Sciatica is the name given to symptoms of pain felt by an individual when the sciatic nerve gets decompressed.(1) This pain is felt in the lower extremities. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve of the body which starts from the lumbar spine and goes all the way down the legs.
Sciatic nerve compression can cause severe debilitating pain down the legs which may not allow an individual to carry out basic activities of daily living and participate in any recreational activities.
Can Sciatica Cause Knee Pain?
Coming to the question of whether sciatica can cause knee pain then theoretically speaking since the knee falls in the course of the sciatic nerve then an individual with a compressed sciatic nerve will have referred knee pain. To confirm this, it is essential that the individual is aware of the symptoms of sciatica so that he is able to better deal with the condition.
Sciatica is basically caused as a result of a pathological condition of the lumbar spine. This condition may be a degenerative condition of the lumbar spine caused by natural wear and tear of the spine with age or it may be as a result of a disc herniation or an injury to the lumbar spine.
These conditions can cause the disc to protrude out and compress the nerve which is normally the sciatic nerve causing sciatica. This will result in back pain which will radiate down to the lower extremities to include the legs and the knees.
There will also be numbness and tingling in the lower extremities. An individual with sciatica will also feel numbness in the lower extremities. What connects knee pain to sciatica is that the pain caused due to sciatica can alter the gait pattern of the affected individual which tends to put more pressure on the knees. This results in the knees getting degenerated with resultant inflammation and pain.
To summarize, sciatica and knee pain are connected to each other and if an individual suffers from sciatica there is always a chance that he or she will suffer from knee pain over time as a result of altered gait mechanics due to sciatica affecting the working of the lower extremities and putting strain on the knees. Thus it can be said that sciatica does cause knee pain.
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