Read below about pain in the outside of the knee, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your pain in the outside of the knee from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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5 Potential Pain in the Outside of the Knee Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Iliotibial (It) Band Syndrome ('Runner's Knee')

    Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome is the lateral knee pain that results from overuse that occurs after repetitive motion. It is the most common cause of lateral knee pain in runners and cyclists.

    Within 6 to 8 weeks with conservative nonsurgical treatment

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    knee pain, pain in one knee, dull, achy knee pain, knee pain that gets worse when going down stairs, sharp knee pain
    Symptoms that always occur with iliotibial (it) band syndrome ('runner's knee'):
    knee pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Repeated Kneecap Dislocation (Patellar Subluxation)

    Recurrent patellar subluxation is the continued instability of the kneecap, which causes anterior knee pain and usually occurs laterally. It occurs unpredictably with varying durations.

    Recovery timeline is dependent on treatment type.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one knee, dull, achy knee pain, pain in the front of the knee, pain in the inside of the knee, swollen knee
    Symptoms that always occur with repeated kneecap dislocation (patellar subluxation):
    kneecap dislocation
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  3. 3.Severe Kneecap Dislocation

    The kneecap connects the muscles in the front of the thigh to the shinbone (tibia). When the kneecap slips out of the groove, problems and pain often result.

    Physical therapy may be needed, but people usually resolve normal activities within 1 to 3 months.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    constant knee pain, pain in one knee, knee pain from an injury, knee injury, swollen knee
    Symptoms that always occur with severe kneecap dislocation:
    knee pain from an injury, kneecap dislocation, constant knee pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  4. 4.Knee Sprain (Lcl)

    The LCL is the ligament on the outside of the knee, keeping it from bending away from the body. It is most commonly injured while playing sports (ouch!) when a force is placed on the knee from the inner half of the knee.

    Days to 6-12 months, depending on severity

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one knee, knee pain from an injury, knee injury, pain in the outside of the knee, sports injury
    Symptoms that always occur with knee sprain (lcl):
    pain in one knee, knee pain from an injury
    Symptoms that never occur with knee sprain (lcl):
    mild knee pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  5. 5.Fibular Stress Fracture

    The fibula is the smaller shin bone which lies on the outer part of the lower leg. With excessive, repeated stress, a small fracture (called a stress fracture) can occur.

    4-12 weeks with rest

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    foot numbness, pain in the outside of the knee, lower leg numbness, shin pain, pain in one shin
    Symptoms that always occur with fibular stress fracture:
    pain in the outside of the shin, pain in one shin
    Symptoms that never occur with fibular stress fracture:
    pain in both feet, pain in one foot, pain in the inside of the shin, swelling in both shins
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Pain in the Outside of the Knee

  • Q.Is the knee pain affecting one or both knees?
  • Q.Is your knee pain:
  • Q.Where is your knee pain?
  • Q.How would you explain the cause of your knee pain?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our pain in the outside of the knee symptom checker to find out more.

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Pain in the Outside of the Knee Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced pain in the outside of the knee have also experienced:

    • 9% Knee Pain
    • 4% Knee Numbness
    • 4% Pain in the Back of the Knee
  • People who have experienced pain in the outside of the knee had symptoms persist for:

    • 40% Over a Month
    • 20% Less Than a Day
    • 19% Less Than a Week
  • People who have experienced pain in the outside of the knee were most often matched with:

    • 23% Iliotibial (It) Band Syndrome ('Runner's Knee')
    • 1% Repeated Kneecap Dislocation (Patellar Subluxation)
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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