What is the cause of pain on the outer side of the knee?

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There isn’t just one answer to this question. In fact, there are several issues that can lead to pain on the outer side of your knee. 

People who have this type of pain aren’t alone. Medical studies indicate that about 40 million Americans have reported feeling some form of knee pain. Determining the source of your pain is the first step toward treating it effectively, and a physical therapist can help you determine the cause of the pain on the outer side of your knee. These specialists can also provide effective treatment for the issues that cause this type of pain. 

Four conditions that can cause pain on the outer side of your knee

Among the issues that can cause pain on the outer side of the knee, these four are the most common: 

  1. Lateral meniscus tears — The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage in your knee. It’s found between the ends of the thighbone and shinbone, and the lateral meniscus is the part that’s on the outer side of the knee. This injury often occurs in athletes whose knees do lots of twisting. It can also occur after an impact to the knee or as a result of age-related cartilage degeneration. 
  1. Lateral collateral ligament (LCL) injury — This ligament is found on the outside of the knee. Like the better-known anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the LCL helps stabilize the knee joint during movement. A blow to the inside of the knee can cause damage to the LCL. Landing wrong after a jump or twisting the knee outward suddenly can also lead to an LCL injury. 
  1. Iliotibial (IT) band tendinitis — The IT band runs from the pelvis, along the side of the thigh and crosses over the outer edge of the knee. IT band tendinitis occurs when this structure becomes inflamed. Typically, this issue is often the result of doing too much running, cycling or other activities involving the knee. 
  1. Knee arthritis — Knee cartilage can degrade as you age, which can lead to knee osteoarthritis. You can feel pain from arthritis when the lateral meniscus is included in the degraded cartilage in your knee. Knee injuries can also increase your risk of knee osteoarthritis later in life. 

Find help for pain on the outer side of your knee at Armor Physical Therapy

Ready to find effective help for the pain on the outer side of your knee? Our physical therapists at Armor Physical Therapy have the experience to help you get the treatment you need. We can do a free screening of your knee to pinpoint the issue causing your pain. Additionally, our physical therapists excel at building individualized therapy plans. These plans are designed to reduce knee pain using therapy methods like: 

Contact us today for more information about our treatment options for knee pain or to schedule your initial appointment. 

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