Help me solve this problem - sharp pain in the back of my knee
Hey everyone, I have an ongoing knee problem and I want to get everyone's input on what it might be and how I can fix it. I've been to a few physios and a sports physician, and had an MRI done, none of which have been able to identify/solve the problem. So I'm hoping someone here can do a bit better . . .
Here's the summary:
- I get a sharp pain in the back of my left knee when it's bent under load such as when squatting, lunging, on stairs etc.
- The pain is right in the back center of the knee, not far from the surface.
- I can bend it through a full range of motion with no pain at all if there's no weight on it.
- It gets aggravated much more by fast bending movements under bodyweight than by slow movements (even under much heavier weight). For example, I can do multiple 1.5xBW back squat sets and be fine, but if I lunge quickly onto it (such as doing a fast dip when dancing, or even dipping quickly in a push press), that's what seems to aggravate it.
- The problem comes and goes and I can't see much link between cause and effect. Sometimes it will come up randomly on a day when I've put no demands on it at all. On the other hand, sometimes I can do lots of fast lunging/dipping motions and not run into any problems at all.
- When the problem comes up, if I take it easy for a few days, it goes away and I can go back to doing everything pain free.
- However, even when the pain is gone, the knee still doesn't feel very strong and usually I instinctively don't want to push it too hard.
- The MRI showed everything normal - no signs of meniscal tear, ligament damage or other cartilage problems, no cysts, no tendon problems etc.
- I read another post on here about the popliteus muscle, but I don't get any pain when I press into the back of the knee, so that doesn't sound like the root of the problem.
Here's some more background:
In mid-December 2012, I was running along the beach in shallow water when my foot stepped into a pothole while the knee was fully extended. This jarred the knee and I had some pain (not in the same place as now) for a couple of days, but then it went away completely after that. This may or may not be relevant. I did lots of leg work in the weeks following this with no problems at all.
The first day I felt the problem I'm having now was in January 2013. In the morning, I did a jump rope warm-up (this is a strong point of mine and my style is very low jump height / low impact) and then a Tabata workout with kipping pull-ups, sit-ups, dumbell shoulder press and kettlebell swings. I didn't feel any problem whatsoever at that point, so I'm not sure if anything in that training session was the original cause.
A few hours later I felt the sharp pain in the back of the left knee when I was walking up stairs. By the evening, it was so bad that I couldn't even push the clutch in my car without getting massive pain.
For the next few days, the knee and calf/foot/toes swelled right up and the knee felt like jelly. I didn't even walk on it for about a week. After a few days, the swelling went down, but it still felt very weak. I went back to walking normally after a couple of weeks, but basically rested it (ie didn't put any weight on it when it was bent) for 2 whole months.
It slowly got better over the next few months and I got back into bodyweight squats and step-ups to strengthen the muscles again, but there was lots of clicking in the knee joint at different times - mostly on the lateral side.
Then, in the middle of the year, I'd been doing a lot of physical farming work overseas and the pain in the back of the knee came back again. Ever since then, it's come and gone - sometimes as a result of fast weight-bearing movements, but sometimes after I've done nothing demanding at all.
None of the specialists I've seen have had any ideas on what the problem might be or what I can do to solve it. The only thing the sports physician came up with was that the PCL looked a bit thin in the MRI. But since it was totally intact, there was nothing that could be done about it.
The only advice I got from the physios was "strengthen the quad", but I've done a lot of that and reached a point where I was back squatting more than I ever have before, yet this hasn't solved the problem by itself.
Has anyone got any ideas on what it might be and what I can do to solve the problem?
Thanks in advance