Pain on the outside of the knee – Self relief

Trigger points and tension in the thigh can often lead to pain in the outside of the knee.

With a self-massage, you can usually get the pain under control quickly.

All that you need is a foam roller.

In the following, I’ll show you, step by step, what you have to do to relax your thigh and eliminate its trigger points.

1. Pain on the outside of the knee: self-massage of the outside of the thigh

Muscle: Vastus lateralis

The vastus lateralis a muscle at your outer thigh. It belongs to the quadriceps femoris (Latin for “four-headed muscle of the femur”) and has the function of straightening your knee joint.

When there is tension or a trigger point in the muscle, this excess tension is transferred directly to the knee joint and often leads to pain in the outer knee.

Getting rid of this pain is usually quite easy, although it can be rather painful at times.

  • Lie down on a foam roller and explore the outside of your thigh for areas that are sensitive to pressure.
  • Once you have done that, slowly roll a few times over these areas. In doing this, you will be working the entire vastus lateralis.
  • Repeat the massage daily until the pain in the outer side of your knee is a thing of the past.

This can take several days or even weeks, depending on how stubborn the muscle tension is. However, you can expect an initial reduction in the pain within a few days.

You can expect a reduction in the pain within a few days.

Pain on the outside of the knee: Vastus lateralis self-massage with a foam roller

There are two massage positions shown in the pictures. For a more intense massage, simply place the upper leg on top of the lower one.

Examples of massage positions


Normal pressure on the muscle.

Control the pressure with your front leg.


Increased pressure on the muscle for a more intense self-massage.

2. Pain on the outside of the knee: My tips

The massage will be somewhat painful, especially at the beginning. That is normal, but don’t overdo it. On the pain scale from 1 – 10, you should be somewhere between 4 and 7.

Proceed cautiously with the various positions and keep your massage brief. Five minutes a day is fully sufficient for this one muscle.

However, you will only see results if you do this massage regularly.

Don’t give up too soon, even if the massage seems a bit difficult for you or if you are not sure about the movements you should be doing.

Try out different things and don’t let yourself get discouraged. I promise, with a little practice, you’ll get the hang of it in no time!
If the pain in the outer side of your knee is so intense that you can’t roll over your thigh at all, then just lie on the spot that is painful.

Apply just enough pressure so that you are still “comfortable”. Stay in this position for 30 – 60 seconds and then move on to the next area.

Thanks for reading and I hope that the pain on the outside of your knee will soon be under control.