Question:

My knee was impacted on the inside 4 months ago. I felt a pop. There was no swelling and I was back to pain free activity a week later. The only thing I noticed was that I couldn’t sit on my feet because my knee hurt. I’ve been running 30+ miles a week for three months with no pain. I went to a lacrosse practice two days ago and felt a pop when running sideways. I continued to practice and did a track workout afterwards with barely noticeable pain. The next day my knee was sore and I had lost some mobility. It feels like all the muscles around my knee are super tight. It doesn’t hurt on contact though and there is no swelling. What could this be?

Answer:

Thank you for sending in your question about your knee pain. You shared some great details. We’ll do what we can to help, but please note that we are unable to make a specific comment on your condition without a physical exam.

There are several potential structures in the knee that could be involved. The medial and lateral collateral ligaments, medial meniscus and kneecap are all possibilities. The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage that sits between the two bones that make up the knee joint. When the meniscus becomes irritated, this can cause feelings of tightness or stiffness with deep knee bending or rotating, while being just fine with straight forward running (such as a track workout). The collateral ligaments are located on either side of the knee and can become irritated with side-to-side movements. They would also be affected by deep knee bending. The patella can also result in popping with side-to-side movements. Regardless, when a structure in the knee is aggravated, the body’s natural reaction is to tighten the muscles around it, as you describe.

In this case, you’d be best to get an in-person exam by a physical therapist to get a better idea of what is going on. They will be able to help you with a more definitive diagnosis and point you in the right direction with appropriate stretches and exercises. Even though it doesn’t bother you all the time, it is best to start taking care of it now so you can stay healthy and active for the long term!


**This reply is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, physical therapist, or other qualified health provider with a medical condition.