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Pulsating sensation on the knee. No cyst or discoloration. Reason?

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Practicing since : 2001
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Hi, I've been experiencing this annoying pulsating sensation in my right knee (medial side) for the past 2 days. This sensation is intermittent (~ 15 episodes/d and each one lasts like a minute or so without any pain) and when it comes on I can actually see/feel my knee pulsating through my pants very well. There is no cyst or pain behind knee, and no discoloration of that extremity or anything like that. I've been drinking enough fluids and eating as usual and do run a few times/wk. What could this be (never had it in the past)?
Posted Fri, 13 Jul 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Shiva Kumar R 3 hours later
Hello and thank you for sending your question.

Your question is a good one and I will work on providing you with some information and recommendations regarding the symptoms you are experiencing.

Regarding the pulsatile feeling in the right medial knee, possibilities are arterial or venous pulsations, benign fasciculations, muscle twitches and radiculopathies due to irritation of the spinal nerves exiting the cord. If the pulsatile sensation in the knee is synchronous with the radial pulsations in the hand, possibility of arterial pulsations transmitted to the surface is the likely possibility and does not require any treatment.

Benign fasciculations is characterized by twitching in the voluntary muscles of the hands and legs. Twitching's may be occasional or may go on nearly continuously and intentional movement of the involved muscle causes the fasciculations to cease immediately. As the name implies (benign) it is a self limiting problem and does not require any evaluation or treatment.

So I feel the pulsatile could be a muscle twitch or a transmitted pulsations by an artery. These are usually intermittent and does not require any evaluation or treatment. If symptoms increase or you notice additional problems you need to see your GP for a good clinical examination and consultation. Anxiety at times can cause symptoms like these and requires no treatment.

I thank you again for submitting your question. I hope you have found my response to be helpful. If you have additional concerns I would be happy to discuss them with you.


Dr Shiva Kumar R
Consultant Neurologist & Epileptologist.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Pulsating sensation on the knee. No cyst or discoloration. Reason? 18 hours later
Thanks for the information! I never did have the chance to check if my radial pulsations were synchronous with the ones in the knee during the episodes or if the movement of the muscles resolved the sx because i read your response afterwards only, and have not had any episodes since. These sx were definitely interesting, but awkward as well, and hopefully they resolve soon. They have become less frequent and last much shorter in duration today(only had 3 episodes all day with each one lasting ~ 5 sec). Once again, thanks for the great response!
Answered by Dr. Shiva Kumar R 7 hours later

Thanks for the response

As the symptoms are less frequent now we will just keep you under observation. I have a feeling that these are benign and will resolve completely without any intervention.

Wishing you good health.


Dr Shiva Kumar R
Consultant Neurologist & Epileptologist.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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