- Why do my legs suddenly give out?
- How frequently do adults experience leg weakness?
- Minor conditions that can make your legs give out
- Traumatic injuries that can make your legs give out
- Spine-related conditions that cause legs to give out
- Treatment for this condition
- Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive spine expertise
- More resources for you
- 7 reasons your knee gives way: symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
- Frequently Asked Questions:
- Treatments that reduce knee buckling may help prevent falls in older adults
- Knee buckling: Causes, exercises, and treatment
- Why Does My Knee Give Out? Is It Osteoarthritis?
- Possible Causes of Knee Giving Out
- Ligaments of the Knee
- Osteoarthritis of the Knee
- Treatments for Knee Injuries & Osteoarthritis
- Book A Physiotherapy Assessment For Knee Issues
Why do my legs suddenly give out?
Learn about whether you need medical evaluation if your legs give out.
It is alarming to suddenly have your legs give out as you take a step. However, you might be surprised to learn that many adults experience sudden leg weakness, and it is not always a serious condition.
Of course, that doesn’t make it any less alarming when it happens to you. Pain interventionalist Dr. Catherine Choi talks about the frequency of leg weakness.
And she reviews some of the medical conditions that can cause your legs to suddenly give out.
How frequently do adults experience leg weakness?
“Having legs give out is relatively common among adults,” explains Dr. Choi. “One research study reported that almost 12 percent of adults age 36 to 94 experienced at least one knee-buckling episode in a three-month period. The study notes that people experience temporary leg weakness regardless of fitness level.”
Dr. Choi explains that legs can give out for a number of different reasons. In some cases, the cause is temporary and not worrisome. But in other cases, a collapsing leg is a symptom of a serious underlying medical issue.
Minor conditions that can make your legs give out
“A wide range of conditions can cause temporary leg weakness,” says Dr. Choi. “If you have any concerns, of course we are happy to see you at Summit for an evaluation.
But I think it’s also helpful to understand the circumstances that might make your legs give out.
Let’s start with some of the benign reasons that legs give out as well as conditions that increase the risk of joint instability.”
- A leg spasm. Any muscle can spasm temporarily and without warning. You may experience this kind of muscle issue while exercising or when you get up suddenly after being stationary for a long period of time. When leg muscles spasm, it can be embarrassing. But it’s not a cause for concern so long as the numbness doesn’t persist.
- Arthritis damage affecting the tissues and structures of the knee joint can cause joint instability and joint collapse. “If arthritis is affecting joint function, we can evaluate your joint and offer treatments to help with pain and possibly slow joint deterioration.
- Multiple sclerosis. This autoimmune condition attacks the central nervous system, causing muscle weakness and tightness. It can also cause balance issues. All of these symptoms increase the risk of knee or leg weakness.
Traumatic injuries that can make your legs give out
“Legs can collapse as the result of a traumatic injury,” notes Dr. Choi. “Injuries can trigger immediate leg disfunction. But in other cases, untreated damage may increase over time before affecting leg stability.”
- A torn meniscus. Sudden knee trauma or repetitive wear and tear on knee cartilage may damage the meniscus, leading to interference with knee function.
- Trapped bone or cartilage fragments. When the knee experiences trauma, broken or torn bits of bone or cartilage may become trapped between the bones in the joint.
- Torn ligaments. A blow to the knee or a sudden twisting motion can cause ligaments to tear, resulting in knee collapse.
- Kneecap dislocation. This painful injury occurs when your patella pops fully or partially the femur groove. Depending on the severity of the dislocation, the kneecap may feel unstable with sensations of shifting in the joint.
Spine-related conditions that cause legs to give out
“The nerves that run along the spinal column connect our extremities to our brain,” says Dr. Choi. “Because the nerves in the spine carry messages to our extremities, we sometimes find that leg dysfunction is related to spine damage affecting these nerves.”
- A pinched nerve. A pinched nerve in the spine may prevent brain signals from reaching our legs. The symptoms of a pinched nerve can include pain, numbness, tingling or prickling sensations, and muscle weakness in our legs or in other parts of our body.
- Femoral neuropathy. The femoral nerve is one of the largest nerves in the body and controls muscles that straighten the leg. Femoral neuropathy, or femoral nerve dysfunction, is a condition characterized by inability to feel or move your leg because the femoral nerve is damaged. Causes of nerve damage include direct injury, tumor growth on the spine, prolonged pressure on the spine, and diabetes.
- A spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries are among the most common reasons that legs give out. These injuries vary in severity but should always be evaluated immediately by a spine specialist. This is important because when traumatic damage to the spine causes nerve damage, there is a risk of paralysis.
Treatment for this condition
Medical treatment for buckling legs will depend on the cause and seriousness of the condition. Treatment options range from rest, ice, compression, and elevation for minor injuries to brace and bandage support, physical therapy, or surgery for severe or chronic leg problems.
“If your legs give out, but you recover quickly, you may not need to go straight to the doctor,” says Dr. Choi. “However, whenever leg dysfunction includes severe pain that does not improve and continues for a few days, difficulty using stairs, ongoing inability to perform daily activities, or redness and fever, it’s time to make an appointment with your spine specialist.”
Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive spine expertise
Summit Orthopedics’ Spine Care program is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance for the comprehensive expertise of our patient-centered care. Our back specialists diagnose spine problems and design custom treatment plans built on a conservative, nonsurgical approach.
Most patients find relief through treatments including guided injections, specialized physical therapy, biofeedback, exercise, activity modification, and medication. When conservative care does not relieve symptoms, our highly skilled surgeons offer proven, evidence-based surgical options.
Together with you, we will determine the right course of action.
Start your journey to a healthy spine. Find your spine expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a spine consultation.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Plymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.
More resources for you
Share this on
7 reasons your knee gives way: symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
Imagine running to catch that bus your late for and your knee gives way! Or you playing your favourite sport and when the knee buckles underneath you.
Having your knee give way can be a scary thought. Not many people think about the reasons why your knee gives way until it happens to them. It’s at this point that knowing what’s going on and how to fix it becomes very important.
This article is about highlighting the main reasons your knee gives way. I’ll start with the most common reasons and work down to those that may not occur so frequently.
My aim is not only to inform you, but to help you do what you need to overcome this condition.
So, let’s start from the top and look at the number one reason that your knee gives way.
The Joint Clinic [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]
ACL injuries are very common and can have lasting effects on your knees. The Medical Journal of Australia reports that in Australia, there are upwards of 17,000 injuries per year.
Looking at the statistics you can see that the rate of ACL injury is only increasing with increased population and participation in cutting sports such as netball and soccer.
The amount of reconstructions being performed are also increasing, with Australia currently having the highest amount of ACL reconstructions in the world.
Acute ACL tears are usually obvious. Some people describe a loud snap that can be heard from several meters away. Within 30 minutes there will be swelling which could make the knee twice its normal size.
Normal symptoms of an ACL tear include:
- Knee swelling
- Knee giving way
- Loss of range into knee flexion and extension
- Pain during walking
Giving way of the knee occurs because the ACL’s main function is to stop the shin bone from sliding forward during twisting movements. Without the support of this ligament, the shin will move forward and cause the knee to buckle.
I have noticed a change in trends for in the management of ACL injuries as further research emerges. From the not so distant future we would operate on all ACL tears to restore normal function of the knee.
Now a trial of non-surgical management is recommended for at least 3 months before a decision about surgery is made. This is because there are now high-level studies that show even athletes can return to high level sport without an ACL.
Many clinicians now advocate for conservative therapy because there is a big chance it will be successful. Even if conservative therapy isn’t a success, (meaning your knee continues to give way) you can always have the surgery later with no increased risk of damaging the knee.
Rehabilitation for ACL injury is unique as every person will present differently. However, there are some core elements which will remain the same, these involve:
- Lower limb and core strengthening
- Running and cutting drills
- Lower limb control during jumping and single leg tasks
- Sport specific drills as you improve
- Education on safe return to sport and load management
For further information on ACL injuries, please see our ACL injury page.
With the baby boomer generation coming of age, we are seeing a rise in the total number of people with knee osteoarthritis.
This is a condition that generally progresses as we age and is characterised by the break-down of healthy cartilage in your knee. Other signs include the formation of osteophytes which are little bony spurs on the outside of the joint and the breakdown of ligaments in the knee.
Keep in mind, some people will have arthritic changes on X-ray and NO pain. This brings me to explaining some of the common symptoms for arthritis
Symptoms of arthritis will progress as the condition worsens (this may take years, there is no way of knowing medically), they typically include:
- Morning pain and stiffness
- Stiffness and pain when standing after prolonged sitting
- Cracking, grinding
- Swelling and gradual loss of range
- Locking and giving way can be rarer symptoms
Although having your knee give way is a rarer symptom of osteoarthritis, it is important to take note. Mechanical symptoms giving way means the knee is not stable and these symptoms warrant a referral to your local orthopaedic surgeon.
Unfortunately, there is no long-term cure for knee osteoarthritis currently. The best solution we have, is to eventually replace the knee with an operation called the total knee replacement.
But don’t think that all hope is lost, because there is good evidence that exercise and weight loss can reduce symptoms by up to 50%.
Meniscal tears can be associated with giving way of the knee. There are many different types of meniscal tears, but the ones associated with giving way of the knee are usually the bigger ‘bucket handle’ type tears.
Meniscal tears are usually sustained with twisting movements under load. They can occur with forceful movements, but sometimes they can result from something as simple as getting up from sitting.
Usually acute meniscal tears will happen to younger people, and these are more ly to be bigger bucket handle tears. As we age, our meniscus are more prone to tearing, but these are more degenerate tears as a result of osteoarthritis.
If the tear is sizeable, then it is possible that locking and giving way of the knee occur. Other symptoms will involve, pain with weightbearing, swelling, inability to fully straighten the knee.
For large bucket handle tears, surgery is usually required to mend the tear and try to preserve as much of the meniscus as possible. If the knee isn’t giving way and locking, then it is appropriate and safe to trial physiotherapy and see how it goes.
A ligament tear can take up to 12 months to heal because of the poor blood supply to the meniscus to don’t be concerned if it’s not better in a couple of weeks. By 3 months you should be make progress but may still have pain associated.
The knee has four major stabilising ligaments that give it stability through range. One I previously mentioned is the ACL. If you have tears in the other 3 ligaments, you may also experience giving way of the knee.
Right next to the ACL, on the inside of the knee, we also have a PCL. This ligament helps to stop your shin bone from hyperextending.
This ligament is usually injured with dashboard car injuries, where the shin is forced into the dash and the knee hyperextends.
If your PCL is torn, you won’t feel stable when you fully straighten the knee and the knee can give out backwards and buckle.
The major inside stabiliser of the knee is your MCL. This ligament stops the knee from buckling inwards.
The MCL is damaged when your knee is forced inwards. As you are forced into being knock kneed, the MCL is stretched and can partially or fully tear.
Much the MCL, your LCL stops the knee from bowing outwards. It is put under strain when there is a force that pushes the knee out, a kick to the inside of the knee.
The solution to ligament injuries heavily relies on how much of the ligament is torn. For most of these the first step would be to get appropriate imaging an MRI to assess the damage.
Small and medium sized tears can usually be helped with bracing the knee first, followed by physiotherapy and progressive exercises.
If the ligaments are fully torn they will usually require surgery to fix it.
Patella instability is defined by constant dislocations of your knee cap. It can be difficult to manage, and I have had patients whose knee will dislocate up to two and three times a day.
This condition affects between 7-49 people every 100,000. The knee cap usually dislocates outwards and after your first dislocation you are much more ly to dislocate again.
The most problematic part of patella instability is the knee cap dislocating. This will usually happen in the early phase of knee bend as there is not much groove for the knee cap to sit in.
Sometimes as your knee dislocates, your knee gives way at the same time. This is due to the sudden loss of power of your quadriceps muscle as it attaches onto the knee cap.
Other symptoms could include grinding, clicking and discomfort or pain in the knee.
If the knee is constantly giving way, then surgery may have to be considered. I would still always give strengthening a go first, because if this works it will save you money and potentially prevent any problems resulting from surgery.
If you want to try strengthening, you need to make sure your knee control is just right. Online physiotherapy will be perfect to help in this journey as we can construct an exercise program that will be perfect for your needs.
Some basic exercises to start with would be squats and side bridges. From here you would move closer to single leg strength exercises and motor control around the hip.
Surgical options would include a repair of your MPFL (medial patella-femoral ligament), a tibial tuberosity transfer or a lateral retinaculum release.
Your quadriceps muscle is located on the front of your thigh. It’s the major muscle responsible for straightening the knee.
Sometimes your knee gives way because of a lack of strength in this muscle – also called an insufficiency. There can be numerous reasons for this muscle being weak:
- Pain inhibition (if your knee is very sore, your brain can switch of the quadriceps muscle)
- Weakness post-surgery – ACL or TKR, or meniscus repairs
- Nerve impingement in the back
- Deconditioning from lack of use – with people who are very sedentary
With quadriceps insufficiency you will feel your thigh muscles are weak. You may not really trust your leg and would prefer to use crutches or other walking aids.
If you have weakness due to pain inhibition, there may be associate injuries with your knee causing your quadriceps to not work as well.
The major treatment for quadriceps insufficiency is strength training. Now your body is very good at cheating as your attempting to strengthen weak muscles. I remember having a young fit guy who could still climb stairs with no use of his quadriceps!
The key in early strength training is isolation. You want to really isolate the quadriceps, so they can’t get doing the work.
I have attached a video for my favourite exercise to begin with in quadriceps training below:
When your quadriceps strength is improving its often good to begin a more generalised strength program. We have some exercises to strengthen your calves in our Achilles Tendinopathy ulimate guide.
These are folds in the membrane around your joint in the knee. They are thought to be left over material from the development stage of birth. Kind of your appendix, they don’t serve much of a purpose except to get irritated in some people.
Usually the plica will get caught in the front and inside part of your knee. It can get caught rubbing against your knee cap through movements which involve bending the knee.
Synovial plica syndrome is more common in the younger years of life up to about 30 years old. There is wide variation in the exact prevalence of this condition, however it’s thought to occur in about 10% of the population. (I think it could be less than this)
Your knee giving way is not a common symptom of this condition. The reason I included this diagnosis is people will report a ‘pseudo-locking’ where the knee feels it locks. This is also often described as giving way.
Other common symptoms include:
- Knee pain
- Clicking, clunking, catching
- A popping sensation with squats or loaded knee bends
These symptoms will usually be activity dependent, however there may be an aching that remains after.
This condition will commonly occur due to a lack of quadriceps strength and control around the knee joint. I have included below a video for an exercise to help get your quadriceps strength back.
Often this will respond well to Physiotherapy, including taping, exercise, load management (load mx blog) and some over the counter pain killers. This condition can be treated via online physiotherapy as the mainline treatment will involve exercises on hip and knee control.
If physiotherapy isn’t giving full pain relief the next option would be a cortisone injection. I would recommend only trying one of these as there is no further benefit to try additional doses and they can affect tendon integrity over time.
Your knee gives way due to all sorts of ailments. We went through some of the main culprits, but there are still more multiple sclerosis that can give you knee buckling symptoms.
If you have knee giving way, feel free to book your consultation with Click Physiotherapy for a video conference and we can discuss treatment of this with you in person!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Giving way in the knee caused due to a number of different reasons including; meniscal damage, weak muscles, arthritis, ligament damage and more.
This will depend on the reason for your knee giving way. Giving way can be treated with physiotherapy to strengthen muscles in conditions ACL injuries or arthritis, however the knee may need surgical management if there is major instability in the knee.
If you are concerned about your knee, it is a good idea to see your doctor. They can help diagnose the cause of giving way and then refer you for the most appropriate treatment.
Treatments that reduce knee buckling may help prevent falls in older adults
Symptoms of knee instability in older adults may indicate an increased risk of falling and of experiencing the various physical and psychological effects that can result from falling, according to a study published in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). The findings indicate that determining effective treatments for knee instability should be an important priority as clinicians care for aging patients.
Knee buckling, often described as a knee “giving way,” is a symptom of knee instability that frequently affects older individuals, in particular those with knee pain and knee osteoarthritis (OA), and may be caused by muscle weakness and balance difficulties.
If knee instability leads to frequent falls and fall-related injuries, exercises and other interventions that stabilize the knee may help maintain older individuals' health and quality of life.
To investigate this potential link, Michael Nevitt, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, and his colleagues prospectively studied 1842 participants in the Multicenter Osteoarthritis Study (MOST) who were an average of 67 years old at the start and who had, or were at high risk for, knee osteoarthritis.
At the end of 5 years, 16.8 percent reported knee buckling, and at the end of 7 years, 14.1 percent had recurrent (?2) falls. Bucklers at year 5 had a 1.6- to 2.5-times higher lihood of recurrent falls, fear of falling, and poor balance confidence at year 7.
Those who fell when a knee buckled at the start of the study had a 4.
5-times, 2-times, and 3-times higher lihood 2 years later of recurrent falls, significant fall injuries, and fall injuries that limited activity, respectively, and they were 4-times more ly to have poor balance.
“Falls, injury from falls and poor balance confidence are extremely common and debilitating problems in older people.
The present study has demonstrated for the first time that knee instability and knee buckling are important causes of these problems in the very large segment of the older population suffering from knee pain,” said Dr. Nevitt.
“Fortunately, it may be possible to treat knee instability and prevent knee buckling with targeted exercises. Joint replacement surgery can also improve knee stability.
” He added that pain is the predominant symptom of knee osteoarthritis, and symptoms of instability such as knee buckling and falls may be overlooked by treating professionals. The most important immediate impact of these findings on patient care is that health professionals should query their patients with knee OA about instability, buckling, and falls, and work with them to take preventive actions, including proper use of walking aids, leg strengthening, and appropriate footwear.”
make a difference: sponsored opportunity
Materials provided by Wiley. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
- Michael C. Nevitt, Irina Tolstykh, Najia Shakoor, Uyen S. Nguyen, Neil A. Segal, Cora Lewis, David T. Felson. Symptoms of Knee Instability are Risk Factors for Recurrent Falls. Arthritis Care & Research, 2015; DOI: 10.1002/acr.22811
Knee buckling: Causes, exercises, and treatment
- Exercises and physical therapy
- When to see a doctor
Knee buckling can be a sign of injury or damage to the knee. It can increase the risk of falling and can prolong recovery from knee problems.
Knee buckling is relatively common among adults. In one study, 11.8 percent of adults aged 36–94 reported at least one episode of knee buckling in the past 3 months. It can affect people of all ages and levels of fitness.
In this article, we look at the causes of knee buckling, exercises that can help, treatment, and when to see a doctor.
Share on PinterestKnee buckling is common among adults and may have many different causes.
Knee buckling is a complicated condition with many different potential causes.
Many people associate knee buckling with osteoarthritis. However, one study found that more than half of the participants who reported episodes of knee buckling did not show any signs of arthritis in X-rays.
The complex structure of the knee joint can make it difficult to determine what is causing knee buckling.
The knee consists of two joints, which allow it to move in different directions. The knee has support from:
- tendons, which connect the leg muscles to the knee bones
- ligaments, which connect the knee bones together
- cartilage, which allows smooth movement of the joints and acts as a shock absorber
It is possible to damage any of these different parts, sometimes in combination with other injuries to the knee. This can lead to instability in the knee and knee buckling.
Certain factors may be related to knee buckling. These include knee pain, which can occur for a variety of reasons, and weak muscles at the front of the leg.
The following may also contribute to the lihood of knee buckling:
- Arthritis, which can cause severe pain in the knees and create joint instability. Disease, injury, and worn cartilage can all lead to arthritis.
- A torn meniscus, which interferes with the normal motion of the knee.
- A fragment of bone or cartilage becoming trapped between the bones.
- Tearing of any of the ligaments, which can occur as a result of a blow to the knees or a sudden twisting motion.
- Partial or complete dislocation of the kneecap.
- An inflammation of the synovial folds of the knee, or plicae, which can be painful and cause the knee to pop, crack, or buckle.
- Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition that attacks the central nervous system. It can cause muscle weakness and tightness, in addition to balance and sensory problems, which may all contribute to knee buckling.
- Damage to the femoral nerve, which controls the muscles that straighten the leg, can lead to a sensation of the knee giving way.
Certain exercises can strengthen the leg muscles and improve knee stability, which may help to prevent or reduce knee buckling.
A doctor or physical therapist can design an exercise program to address the needs of a person worried about knee buckling. This will usually focus on:
- strengthening the muscles that support the knee and keep the kneecap in proper alignment
- increasing the range of motion in the upper and lower legs
- reducing stiffness
- promoting flexibility
A typical knee rehabilitation program will run for 4–6 weeks. However, it is usually best to continue doing these exercises for as long as possible to maintain the health of the knees.
Specific exercises will stretch and strengthen:
- the quadriceps — the muscles in the front of the legs
- the hamstrings — the muscles in the back of the legs
- the calves — the muscles in the back of the lower legs
- the gluteal muscles — the muscles in the buttocks
Following a knee rehabilitation program will help a person by:
- improving their ability to bend and straighten their legs
- increasing the weight their legs can support
- building strength in their inner and outer thighs, and expanding their range of motion
It is important to start these exercises very slowly and gently. People need to gradually build up strength and flexibility in their legs and knees before moving on to tougher exercises.
However, to make progress, it is important for people to challenge themselves a little, both at home and in physical therapy sessions. It can be hard to achieve the right balance, but a trained therapist can help to ensure that the level of exertion is suitable.
People who experience knee buckling may also need to adapt their exercise habits. For example, a person with arthritis may need to switch from high-impact activities, such as running or tennis, to lower-impact activities, such as swimming or cycling.
Cycling can also help to build strength in the upper legs, which will contribute to improved stability in the knee.
Share on PinterestHome treatment for minor injuries to the knee includes applying an ice pack.
Treatment for knee buckling will depend on the cause. Common treatment options include:
- Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). This is a common home treatment for minor injuries. It involves resting the injured knee, applying ice, wrapping it snugly in a soft dressing, and elevating the leg as much as possible.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These are available over the counter and include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. They can help ease pain and limit the swelling that can occur alongside knee buckling.
- Support. Using braces, bandages, and physical therapy tape can take some of the pressure off the injured area to promote healing and help individuals continue moving while they strengthen their muscles.
- Ultrasound. Trained therapists use this technique, sometimes in combination with steroids, to help reduce the inflammation and pain that can lead to knee buckling.
- Physical therapy. Individuals can learn techniques to strengthen muscles, build endurance, and improve balance and coordination.
- Reduction. This is when a doctor or therapist manipulates a kneecap back into the correct position.
- Prescription medications. A doctor may prescribe stronger pain relievers for more severe pain and inflammation.
- Surgery. People with severe or chronic knee problems may require surgery to repair damaged ligaments, tendons, and cartilage, or to realign the kneecap.
Researchers have demonstrated that exercise programs can make a big difference to the lives of people with arthritis and knee instability. One study followed people as they took part in a 12-week exercise program focusing on muscle strength and daily functioning. The participants reported a 20–40 percent reduction in pain and interference with everyday life.
Lifestyle modifications can also help people manage knee buckling. The following may help to reduce the stress on unstable knees:
- losing weight
- taking advantage of ramps, elevators, and escalators to avoid using stairs
- using canes and other devices to assist walking
Minor knee injuries are common. Many people recover from them without medical intervention, often by trying some variation of the RICE approach or other home treatments.
However, some conditions that cause knee buckling can get worse without medical treatment. Anyone who experiences the following symptoms in addition to knee buckling should see a doctor:
- severe pain
- pain and swelling in the knee that lasts for more than a few days
- loud popping or clicking sounds with an accompanying pain
- difficulty walking or using stairs
- ongoing limitation of routine activities
Why Does My Knee Give Out? Is It Osteoarthritis?
Have you noticed that lately, your knee gives out when climbing up and down stairs, walking on uneven surfaces, or shifting your body weight from one leg to the other?
Are everyday movements becoming difficult or painful, accompanied by the feeling that your knee is unstable or locking when moving?
Do you have swelling in your knee? Do you hear or feel a grinding, popping, or clicking sensation?
Whatever your mix of symptoms, you’re wondering: why is my knee giving out, and why does it hurt?
If you’re seeking medical care, find a physiotherapy clinic near you and book an assessment for symptoms of your knee giving out today.
Possible Causes of Knee Giving Out
The knee joint is pretty complex and is made up of bones, ligaments, and cartilage, all of which can be weakened by injuries or the everyday wear and tear that comes with age.
Although there are several causes for knee instability and pain, joint injury and osteoarthritis of the knee are two of the most common reasons for a knee to lock up and give out.
Ligaments of the Knee
Your knees have four main ligaments that stabilize the patella, or knee cap, and join the thigh and shin bones together.
These ligaments are called:
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL), on the inside of the joint
- Lateral collateral ligament (LCL), on the outside of the joint
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), in the middle of the joint
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), in the middle of the joint
When these ligaments are stretched or torn, the knee becomes unstable, causing it to give way unexpectedly and become painful while doing everyday activities.
If your knee is giving out, one of the most common causes could be that you’ve injured one of these ligaments.
You don’t have to be a pro athlete to experience a knee injury. Ligaments can be injured during activities that involve:
- Quickly changing direction
- Sports (i.e., a blow to the knee)
Concerned about an injury that’s causing your knee to give out? Book an assessment with a physiotherapist today.
Osteoarthritis of the Knee
Another common cause for your knee giving way could be the onset of osteoarthritis of the knee, which is the breakdown and gradual loss of surrounding cartilage.
This condition can be accompanied by pain, stiffness, swelling, and a grinding or grating sound when bending the knee.
Did you know? Osteoarthritis of the knee affects one every ten Canadians and doesn’t just affect the elderly, as its onset is now being detected 16 years earlier than it was in the 1990s.
Although there isn’t one exact reason why osteoarthritis of the knee develops, some causes include:
- Family history of osteoarthritis
- Previous knee injury
- Being overweight
- Increasing age
If you’re concerned about any of these symptoms, book a physiotherapy assessment for knee pain today.
Treatments for Knee Injuries & Osteoarthritis
Most treatments for a knee injury and osteoarthritis of the knee work best when started early.
If your knee is giving out, you should seek an assessment from a qualified physiotherapist.
After the assessment, your physiotherapist may recommend bracing to help stabilize your knee and will offer you a treatment plan to help:
- Reduce pain
- Strengthen the knee
- Increase range of motion
- Improve joint stability
- Modify your activity to prevent re-injury
Book A Physiotherapy Assessment For Knee Issues
If you’re concerned about symptoms of your knee giving out, book an appointment with a qualified physiotherapist to get a full assessment and treatment plan in place.