When knee pain isn’t from the knee

Is my knee pain coming from my quads?

In a recent study on young athletes, it was found that there may be a link between anterior knee pain (pain in the front of the knee) and trigger points in the upper thigh/quadriceps muscles.

Trigger points are defined as areas of muscle which are hyper-irritable, with a palpable nodule, or lump, in a taut band of tissue. When the nodule is compressed, it can cause a fasciculation or twitching response, and often refers pain in a pattern associated with that particular point. 

In other words, it’s a “knot” that when you squeeze or press it, it will often twitch, and you feel pain some place else in addition to that spot. 

For this example, deeply massaging a point in the quadriceps muscle may cause a painful sensation in the anterior knee. But when that trigger point is worked out, pain reduction is noted in the knee. That’s exactly what this study was looking at. 

It’s important to find out more information about our joint pain, rather than just assuming we know what it is before investigating. This is why doctors do physical exams, orthopedic testing, imaging, and studies, before coming to a working diagnosis or conclusion. That’s what I do in my clinic for my patients. 




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