The location of the pain can indicate its potential causes. When doctors assess your knee, they consider possible diagnosis based on the pain’s location- inside, outside, above, below, or on top of the kneecap. So, you can use a knee pain location or area chart to find out possible causes.

The knee joint is a hinged joint joining the top bone called the femur with lower bones called the tibia and fibula. The kneecap or patella sits on top of the knee. Between the tibia and fibula, two c-shaped cartilage called the meniscus act as shock absorbers. Ligaments and tendons, inside and outside the joint, hold the structure in place.

Review the knee pain location chart below to find out the possible causes of your knee pain. We have also added a back knee pain location chart for causes of pain behind the knee.  For each condition, press on the name to find out more.

Knee pain location chart (click on your site of pain)

Back knee pain location chart 

back knee pain location chart
Inside back of knee Top of the calf Outside back of the knee Central back of the knee

Top of the calf

Calf tear

Deep venous thrombosis

Outside back of the knee

Lateral Meniscal tear 

Lateral compartment osteoarthritis

Knee joint capsulitis 

Biceps femoris tendonitis (low hamstring)

Popliteus tendonitis 

Central back of the knee

It is never a good idea to ignore severe or persistent knee pain, particularly if you’ve already trialed conservative measures such as physical therapy. Other possible causes of constant knee pain include infection and autoimmune conditions such as inflammatory arthritis.

As a general rule, you should seek a specialist medical opinion if you sustained knee trauma or develop knee swelling, increased warmth, or mechanical symptoms such as locking or giving way. The knee pain area chart will help you decide on a cause, but it does not encompass all possible drivers of knee pain.

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Dr. Masci is a specialist sport doctor in London. 

He specialises in muscle, tendon and joint injuries.