My Knee Hurts When Sidekicking the Soccer Ball
Soccer is a tough sport on the knees. It requires you to run, kick, stop and start in all directions, including sideways. If your knee hurts when side kicking the soccer ball, you may have a condition that ranges from an overuse syndrome to a serious injury. See your doctor as soon as possible to prevent further injury.
You have two vital cushions in your knee called the menisci, one on each side of your joint. Each meniscus is cartilage that cushions the ends of the femur in your thigh and tibia in your shin and keeps them from grinding together. Too much force or twisting of your knee during a side kick can tear a meniscus. A small tear will enable you to go about your day and will hurt mostly if you squat or side kick. Treatment usually involves rest and icing and the injury will heal itself. A large tear will make it difficult and painful to walk and will require surgery to remove the torn section of meniscus or repair it if possible.
Collateral Ligament Tear or Sprain
Your knee is held together by connective tissue called ligaments. You have two ligaments on the inside of your knee. You also have collateral ligaments, one ligament on either side of your knee. The collateral ligaments can be injured when they are hit by a force on the opposite side. For example, using your right leg to side kick the ball to the left may cause pain on the outside of your right knee from damage to the ligament on that side. A small tear or stretch of the ligament is a sprain, which will cause pain when you side kick the soccer ball. Treat this by resting and icing your knee. You may also need a brace until it feels better. A more serious tear or rupture will require surgery.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Overuse of the knee may also cause your knee to hurt when you side kick a soccer ball. One common injury is iliotibial band syndrome, when the iliotibial band becomes irritated. The iliotibial band is a tendon that stretches from your hip to your knee along the outside of your leg. Repetitive flexing of your knee may cause the iliotibial band to become inflamed as it constantly slides back and forth over the end of your femur. The pain that results will feel like it's going across your knee and will be worse when you flex your knee, such as when you side kick. Treatment involves resting, icing and physical therapy to stretch the iliotibial band and strengthen the muscles that support it in your thigh and buttocks.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Another common overuse injury is patellofemoral pain syndrome. It results from frequent knee flexing, causing the kneecap to become misaligned on the groove it slides along on the femur. Pain when you side kick will feel like it is coming from behind your knee. Treatment for this condition involves icing and resting your knee, then physical therapy to strengthen the muscles that stabilize the knee cap, mainly the quadriceps and hamstrings. Surgery is rarely required but may be necessary if the condition advances to cause damage to the underside of the knee cap, in which case you may need a surgeon to smooth the under surface of the knee.
- Sports Injury Clinic: Lateral Ligament Sprain
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Combined Knee Ligament Injuries
- "American Family Physician"; Iliotibial Band Syndrome: A Common Source of Knee Pain; Dr. Razib Khaund et al.; April 2005
- "American Family Physician"; Management of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome; Dr. Sameer Dixit et al.; January 2007
- Lespasio MJ, Piuzzi NS, Husni ME, Muschler GF, Guarino A, Mont MA. Knee Osteoarthritis: A Primer. Perm J. 2017;21:16-183. doi:10.7812/TPP/16-183
- Kiapour AM, Murray MM. Basic science of anterior cruciate ligament injury and repair. Bone Joint Res. 2014;3(2):20-31. doi:10.1302/2046-3758.32.2000241
- Doral MN, Bilge O, Huri G, Turhan E, Verdonk R. Modern treatment of meniscal tears. EFORT Open Rev. 2018;3(5):260-268. doi:10.1302/2058-5241.3.170067
- Reinking MF. CURRENT CONCEPTS IN THE TREATMENT OF PATELLAR TENDINOPATHY. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2016;11(6):854-866.
- Petersen W, Rembitzki I, Liebau C. Patellofemoral pain in athletes. Open Access J Sports Med. 2017;8:143-154. doi:10.2147/OAJSM.S133406
- Frush TJ, Noyes FR. Baker's Cyst: Diagnostic and Surgical Considerations. Sports Health. 2015;7(4):359-65. doi:10.1177/1941738113520130
- Huang YC, Yeh WL. Endoscopic treatment of prepatellar bursitis. Int Orthop. 2011;35(3):355-8. doi:10.1007/s00264-010-1033-5
- Beals C, Flanigan D. A Review of Treatments for Iliotibial Band Syndrome in the Athletic Population. J Sports Med (Hindawi Publ Corp). 2013;2013:367169. doi:10.1155/2013/367169
- Tsai CH, Hsu CJ, Hung CH, Hsu HC. Primary traumatic patellar dislocation. J Orthop Surg Res. 2012;7:21. doi:10.1186/1749-799X-7-21
- Ragab G, Elshahaly M, Bardin T. Gout: An old disease in new perspective - A review. J Adv Res. 2017;8(5):495-511. doi:10.1016/j.jare.2017.04.008
- Lee PYF, Nixion A, Chandratreya A, Murray JM. Synovial Plica Syndrome of the Knee: A Commonly Overlooked Cause of Anterior Knee Pain. Surg J (N Y). 2017;3(1):e9-e16. doi:10.1055/s-0037-1598047
- Vaishya R, Azizi AT, Agarwal AK, Vijay V. Apophysitis of the Tibial Tuberosity (Osgood-Schlatter Disease): A Review. Cureus. 2016;8(9):e780. doi:10.7759/cureus.780
- Zanon G, Di vico G, Marullo M. Osteochondritis dissecans of the knee. Joints. 2014;2(1):29-36.
- Hindle P, Davidson E, Biant LC. Septic arthritis of the knee: the use and effect of antibiotics prior to diagnostic aspiration. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2012;94(5):351-5. doi:10.1308/003588412X13171221591015
- Gwinner C, Märdian S, Schwabe P, Schaser KD, Krapohl BD, Jung TM. Current concepts review: Fractures of the patella. GMS Interdiscip Plast Reconstr Surg DGPW. 2016;5:Doc01. doi:10.3205/iprs000080
- Voskuil R, Evenski AJ, Montgomery C, Emory CL. Malignant Bone Tumors of the Knee: How to Identify and Treat. J Knee Surg. 2019;32(4):305-314. doi:10.1055/s-0038-1675828
- Gupte C, St mart JP. The acute swollen knee: diagnosis and management. J R Soc Med. 2013;106(7):259-68. doi:10.1177/0141076813482831
- American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Unstable Kneecap.
- Bhatia D, Bejarano T, Novo M. Current interventions in the management of knee osteoarthritis. Journal of Pharmacy & Bioallied Sciences 2013 Jan-Mar;5(1):30-38. doi:%2010.4103/0975-7406.106561
- Bronstein RD, Schaffer JC. Physical Examination of the Knee: Meniscus, Cartilage, and Patellofemoral Conditions. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2017 May;25(5):365-374.
- Browne K, Kurtz CA. How to perform a comprehensive examination of the knee. JAAPA. 2009 Jun;22(6):20-25.
- Hergenroeder AC, Harvey BS. (2017). Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD): Clinical manifestations and diagnosis. Bachur RG, ed. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc.
James Roland started writing professionally in 1987. A former reporter and editor with the "Sarasota Herald-Tribune," he currently oversees such publications as the "Cleveland Clinic Heart Advisor" and UCLA's "Healthy Years." Roland earned his Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Oregon.