National Associaltion of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists - Symptom Checker

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This is the technical name of the muscle being described.  This name may be used to find additional information in any medical resource. Popliteus
Muscle function, in this definition, is what the muscle could do if it was to contract by itself with the body in anatomical position.  This is a general definition of muscle function.  For more information on how muscles work together on the body please refer to a physiology or functional anatomy text.

The popliteus works to “unlock” the knee.

A description of where a Myofascial Trigger Point may produce pain in the body.  This area is generally located away from the trigger point.

Pain from the popliteus is usually felt behind the knee and slightly over the upper calf.

A description of the symptoms a person may experience with trigger points in the muscle being described.

A person with TrPs in the popliteus generally complains of pain behind the knee when crouching and running or walking. Pain may be worse when walking downhill or downstairs. They will have a slight decrease in range of motion in the knee, but it is usually too little to notice.


 A list of possible diseases that fit the information derived from examination of a patient.

  1. Baker’s cyst.
  2. Popliteus tendonitis.
  3. Thrombosis of the popliteal vein.
  4. Avulsion of the popliteus tendon.
  5. Torn meniscus or tear in the posterior capsule of the knee joint.

A list of activities or positions that may either CAUSE a trigger point to manifest or PROLONG a pain condition respectively.

  1. TrPs may be activated while participating in, but not limited to, the following activities – soccer, football, running, twisting, sliding, and more so while running or skiing downhill.
  2. A strain which tears the PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) of the knee may overload the popliteus.

A corrective action is usually a modification of daily routine which will reduce stress on the affected muscle(s) in a person with myofascial trigger points.

  1. Support of the knee by use of an elastic sleeve that extends from above the knee to below the knee with an opening for the patella can ease the pain from active TrPs in the popliteus.
  2. A person prone to popliteus TrPs should avoid longer than usual runs or walks.
  3. Limit walking or running on laterally sloped surfaces.
  4. High heels should also be avoided.

References : 
Simons DG, Travell JG, Simons LS, Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, vol 1, 2nd Ed. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1999.

Travell JG, Simons DG, Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction, vol 2. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1992.

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.  A proper diagnosis should be sought from a licensed health care provider.