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Popliteus Syndrome/ Tendonitis

What is Popliteus Syndrome?

This is an overuse condition causing inflammation of the Popliteal tendon. This condition is also known as Popliteus syndrome.

The Popliteus is a small muscle which is located at the back of the knee. The Popliteus muscle action is important in unlocking the knee from a fully straightened position. It also provides stability around the knee and controls the shearing forces.

Causes of Popliteus Tendonitis

The causes of Popliteus tendinitis include:

  • Overuse of the Popliteus muscle in activities such as running
  • Traumatic knee injury
  • Chronic instability around the knee
  • Muscle imbalances in the lower limb
  • Incorrect exercise technique
  • Fatigue

Symptoms of Popliteus Syndrome

The most common symptoms of Popliteal tendinitis include:

  • Pain over the outer aspect of the knee, which may also spread to the calf muscle.
  • Swelling and redness over the outer aspect of the knee
  • Pain while completely extending the knee
  • Pain while bending the knee from the complete extended position
  • Weakness in the knee
  • Feelings of giving way when weight-bearing
  • Clicking


On examination, the physiotherapist will observe signs of Popliteal tendinitis.

An MRI or ultrasound may be required to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment of Popliteus Syndrome/ Tendonitis


Physiotherapy helps patients with Popliteal tendinitis feel better within a couple of weeks of treatment.

Recovery of the patient will depend on a couple of factors such as age, previous activity level, treatment compliance, and the degree/length of injury.

The physiotherapy treatment aims at :

  1. Reduce pain and inflammation.
  2. Normalize joint range of motion.
  3. Strengthen the muscles around the knee
  4. Strengthen other muscles of the lower limb
  5. Normalize muscle lengths/ stretching exercises
  6. Improve proprioception and balance
  7. Improve functionality with activities like walking, running, squatting, hopping, and jumping
  8. Minimize chances of re-injury

For any questions or concerns contact PAIN-FREE PHYSIOTHERAPY CLINIC.


The things that should be done to reduce the risk of sustaining a popliteal injury includes

  • Biomechanical correction of the knee and ankle joint.
  • Adequate warm-up and stretching program before and after exercise.
  • muscle imbalance correction in the lower limb
  • Adequate footwear during exercise
  • Avoid sudden increases in training frequency and/or intensity
  • Strengthening lower limb muscles.
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