T Nation

Knee Stiffness and Instability

My right knee hurts on the outside. I think it might be something to do with my lateral collateral ligament, but i can’t recall any significant blow to the knee to cause this. It had been feeling a little off, meaning it felt a little bit vulnerable when moving side to side, but I didn’t think much of it until yesterday.

The day before I did front squats, and the next morning my knee were really stiff, and felt a lot weaker when doing anything. I could still squat to parallel probably, but going deep is not possible, because my range of motion won’t allow it - it feels like there’s a big bubble on the side and across the meniscus that needs to be busted when i squat down in this position.

Knee also feels tender to palpation right below patella and to the right on the outside on that bony prominence of the knee joint.

Any docs, physios, or others who know what they’re talking about have any idea what the problem may be? If so should I be resting it or stretching and exercising as much as possible.

i think you have Patellofemoral syndrome. look it up. usually caused by muscle imbalance (for example, muscles on the right of your leg are stronger than the muscles on the left). this could be from doing a lot more of a certain exercise than another, or from always sitting in a certain position, or maybe from having a flat foot. there’s more reasons if you look it up. they cause the muscle imbalance leading to the patella (kneecap) scraping across the right side of the track in the knee on which its supposed to be moving.

look it up and compare symptoms and stuff.

I should also add that my knee is swollen as well, more so on the right side (of right knee). Looking at the symptoms of patellofemoral syndrome, i don’t beleive that it’s patellofemoral syndrome, mostly because the pain is to the side of the knee and not behind the knee cap. I beleive the stiffness and bursting bubble sensation is caused from the swelling. It almost feels like a “sprained my knee.”

I don’t know if my situation is the same as yours. My left knee does everything you said yours did. Only mine does it whenever I jump (like playing basketball) w/o warming up. You don’t want to put any stress on it for now. Try to use machines instead of freeweight for some of your excercise where you NEED to put stress on the knee (like carrying the weight). Mine (the swollen and stiffness) went away couple of days later.


Well without being able to examine you it’s difficult to know what your problem is, but your iliotibial band (ITB) runs down the outside of the leg and often can cause pain in that area. There are several bursa in that area that can become inflamed/swollen.

Regarding the pain below the patella, if it is directly below, it is in the patellar tendon, which connects the quads to the tibial tubercle on lower leg. If it is off to the right it could be where the ITB inserts onto Gerdy’s tubercle.

Personally, with the swelling you describe it wouldn’t hurt to get checked out. A good sports med based chiro/PT/ortho could rule out any internal joint derangement and give you some stretches and exercises to do to help it.

Eric and Mike did an article where they showed how to use a foam roll to work on myofascial problems on the lateral portionof the leg. I think it was called Feel Better for Ten Bucks.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Take care,


Thanks for the input. I think I’ll go to a PT here and get it checked out to see what’s up.

well do you have popping noises from movements? does it hurt while going up or down stairs. if so, its patellofemoral. im pretty sure the pain is usually on the side (the outside) of the knee. so on your right leg, it would be to the right.

i dunno. best to see a doc or something. those sports injury ppl maybe.