ZocdocAnswersHow does one know when they've pulled a muscle?

Question

How does one know when they've pulled a muscle?

I'm a runner, 25 years old. I've only been running since college, and I've never had an injury before. But since last week, my knee kind of aches when I run. How can I tell whether or not this is a pulled muscle? If it is, should I ice it or what?

Answer

Knee pain is a condition that can have many different causes, and your primary care physician may be able to help diagnose the specific cause of your pain. However, the specialists involved in evaluating knee pain are typically orthopedic surgeons and occasionally rheumatologists. One common cause of knee pain in young patients is tendonitis, especially in active young patients. Tendonitis is typically caused by overuse of the tendon involved, and typically affects the knees, elbows, shoulders, and wrists. The pain is typically achy and worsened with use of the joint. Another possible cause of knee pain is damage to any of the ligaments within the knee, usually caused by trauma. In active patients, this is not uncommon. There is usually a memorable traumatic event, and if this is not the case, then ligament damage is less likely in your case. Muscle strain (pulled muscle) is a possible cause of knee pain, but again would likely have a memorable moment when you started having pain. The pain with pulled muscles is usually located within the affected muscle. A less likely cause of knee pain is rheumatoid arthritis, which tends to run in families, and is an autoimmune disorder. Treatment for these conditions can vary widely, and your physician is the only one who can recommend the proper treatment plan after a proper physical examination. I strongly recommend seeing a physician prior to starting any treatment for knee pain.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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