Repetitive Strain Injury/Knee pain


QUESTION: I've been experiencing pain in my right knee. Primarily in the back of the knee. After kneeling for a period of time it's difficult to fully straighten and can be painful to walk and bear eight. Any help would be appreciated. Also, it is not continuous.nit comes and goes.


It's important when you said it is not continuous, but that it comes and goes.  If there were something more involved happening it wouldn't go, it would always be there. You are having a repetitive strain injury in a little muscle called popliteus.

The popliteus muscle ( originates on the outside of your thigh bone, right at the knee, and it then crosses over the joint and inserts into the inside of your shin bone, just below your knee joint.  When this muscle contracts and shortens you move your joint and your knee bends.

The problem is your knee bends in order for you to take very step you make, and to allow you to sit. There is a phenomenon called "muscle memory" ( that will cause this muscle to stay shortened and when you then try to straighten your leg it puts pressure on both sides of the muscle (you will feel it as pain in the crease of your knee joint) and you won't be able to straighten your leg because the muscle is just too short to stretch to its fullest length.

If you go to you can read all about repetitive strain injuries and how the refer to areas that may be distant from the spasm. I suggest you also read the sections titled "Muscles and Pain" and "What's Happening Exactly." In this case, the pain is felt pretty much where it's happening, but the site will give you a lot of good information as to the why and how this is happening.

The good news is, it isn't serious and it can be self-treated so you can take are of it yourself. The most important thing to know is that it's simple to self-treat this muscle, it's just a matter of knowing where to press and how to move your leg to get the proper stretch so you can return it to its normal length. The website will give you some information on how to learn how to self-treat this muscle as well as just about every muscle in your body.

Wishing you well,
    Julie Donnelly

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Julie, first off thank you very much for your time and knowledge. It's a strange feeling of not being able to bear weight on my leg at times. It feels like a really tight rubber band. From your experience do you think I can rule out a meniscus tear? I like to think negatively at times and just wanted your reassurance. Thx in advance and thank you for this wonderful service.

Hi Joe,

Before you start to think the worst, I suggest you do as I mentioned in my email.  I've been working with people who have chronic pain for 24 years, and I've worked with hundreds of endurance athletes who do serious straining to their muscles, I really believe that the popliteus is all that is going on with you.

BTW, back in 2004 I severed my medial meniscus during a ski accident. It heals well with scar tissue and then there were movements I made to break down the tightness of the scar tissue, my knee is perfect and has been ever since this all happened.

I believe that as soon as you release the tension in your popliteus you'll be just fine.

Wishing you well,
   Julie Donnelly

Repetitive Strain Injury

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Julie Donnelly, LMT


I can accept questions that relate to chronic or acute pain caused by muscle spasms and contractions. Repetitive Strain Injury is actually Cumulative Trauma to muscles. Releasing the spasm &/or contraction will relieve the strain that is felt at the insertion point on the bone. I am the co-developer of the unique safe-stretching program "Focused Flexibility Training," which combines easy instruction for self-treating spasms throughout your body with proven yoga stretches. I have recently authored two new books: "The 15 Minute Back Pain Solution," and "The Secret to Your Best Golf Game EVER!


Since 1989 I have been working with endurance athletes and individuals suffering from chronic pain conditions. I have authored seven self-treatment books and three self-treatment DVDs and I have developed the Julstro System for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, Trigger Finger, and other Hand/Wrist pain. I am a national and international presenter at conventions, seminars, and workshops. Principle topics are "Work Shouldn't Hurt," and "The Pain Free Athlete." In 2005 and 2006 I was the massage therapist for ultracyclists competing in the Race Across America (RAAM) 3000+ mile race from San Diego, CA to Atlantic City, NJ. I've taught the Julstro techniques to physical therapists at the Cleveland Clinic, to massage therapists in areas around the USA, and I've taught Julstro self-treatment clinics to dancers at Juilliard School of Performing Arts (NYC),the sprinting team at NC State, and I am working closely with several Olympic-hopeful. We have successfully eliminated the repetitive strain injuries that could keep them out of the Olympic Games, and the best part is they know how to do the self-treatments so they can stay pain-free and flexible.

Triathlete Magazine, Endurance Magazine, multiple national and international trade journals.

Swedish Institute of Allied Health, NY, NY - Initial education in massage therapy Licensed NYS Massage Therapist since 1989. SUNY Empire State College, Saratoga Springs, NY - B.Sc. degree in Interdisciplinary Health Education I was an Associate Professor helping to develop the massage training program for SUNY Rockland Community College

Past/Present Clients
Privacy prevents me from filling in this section without prior consent from my clients. Life Experience: I have been specializing in the treatment of chronic pain and sports injuries since receiving my NY massage license in 1989. A personal bout with carpal tunnel syndrome was the catalyst to my developing a self-treatment that heals the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome quickly and without surgery. My work with endurance athletes was the inspiration to teach people how to self-treat so they could stop pains even during a race or heavy training day. Both of these situations ultimately became the products that are sold on my websites: and I currently treat people in my offices in Sarasota, FL, Cary, NC, or Pearl River, NY

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