calf and knee pain

January 12, 2014

Stuart asked The Guru for the following Physiotherapy Advice:


hope you can help could use any advice, even guesses!

i have been to see 2 physios and had conflicting advice

first said i had housemaids knee on the first appointment and calf strain (both legs) on the second appointment

second said i had housemaids knee (both legs)

i am feeling pain in my knees and calves.

this has happened through work, i kneel over 100 times per day for a period of about 20 seconds and walk over 10 miles a day through work. wasnt wearing knee pads.

went back to work recently for light duties and it seems this has set me back a bit so i have had to stop (used knee pads, not much kneeling, just leaning forward to pick things off floor and walking) felt it was getting better when i wasnt working, now having worked light duties i am still in a bit of pain when i get out of bed.

its been 5 months since it happened and i have improved however its slow, at the moment it doesnt seem to be improving and i feel i am at a stand point with no improvement as it seems to of stopped improving.

i cant kneel particularly well, maybe once or twice a day under duress i cant walk too far at the moment, was walking 4 -7 miles a day when on light duties, now i would struggle walking a mile.

im on ibruprofen for the numb pain i get (mostly in the evenings some all day), take about 6 a day.

daily exercises i do are ;

standing quadriceps stretch

raising my leg on a chair in an elevated position with leg straight resting on chair top foot against a wall, leg straight, leaning in to stretch the calf

last physio said only time will heal, there are no other solutions. This is the most depressing answer i could have.

this is getting me down as i cant see an end in sight, can you offer any advice or suggest how long this will take? i cant work at the moment and its a major problem as im sure you can imagine. work are no longer sympathetic.

any advice good or bad would be appreciated! what is it, how long will i have it, will i ever get better like i used to be, what can i do to help ect ect. im 43 btw.



January 12, 2014

Hi Stuart

My heart sinks when I hear that any Physio has said time will heal and there are no other solutions…ugh!

You’re describing a load of symptoms, but understanding the cause of these symptoms is key.

Housemaids knee is purely descriptive, and is commonly associated with kneeling. However it’s only “true” if you’ve got a swollen, pudgey knee. Housemaids knee is really an irritated bursa (fluid filled sac) that sits at the front of your knee, and if you’ve truly got one and kneeling is an integral part of your job, then it will persist and the options for improvement generally involve around a needle and steroid….

Next bit to make head or tale of is your calf pain. It is associated with the knee pain or is it just co-incidental? Does one make the other worse, or vice versa.. To have issues with a knee, let alone both and have calf issues too must be linked. They can’t be separate bits of wrongness (!).

Walking and housemaids knee don’t have any relevance, but walking and squatting do have massive amounts in common with tracking issues with your knee caps, which I think may be a causative factor.

When you squat or kneel, your thighs rolls in. In doing so your knee caps roll out. This means they “sit” in the wrong place on the front of your knee. This makes your knees sore so you try to compensate by walking with “soft knees” and don’t allow them to fully straighten, allowing your calf muscles to stiffen up.

I’m sure if you get on top of your knee pain, the calf issue will follow. Change the cause, don’t symptom chase.

Maybe worth asking your Physio about your patella alignment….if you’ve got swollen knees due to a miffed bursa it may be worth asking about getting them jabbed.

Hope this help

The Guru

Six Physio

Guru Responded

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