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Popliteus Injury

The popliteus is a small muscle at the back of the knee, that is often overlooked. When injured, it can cause pain at the back of the knee, as well as other symptoms. 

What is Popliteus Injury?

The popliteus is a small muscle located at the back of your knee. It is crucial in unlocking the knee from a fully straightened position, as well as being essential for everyday activities such as walking. It is also vital for stability around the knee and controlling the shearing forces around the knee.

Popliteus Strain or Tendinopathy is when the popliteus is overused and causes pain. A more serious condition is Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome (PAES), which is a rare vascular disease where the muscles and tendons of the knee compress the popliteal artery, causing a restriction of blood flow to the lower leg, and damaging the artery itself.    

Popliteus Injury

Signs and Symptoms of Popliteus Injury

Patients who have a Popliteus Injury, such as Popliteus Tendinopathy, can experience symptoms such as:

  • pain at the back and outside of the knee
  • knee tenderness
  • tightening of hamstrings
  • difficulty in moving or extending the knee joint
  • may be a crackling sound when moving

Individuals who suffer from Popliteus Artery Entrapment Syndrome will have similar symptoms, but may also present with:

  • pain, numbness, cramping or tiredness in the calf when exercising
  • leg swelling
  • pain when walking

Causes of Popliteus Injury

Most frequently reported causes of Popliteus Injury are:

  • History of sudden harm or shock to the knee
  • Muscle stretch due to heavy activities and pulling
  • Putting weight on one side of the arm

The associated risk factors includes a history of road traffic accidents, muscle injuries, dynamic lifestyle (such as athletes or individuals who perform hard labor activities).

For Popliteus Artery Entrapment Syndrome, causes can be congenital or over time, as exercising and training can lead to an enlarged calf muscle. 

Statistics and Epidemiology related to Popliteus Injury

This disorder is relatively rare (approximately 1 in 10,000 individuals).

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How MHC Treatment Options Can Help Condition Popliteus Injury

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