Five Conditions That Cause Lateral Knee Pain

Man holding his knee

Your knee is a complex joint made of many intersecting parts, including ligaments, tendons, bones, and cartilage. There are several conditions that cause pain in the knee. Some of them affect the entire knee and others only affect certain parts of the knee.

If you have pain on the outside of your knee (the lateral part), it can be the result of a number of conditions. Below is a look at five common conditions that cause lateral knee pain:

Common causes of lateral knee pain

  1. Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) — The iliotibial band is a long strip of tough tissue that travels down the outside of the leg from the hip to the shin bone where it stops right below the knee. Its job is to help stabilize the knee, but irritation and inflammation can cause ITBS. When this happens, the knee will be in pain and difficult to use.
  2. Arthritis — Arthritis causes the cartilage in your knees to wear down. This results in friction developing between the bones in the joint, which is painful and limits your range of motion. Some types of arthritis can cause more damage to the cartilage in the lateral part of your knee than in other places.
  3. Bursitis — The bursae are sacs of fluid that protect the joints from rubbing against the tendons. Irritation can cause the bursae to become inflamed, which is known as bursitis. This is a painful condition that can cause swelling and limit the range of motion in your knee.
  4. Lateral cruciate ligament (LCL) tear — The LCL is one of the major ligaments that run along the outside of the knee and helps keep it stable. If the knee buckles outward due to an impact or a fall, the LCL can stretch or tear.
  5. Lateral meniscus tears — The shin and thigh bones on each side of the knee are protected from friction by the meniscus. There are two menisci in each knee, one on the inside and one on the outside. The outside one is known as the lateral meniscus. A sudden twisting motion or a direct impact to the knee can cause the lateral meniscus to tear.

Visit the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute for lateral knee pain treatment

If you’re suffering from pain on the outside of your knee, you may need to visit a doctor for treatment. Our team at the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute specializes in many treatments for lateral knee pain. Depending on the cause and severity of your condition, you may benefit from treatments like chiropractic care, interventional procedures, or orthopedic surgery. Contact us today to learn more about lateral knee pain treatment or to schedule an initial appointment.