an outside of knee pain must be consulted to a knee specialist, especially when you have done initial treatment and find no improvement within 3 days.