Sharp Pain in Knee Joint on Standing Up


Every now and then I get a different type of repetitive strain injury question on one of the forums that I moderate on the internet.  Today I received this message and I haven’t spoken about this in a long time, so I thought I’d share it with you.  Here’s the message:

Hi Julie, I’ve been experiencing pain in my right knee. Primarily in the back of the knee. After kneeling for a period of time it’s difficult to fully straighten and can be painful to walk and bear weight. Any help would be appreciated. Also, it is not continuous, it comes and goes.

If you have ever had this situation, or know someone who has pain deep in their knee joint upon standing up, please share this message.  Here’s my response:

Hi Jerry,

It’s important when you said it is not continuous, but that it comes and goes.  If there were something more involved happening it wouldn’t go, it would always be there. You are having a repetitive strain injury in a little muscle called popliteus.

The popliteus muscle originates on the outside of your thigh bone, right at the knee, and it then crosses over the joint and inserts into the inside of your shin bone, just below your knee joint.  When this muscle contracts and shortens you move your joint and your knee bends.

The problem is your knee bends in order for you to take very step you make, and to allow you to sit. There is a phenomenon called “muscle memory”  that will cause this muscle to stay shortened and when you then try to straighten your leg it puts pressure on both sides of the muscle (you will feel it as pain in the crease of your knee joint) and you won’t be able to straighten your leg because the muscle is just too short to stretch to its fullest length.

If you go to the Julstro website, you can read all about repetitive strain injuries and how the refer to areas that may be distant from the spasm. I suggest you also read the sections titled “Muscles and Pain” and “What’s Happening Exactly.” In this case, the pain is felt pretty much where it’s happening, but the site will give you a lot of good information as to the why and how this is happening.

The good news is, it isn’t serious and it can be self-treated so you can take are of it yourself. The most important thing to know is that it’s simple to self-treat this muscle, it’s just a matter of knowing where to press and how to move your leg to get the proper stretch so you can return it to its normal length. The website will give you some information on how to learn how to self-treat this muscle as well as just about every muscle in your body.

Wishing you well,


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