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Do you know when knee pain is not knee pain?

Often we think about knee pain as a knee cap pain or knee joint pain. In other words, something to do with bone or meniscus rubbing together, or not being in properly aligned.

So are there any muscles that can contribute to, or feel like knee pain?

There are a number of trickster muscles that feel like knee pain. Different muscles can be the root of pain in different areas:

Front of the Knee

Three of the quadricep muscles can “refer” (be the source of) pain to the knee. Vastus lateralis to the outside of the knee, rectus femoris to the knee cap, and vastus medialis to the inside of the knee. There is a also a special trigger point occurring on occasion in rectus femoris which mimics patellofemoral pain beautifully!

Side of the Knee

Believe or not, one of your gluteus muscles can be the cause of pain on the outside of you knee. Gluteus minimus has a trigger point referral pattern which extends down from hip to the knee and sometimes down to the ankle.

On the inside of the knee vastus medialis as mentioned above, and sartorius are fairly common sources of pain. Vastus medialis trigger points can be a source of knee collapse, particularly in the oblique fibres.

Back of the knee

Popliteus is a muscle in the back of the knee which when contracted, takes the knee out of lock. When this muscle shortens or has trigger points, it can be a significant point of pain.

In summary, there are a lot of muscles around the knee which can cause unnecessary pain. Some of these can be a product of another injury, or could be part of an overall picture of dysfunction.

If you have knee pain, please give Ash a call on (02) 5310 6259 for an appointment. You can also book online at



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