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Biceps Femoris Muscle: Knee, Thigh Pain

Pain in the back of the knee going up the outside of the thigh that worsens when walking can indicate bicep femoris muscle dysfunction.

What are the symptoms and pain associated with the biceps femoris muscle?

  • Pain in the back of the knee
  • Pain toward the outside of the knee going up the outside of the thigh
  • Pain worsens while walking
  • Pain in the back of the leg when rising from a sitting position
  • Persistent sitting can cause pain in the front thigh and deep in the buttock
  • Pain is often experienced while sleeping

Where is the biceps femoris muscle?

The biceps femoris is in the back of the thigh and connects the pelvis (ischial tuberosity) to the head of the shin bone (fibula) of the lower leg. It is one of 3 hamstring muscles.

What movements does the biceps femoris muscle control?

  • Bends the knee
  • Twists the bent knee out away from the body
  • Lifts the leg out behind the body

Activities that cause biceps femoris pain and symptoms:

  • Sitting for long periods of time
  • Sitting on a chair with a small seat in which the edge puts pressure on the thigh
  • Sitting on a hard surface putting pressure on the hamstrings
  • Poorly conditioned athletes frequently injure the hamstrings
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Swimming
  • Cycling


Biceps Femoris origin, insertion, actions, innervation

You use the biceps femoris muscle when you bend your knee, twist your knee away from your body and straighten your thigh.

Interesting facts about the biceps femoris:

  • Like the biceps in the arm, the biceps femoris splits into two heads, the short head, and the long head. The short head of the muscle is absent in some people.
  • A braking action of the biceps femoris along the other hamstring muscles help keep the body from falling forward when standing or moving.

Clinical diagnoses to which the biceps femoris muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • L5 radiculopathy
  • Bruised ischial tuberosity
  • Cauda equina syndrome
  • Deep vascular thrombosis (DVT)

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the biceps femoris muscle:

Satellite trigger points associated with the biceps femoris :

  • Semimembranosus
  • Semitendinosus
  • Adductor Magnus
  • Iliopsoas
  • Quadriceps
  • Quadratus Lumborum
  • Paraspinals
  • Rectus Abdominis
  • Gastrocnemius

Products To Help Biceps Femoris Pain

Cold Therapy Gel For Biceps Femoris Injury and Pain

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is an excellent pain relieving gel and I recommend it for those who have sudden onset muscle pain or recent injuries. It is better to use than warm therapy gels and creams for muscle pain caused by inflammation as it cools the area much like ice. A recent study showed that Biofreeze decreased pain 2 times more than ice and the pain relief lasts 9 – 10 longer. If your pain is from a recently strained or strained biceps femoris muscle I would recommend Biofreeze. To treat the biceps femoris rub Biofreeze starting at the top of the back of the thigh just below the hip and apply down to and around the knee.

Hot /Cold Pack For Hamstring Muscles

The Simple Spectra Clay Hot/Cold Wrap is a good choice to provide cold or warm therapy to the biceps femoris and other hamstring muscles The wrap not only provides a consistent temperature but also provides compression which is important for reducing swelling and aiding in faster recovery. The wrap can also be used on other areas of the body.

Warm Therapy Gel for Biceps Femoris Muscle Pain

Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a pain relieving gel that is highly recommended. It provides warmth without burning heat and is great for relieving pain. Applying Sombra to the muscles on the back of the thigh, down into the knee can help reduce pain and tightness caused by the biceps femoris muscle. I recommend Sombra for chronic pain and chronically sore tight hamstring muscles.

Braces and Supports To Help Biceps Femoris Hamstring Injury and Pain

Thigh Wrap For Biceps Femoris Support and Compression

Thigh Brace by Vive covers the thigh and can be used for quadricep and hamstring support and rehabilitation. Secured with two velco fastners, the latex-free neoprene provides support and stays comfortably in place. The wrap provides great compression and warmth to help maintain muscle mobility and reduce pain.

Knee Brace for Biceps Femoris Knee Pain

The biceps femoris muscle can contribute to painful, stiff buckling knees. The Professional Choice Knee Support is highly recommended. It provides support to weak buckling and painful knees while providing heat to help keep the muscle, ligaments, tendons and joint mobile. The two Velcro bands are adjustable and allow you to adjust the compression. Although it looks bulky, it is comfortable and was made for people who ride horses who bend and straighten their knees for extended periods of time. It does not bind or pinch. If you are prone to knee injury and weak buckling knees this brace will give you relief and support.

Compression Leggings for Biceps Femoris Muscle Support

Compression wear is not just preventative wear for exercise. Compression wear can also aid in muscle injury support and reduce swelling during recovery time. If you are considering compression wear look for graduated compression. Graduated compression provides tight compression at the lower end of your limb and gradually decreases compressive force toward the top of the limb. This is important for circulation and inflammation reduction. To fully support the biceps femoris muscle it is important that you use leggings that go down past the knee so you treat the full length of the muscle. Compression leggings for men as well compression leggings for women come in all sizes, have a choice of colors and are available in various price points. The leggings can be worn alone or under pants.

Men's Leggings
Women's Leggings

Self Treatment Tools For Biceps Femoris Pain

I recommend The Tiger Tail 18″ Roller to use on both upper and lower leg muscles to help relieve muscle tension and pain. I like the Tiger Tail for its ease of use and because it does not strain the wrists and hands. You do not have to contort into different positions or get on the floor or up against the wall to use this foam roller, simply roll it up or down the muscle. The 18″ is a good size to use on leg muscles as well as other muscles. The roller is also recommended by physical therapists, athletic trainers and doctors for self-treatment of muscles in between appointments. To use the Tiger Tail on the biceps femoris muscles start just below the hip and roll down covering the back of the thigh. Cover the entire back of the thigh including just to the inside and outside of the back of the thigh. Start with light strokes for a minute or two and build into more pressure and more time. Do not overdo as you can irritate the muscles!

Self Treatment for Biceps Femoris Thigh and Knee Pain

Do you know that small knots and other dysfunction in the biceps femoris muscle can contribute to aching pain in the knee and can make it difficult to stand from a sitting position?

If this pain pattern sounds familiar I recommend that you purchase Claire Davies The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. Mr. Davies explains the trigger point phenomenon and muscle pain in everyday language. But what makes this book worth its weight in gold are the individual muscle trigger point treatments that Davies has compiled. His diagrams and step by step instructions help you locate which muscles are contributing to your pain and how to find the trigger point and treat it. It takes time and practice to master finding trigger points, but once you learn you have a tool and method to help relieve muscle pain throughout the body. If you have unresolved knee pain, while walking and/or sleeping it maybe trigger points in the biceps femoris muscle. Deactivating trigger points can reduce or eliminate this pain. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.