Knee Pain - Don't Forget Popliteus
Popliteus - Trigger Point Anatomy Overview and Runner's Knee
Trigger points in the popliteus are often associated with knee pain, and too often overlooked
The tendon from the origin of the popliteus lies inside the capsule of the knee joint.
Many people are unaware of the trigger point that typically develops in the centre of the popliteus.
In the video above, we explain the popliteus anatomy as it relates to trigger points.
Watch the video to the end for additional information about popliteus and runner's knee.
Lateral surface of lateral condyle of femur. Oblique popliteal ligament of knee joint.
Upper part of posterior surface of tibia, superior to soleal line.
Popliteus - Common Trigger Point Site
Laterally rotates femur on tibia when foot is fixed on ground. Medially rotates tibia on femur when leg is not weight bearing. Assists flexion of knee joint (popliteus “unlocks” extended knee joint to initiate flexion of leg). Helps reinforce posterior ligaments of knee joint.
Tibial nerve, L4, 5, S1.
BASIC FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT
TRIGGER POINT REFERRED PAIN PATTERNS
Localized 5–6 cm zone of pain (posterior and central knee joint), with some spreading of diffuse pain, radiating in all directions, especially inferiorly.
Popliteus - Typically refers pain to the back and middle of the knee.
Pain in back of knee squatting/ crouching/walking/running, pain behind knee/calf walking uphill and descending stairs, stiff knee on passive flexion/extension, planter fasciitis, chronic calf shortening, low back pain, leg cramps.
Post-fracture, splinting, poor orthotics, prolonged driving, twisting sports (e.g. soccer, climbing, skiing, baseball, football), associated with many knee problems.
Avulsion. Cruciate ligaments (instability). Baker’s cyst. Osteoarthritis. Tendonitis. Cartilage (meniscus) injury. Vascular (deep vein thrombosis, thrombosis). Tenosynovitis.
Hamstrings (biceps femoris), gastrocnemius (ligamentum patellae), plantaris.
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