The location of the knee pain can be a useful guide to the cause of pain. Pain in the front portion of the knee can be caused by bursitis (inflammation of the lining of the joint, possible due to injury while playing), arthritis, or injury to the patella cartilage (front portion of the knee). Pain on either sides of the knee is usually related to meniscal tears, injuries to the collateral ligaments, and even to arthritis. Pain in the back of the knee can be caused by arthritis or Bakers cysts (cystic accumulation of synovial fluid, also causes a swelling). So as you can see, arthritis can cause an overall knee pain. Ligament injury causes pain to worsen on walking, bending and stretching the knee. Meniscii too if torn or injured, result in joint instability—that is you are not confident the knee joint will take your weight. Often the person feels a popping sensation on moving the joint. It can also be tendinitis due to inflammation of tendon at the knee joint. All these (ligament and meniscal injury and tendonitis) can cause referred pain to calf. The other cause for the pain can be compartment syndrome due to injury or inflammation of leg muscles due to over use. The pain is increased on putting the foot on ground and further increase with walking. You will need X-rays and MRIs of the knee to find the exact. Compression of nerve, deep vein thrombosis too could be causing leg pain or it could just be overtired muscles. So if nothing is found in the knee, then these possibilities will have to be looked at by nerve conduction studies, MRIs or by duplex ultrasounds. At times dehydration and electrolyte imbalance is the cause for calf pain. So this too would need to be ruled out. Treatment will follow correct diagnosis. Do consult an orthopedic specialist at the earliest. Meanwhile do not bear weight on that leg, give it rest, apply ice pack, and take an anti-inflammatory pain killer. Take care!
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