If you’re experiencing chronic pain on the outside part of your knee, you may be wondering what’s causing it. It turns out that there are a few different things that could be causing your pain. In this post, we’ll take a look at why or how you may be dealing with it. We’ll also provide some tips for how to deal with this type of knee pain.
The lateral, or the outside part of the knee, is a big problem for people who love to do a lot of outdoor activities, like running.
You have four bones that support the knee or make up the knee. We’ve always thought of the knees as consisting of two bones because we know that there is one sitting on top of the other. The femur, which is the thigh bone, and the tibia, which is the calf bone. However, humans also have two other support bones that help the knee move.
One is the patella or the kneecap. The other one is a lesser recognized little bone called the fibula.
The fibula – a very unremarkable bone
A true story:
It was embarrassing. I was in kindergarten and trying to show off in front of my sister. I could jump up a stair – and I fell flat on my face. And to make things worse, I broke my fibula in the process.
At first, my teacher said it would just take a little walk-off to fix things. But as soon as I tried to pivot or do anything else that involved movement, the pain was excruciating. That’s when they discovered that I had broken my fibula.
The fibula is a very unremarkable bone. It’s a key to creating knee stability and allowing you to pivot in place. It creates a rotational motion at the calf and ankle. At the same time, it’s also a foundation for the hamstrings and a cluster of other ligaments and tendons.
If you have any kind of injury to your fibula, like ankle sprains or injuries to the upper, outside part of your knee, you might have pain on the outside of your knee. This is a problem for people who have had chronic issues in other places, like their ankle or their SI (sacroiliac) joint. If you have other issues on the side of your knee (IT-Band Syndrome), this might also apply to you.
In other words, all that attaches to the fibula will be affected, eventually. All these other structures need the fibula bone to be able to do their job well. Needless to say, it’s a really important bone.
The Lateral Meniscus and the Lateral Collateral Ligament
There are other structures related to the outside part of the knee. These are called the lateral meniscus and the lateral collateral ligament. They are less common than the medial meniscus and medial collateral ligament because they take more stress on the inside of the knee. The meniscus and ligament are attached.
What are meniscus and ligaments?
The meniscus is a structure that is similar to a ring around the calf bone. They act like a cup in which the thigh bone sits and moves. When you’re rotating or if you’re tilting your knee, the meniscus is what keeps things in place. Imagine it being a figure-eight ring that includes the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and your PCL (posterior cruciate ligament). You may have heard people talking about injuries like a torn ACL or PCL. This has a lot to do with stabilizing the meniscus.
How one injury may cause another
Other important structures in your knee get affected when there is an injury to the knee.
When you injure your knee, the chances are that the main injury will occur on the medial (inner) side. However, the lateral (outer) side of the knee can also be damaged, even if the initial injury didn’t happen there. There are several reasons for this.
One reason is that the meniscus (the C-shaped cartilage that cushions the knee joint) is attached to both the medial and lateral ligaments. So, if you damage the meniscus on one side, it can put stress on the other side as well.
Another reason is that when you injure your medial collateral ligament (MCL), it can cause your lateral collateral ligament (LCL) to work overtime in stabilizing the knee. This can lead to strain on the LCL and eventually result in an injury.
Another example is if someone has had many bad ankle sprains and their foot seems wobbly afterward, then they might have torn ligaments connecting them to one of two bones at either end: the fibula or tibia respectively. This can lead to being further affected by loose wobbliness near the lateral joints.
Most people with this type of injury recover nicely but some may require surgery nonetheless.
Therefore, if you’ve ever had ankle sprains or outside of the knee pain, by all means, come and have it checked out because a small problem today could translate into a bigger arthritic problem down the road. A lot of these things are very preventable and treatable.
Wellward offers a variety of options to help you get back on your feet. We provide exercise recommendations and changes, as well as medical treatments like pro remedies or PRP injections that can be used for non-surgical orthopedics without surgery being necessary.
It’s not just a coincidence that so many people are experiencing pain on the outside of their knees. There is a very specific reason this is happening – and it has to do with the way our knee structures work.
If you’re already feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. We can help. Schedule a discovery call with us and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about your specific situation and how we can help you get relief from your pain.
If you’re experiencing lateral knee pain and would like help getting to the bottom of it, we’d be happy to schedule a discovery call with you. During this call, we can discuss your symptoms in more detail and come up with a plan tailored specifically for you.
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