Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Popliteus Tendinitis Overview

What is popliteus tendinitis?
A person with popliteus tendinitis has inflammation of the popliteus tendon, which is located behind the knee. Tendons are strong bands that connect muscles to bone. The popliteus tendon attaches to the outer, bottom surface of the femur and travels diagonally, behind the knee, to attach to the inner, upper surface of the tibia. The popliteus tendon normally prevents the lower leg from twisting outwards while running. Running downhill places increased stress on this tendon, leading to popliteus tendinitis.

What are the symptoms of popliteus tendinitis?
Symptoms of popliteus tendinitis are similar to knee bursitis. The most common symptom of popliteal tendinitis includes knee pain that worsens with movement. Additional symptoms may include swelling, redness, and warmth to the skin overlying the popliteal tendon.

How does the doctor treat popliteus tendinitis?
The treatment for popliteus tendinitis includes rest, cold compresses, elevation, an elastic wrap, physical therapy, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain. Additional treatment for popliteus tendinitis may include oral corticosteroids or corticosteroid injections. Wedge shoe inserts can help re-position the foot, which relieves stress on the popliteus tendon.

Continue to Popliteus Tendinitis Risk Factors

Last Updated: Feb 11, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Popliteus Tendinitis References
  1. Bailey MP, Maillardet FJ, Messenger N. Kinematics of cycling in relation to anterior knee pain and patellar tendinitis. J Sports Sci. 2003 Aug;21(8):649-57. [12875315]
  2. Bennett R. Addressing musculoskeletal pain. Geriatrics. 2004 Aug;59(8):11-2. [15332411]
  3. Richards DP, Ajemian SV, Wiley JP, Zernicke RF. Knee joint dynamics predict patellar tendinitis in elite volleyball players. Am J Sports Med. 1996 Sep-Oct;24(5):676-83. [8883692]
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