Can sciatica cause knee pain? This is a common question and an issue that many people wonder about. Sciatica is a form of pain that is experienced by a lot of people at some point in their lifetime. With this condition, one feels pain along any point or within the course of the sciatic nerve.
Knee pain is a common distress that some people may face once in a while. It is important to understand that at times, what is painful is not always the problem but a symptom and this can be evident with one who suffers knee pain. Knee pain can be linked to several causes but one major cause that has been proven is sciatica. In this article, we address how.
Sciatica and knee pain
Sciatica typically describes pain that is felt as a result of damage, pressure, or compression of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back all the way to the toes. This nerve is very critical and is the longest in the body. It travels through the back of one’s knee and also controls the muscles located on the knee. A problem of this nerve can ultimately cause knee pain.
Knee pain is mostly and often brought about by lower back pain. Back pain can be related to knee pain based on the principle of referred pain. Nerves that diverge to the lower extremities typically branch from the lower back.
For many people, knee pain may not be traced from a physical injury but there is always a high possibility that the pain may be originating from an injury on one’s lower back. Mostly, this is due to an irritation or compression of some nerves that originate from the lower back (lumbar spine).
Can sciatica cause knee pain?
The answer is yes. Sciatica can erupt from problems of the lower back, spinal stenosis, a herniated disc, and/or a compressed nerve and eventually, one can be affected by knee pain.
Muscles around the knee that enable for proper functioning are powered by nerves that stem from the lower region of the spine. When these nerves are irritated, pinched, or compressed, at their spinal origin, they result into symptoms commonly known as sciatica. Such symptoms would include knee pain or weakness. This is why a lower back problem can cause knee pain.
If you experience knee pain due to being a sciatica sufferer, the symptoms may be due to compression of the L4 spinal nerve root. This is what would medically be described or termed as L4 radiculopathy. Common causes for this case would be a lower back’s herniated disc or spinal stenosis.
Hamstrings and knee pain
Whereby your sciatica originates from having a tight hamstring (muscles located at the back of the thigh), you can experience knee pain. The tightness of these muscles alters the curvature and reduces back stability. After several weeks of hamstring tightness, the body begins to suffer and it now attempts to make a repair. It does so by mobilizing a knee’s stem cells and other body inflammatory cells. When one faces a lot of back stress and eventually sciatica, the pain may radiate to the knee.
Hamstring tightness or pain that will not cease, even with stretching, is an indicator that there is a problem with a back nerve and this brings about knee pain. The L5 nerve root stems from the lumbar spine and goes down the outside of the hamstring to enable the function of the biceps femoris. If this nerve root is pinched or compressed, knee pain is bound to occur.
It is important to note that knee pain that is caused by sciatica will mostly affect a knee on one leg at a time, unless it is a case of bilateral sciatica which is also a very rare condition.
Symptoms of knee pain caused by sciatica
- A sharp pain on the knee with a warm sensation at the front, side, and/or the knee’s back.
- Tingling or a sensation of pins or needles.
- Muscle spasms.
- The affected knee is not being in a position to bear weight.
- The knee giving out or buckling.
- Weakness when one attempts to straighten or extend the affected knee.
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– Sciatica In The Ankles – What To Do If Sciatica Is Causing You Ankle Pain
– Scoliosis And Sciatica – A Relationship Worth Some Attention
– How Your Neck Pain And Sciatica Are Unknowingly Linked
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