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Pain Inside Knee. Sometimes Across Thigh

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How People Describe This Pain Pattern

Sharp, Grabbing Pain

People complain of pain, especially along the inside of the knee, that is sharp and unexpected. This often occurs as they step on uneven ground or climb stairs. They may complain of pain in their knee when they cross their legs. Pain often focuses on the pain at the knee, but when asked, they speak of pain that continues at a diagonal along the surface of the muscle.

This pattern is often confusing and difficult to isolate as other muscles, and pain patterns are often involved. However, this part of the pattern is particularly bothersome for several reasons. First, it mimics the pattern of a disc problem at L3 that spirals around the front of the thigh. Second, it creates sharp pain along the knee, which creates concern about meniscus problems. Third, it creates weakness and instability on stairs that may lead to a fall, especially for the elderly.

Get Professional Help

As I mentioned above, a vertebral disc or meniscus can create similar pain. Notably, the disc pain tends to be more painful or electric as it spirals around the thigh. However, a seasoned professional needs to determine if you’re in real trouble and need treatment for your back or knee.

My Own Experience

I’ve helped many patients with this but had a bout with it myself a few months before writing this post. Like many of my patients, it came with other pain patterns in thigh muscles. The knee pain was sharp and concerning. It put a real cramp in my leg workout. Additionally, a shadow of pain spiraled from the corner of my hip to the inside of my knee. At various times, that pain shifted up and down my thigh.

Fortunately, my professional experience helped me ferret the trigger points and assess the other factors. Also, I was heading on a trip with lots of walking on uneven ground. Worse, I was taking long plane rides that would require holding my knees together, which seemed to aggravate this. Ultimately, I was able to quell the irritation and be able to enjoy my trip with minor inconvenience. My knee was barking a bit on days with lots of steps, but only in the first few days. Naturally, I take pain patches on my vacations, in case I have a problem. Instead, I was ok and used the patches on friends that were having low back and leg pain.

How You Activate and Intensify This Pain Pattern

Usually a Mystery

Although most people try to find an activity that started this, few have clear answers. Even, in my own case, I don’t know what started it. There are some instances where the person has a sports injury or motor vehicle accident that seems to initiate the problem. However, those are cases I read about in research and haven’t seen in my clinic.

The Musculoskeletal Anatomy Behind Your Pain

Musculoskeletal Anatomy

About these Illustrations…

This post on anatomy contains standard information about the origin, insertion, function, and innervation of muscles. Additionally, it includes information on functional considerations and anomalies.

Find Related Posts

Anatomy posts have a grid of all related posts. This includes posts on pain patterns, self-care, therapy notes, NMT protocols, cranial techniques, and cases.

Getting Relief on Your Own

Clinically Proven
Self-Care Strategies

Self-Care Posts have common sections to make them easy to follow and understand:

  • Activities to Avoid or Change
  • Strategies for Quick Relief
  • Stretches and Exercise for Longer-Lasting Relief
  • Yoga Corner

Therapy Notes for Massage and Bodywork

Better Bodywork
Through Shared Expertise

Therapy Notes provide details for cranial, spinal, and local joint work. These notes also link to a traditional neuromuscular protocol.

By treating integrative components first, direct work on the muscle becomes less intense while providing longer-lasting relief.

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Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where he sees clients. He has written materials and instructed classes since the mid-90s. This includes anatomy, trigger points, cranial, and neuromuscular.

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*This site is undergoing significant changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make them easier to read. The result will also be more accessible and include more patterns with better self-care. Meanwhile, there may be formatting, content presentation, and readability inconsistencies. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.