What Causes Of Knee Locking
The knee is composed of bone, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. Damage to any of these structures can lead to knee locking and instability, though the culprit is often the meniscus, the component made of cartilage. “True” knee locking, where the ability to extend the knee is restricted for a few minutes, is generally caused by damage to bones or cartilage that compose the knee itself. “Pseudo”knee locking, where very brief locking is caused by temporary muscle spasm in response to pain, is usually due to damage of surrounding structures.
Surgeons Cut Out Everything But The Cause
If your lateral meniscus is getting crushed 100s of times because your popliteus isnt pulling it out of the way, your lateral meniscus would get a tear, that you can see on MRI. In our modern medical system, your trained to go to an orthopedic surgeon to get an MRI when you have pain. A knee meniscus tear on MRI usually leads to surgery for the tear. The thing is in meniscus tear surgery nothing is repaired, the surgeon cuts out of the piece of meniscus getting in the way. Operating on a lateral meniscus tear caused by a dysfunctional Popliteus muscle makes no common sense. The focus should be on the cause and not the effect .
Causes Of True Locked Knee
Some potential causes of true locked knee include:
The menisci are two pieces of c-shaped cartilage that sit either side of the knee joint. They act as a cushion between the bones of the shin and thigh.
If a meniscus tears, a fragment can break away and become stuck in the knee joint, causing the joint to lock.
A meniscal tear can occur during forceful twisting or rotation of the knee. Other causes include overuse and degenerative changes to the knee.
Loose bodies in the knee
Like cartilage, bone fragments can also embed themselves in the knee joint, causing it to lock.
Loose bodies such as cartilage and bone fragments can occur due to injury or osteoarthritis.
Certain injuries to the knee can cause the kneecap, or patella, to move out of position. This is called patella dislocation. It can cause the knee to lock during extension.
Knee joint inflammation
If the structures within the knee joint become swollen and inflamed, they may prevent extension of the knee. Swelling could occur as a result of injury, overuse, or osteoarthritis.
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A Hit From The Side Can Injure Both The Medial Collateral Ligament And The Anterior Cruciate Ligament
So most patients will say, I got hit from the side. I felt a pop and then my knee became unstable, so that would be an injury here to the medial collateral ligament on the inside, which is a stretching injury. And then a tearing injury on the anterior cruciate ligament, which is in the middle of the knee, that creates stability for rotation deformity so those are two things to consider if you do feel a pop, particularly after a high impact. Thats something to consider.
You should go see an orthopedic surgeon immediately. Ice the knee, keep it elevated. Try not to do any cutting, twisting and pivoting activities, but just go ahead and get evaluated by a physician just to confirm whether or not the ligament is injured.
Does A Locked Knee Hurt
When a knee becomes locked, it is difficult to straighten it. In some cases, people who suffer from true locked knee pain may also suffer from muscle pain. A person who has a loose body within a joint may also experience chronic knee stiffness, which is a common sign of a locked knee.
It is a fairly common joint condition that prevents the knee from moving in any direction because of a locking joint. A knee lock does not automatically imply that surgery, a severe knee pain treatment, is the best option for knee pain. Rest, specific stretching and exercises, and ice packs can be used to alleviate knee pain at times. Meniscus tears are thought to be the cause of locked knees. When the pain becomes severe, compression can be applied on the affected area, inflammation can be reduced, and cartilage can be soothed. Pseudolocked knees cause pain when the muscles or bone become strained or injured. If you have a pseudo locked knee, physiotherapy is your best option. Physical therapy and cold compression should be combined with anti-inflammatory drugs. Pain relief for chronic knee pain can be obtained in a matter of minutes, without the risk of addiction or the risk of NSAIDs.
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What Does A Locking Knee Feel Like
What is knee locking? When your knee becomes stuck in one position for a brief period of time, it is referred to as knee locking. When you try to move your leg, it may appear that your knee is popping or catching, or it may buckle under you while standing.
How To Avoid Pain While Straightening Your Knees
When straightening your knees, make sure they are soft and not locked in. When the chest and pelvic region are pushed out, it causes undue strain on the lower back. It is also difficult to maintain proper balance in an unnatural position. The hips should be in a neutral position, with the ribs facing in the opposite direction. If you experience pain while straightening your knee, it is most likely due to a lack of oxygen in the tissue or damage to the joint surface of the larger bones in the leg .
To Treat A Meniscus Tear
A meniscus tear is the most common cause of a true knee lock. To treat a meniscus tear, your doctor will likely recommend rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication. They are also likely to recommend physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around your knee and in your legs, which will help stabilize your knee joint and reduce pain and locking.
If you keep having symptoms, and especially if locking continues, your doctor will probably recommend surgery. In children and young adults, meniscus tears can usually be repaired. However, in older people and in severe tears, surgical repair may not be possible. In this case, a surgeon will try to trim your meniscus to prevent it from getting caught in your knee.
After your surgery, you will need a period of rest for your knee to heal. Later, youll need to perform therapeutic exercises to boost your knee strength and stability.
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Clinical Evaluation Of A Locked Knee
If you have symptoms of locking, you should seek an evaluation. Your doctor will take a history and examine your knee. Where necessary, additional investigations may be performed to understand the cause of your locked knee. Once we have established the cause of your symptoms, we will explain the treatment plan. Where surgery is necessary, we will detail the surgical plan, and the expected recovery process after surgery. Ask questions, clarify your concerns, and take time to decide.
At Hip and Knee Orthopaedics, we believe that every patient deserves to receive comprehensive and efficient care for their musculoskeletal conditions so that they can gain back their independence in mobility and enjoy quality time with their loved ones.
With a passion for treating hip and knee conditions, our doctors aim to provide you with quality care by thoroughly assessing your condition and personalising your treatments to meet your needs and goals.
How To Unlock Your Knees
This article was medically reviewed by Sarah Gehrke, RN, MS. Sarah Gehrke is a Registered Nurse and Licensed Massage Therapist in Texas. Sarah has over 10 years of experience teaching and practicing phlebotomy and intravenous therapy using physical, psychological, and emotional support. She received her Massage Therapist License from the Amarillo Massage Therapy Institute in 2008 and a M.S. in Nursing from the University of Phoenix in 2013.There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 104,824 times.
Knee injuries are quite painful but are unfortunately very common, especially for athletes and individuals with weak joints. Tearing your meniscus or having loose fragments in your joint can cause a locked knee, which painfully limits the motion of the knee joint. Your knee can also become physically locked in place if the joint in your knee gets stuck. If you have a knee injury, you should make an appointment to see a doctor immediately, but you can also begin to treat the injury at home in the meantime.
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What To Do When Your Knee Locks:
If your knee locks suddenly and will not unlock, get help and call your physician or go to your nearest emergency department.
If it locks and your are able to get it to unlock, call your physician to discuss options for treatment or to schedule a visit.
The following information may additionally be helpful when thinking about treatment options for a locked knee.
The work-up of a locked knee
The work-up of a locked knee begins with your doctor asking you questions about any injury that may have started your symptoms and the quality of your symptoms themselves. Your doctor will perform an examination of your knee to give him/her clues regarding your injury.
Regular X-rays may be ordered to look at the bones of the knee to make sure there are no obvious loose bodies, fractures, and to assess the overall alignment of the knee. Depending on your symptoms, an MRI scan may be ordered to get a better look at the soft tissue structures of the knee. An MRI is very good at evaluating the soft tissue structures around the knee, including the menisci and ligaments.
Your doctor will determine whether your locking is due to a true mechanical lock or pain related .
Non-Surgical Treatment of a Locked Knee
The first step in treating a locked knee is to determine the cause of the locking. If the locking is intermittent or due to pain, non-surgical treatments can oftentimes be tried first.
Surgical Treatment of a Locked Knee
How Do You Treat A Locked Knee
Physical therapy, rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication can all be used to treat a pseudo locked knee as well as a true locked knee. It is possible for a locked knee to have more serious causes, such as surgery, which may be more intense.
Knee Pain: When To Seek Medical Help
If youre experiencing knee pain, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. It is not uncommon for your joints to lock, preventing you from properly moving your knee. A locking joint can occur for a variety of reasons, and it is critical that you seek medical attention if you are experiencing pain or difficulty moving your knee. If you are unable to straighten your knee, it could be caused by one of the seven major causes of knee pain. It is critical that you consult a doctor if you experience any other symptoms that indicate that you may have a knee injury.
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Treating Your Knee At Home
Knee Pain Can Be Caused By A Cartilage Injury Like A Cartilage Flap Or Floating Loose Body
The next possibility when it comes to locking or popping in the knee is a cartilage injury within the actual lining itself, which is along here. And this is actually a cartilage lining that you see here, the blue area of the joint and you can have cartilage flaps actually detach from this area and create a flap, or even create a little punch hole or a little crater within the cartilage itself. This is more chronic. These are more arthritic changes, because after you lose a portion of this cartilage, you have exposed bone underneath there and thats basically wear and tear, but sometimes these can occur acutely as well from a fall or an injury because of an impaction injury occurring here.
So that can create actually a loose body, or a loose piece of cartilage that may be either hinged open like a flap, or a loose floating body within the joint and that little floating body can get stuck anywhere in the joint. And depending on where it is will determine how much knee pain you feel, whether or not your knee locks up on you.
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What Is Knee Locking Or Locked Knee
Knee Locking or Locked Knee is the term used to describe a painful condition that occurs as result of knee extension at certain angle.1 During extension of knee joint, extension is restricted at 10 to 30 degree to prevent pain. Patient is unable to achieve optimum normal extension. Any further extension beyond the restricted angle causes severe intractable knee pain. Most common cause of locked knee or knee locking is meniscus tear, congenital defect, injury or disease like osteoarthritis.
Locked Knee: Causes Treatments And When To Seek Help
What Causes a Knee to Lock?
The causes of a locked knee can vary, but the most common reason that this occurs is a torn or partially torn meniscus or damage to other cartilage in the knee. This feeling of the knee being locked often occurs in standing or walking. This strange knee symptom will often start as a clicking sensation in the knee every time you take a step.
If a traumatic injury is the cause of damaged knee cartilage, you may not go through the initial stages of noticing a clicking sensation of the knee. When a traumatic injury occurs to knee as a result of falling or a sports injury, the knee may immediately feel as though it is locked in a certain position and you are unable to either bend or straighten the knee. Most commonly the knee will become locked in extension meaning that trying to bend the knee will either cause great pain or be impossible. This is the reason that it is common to feel this sensation when standing.
A piece of cartilage may also be completely torn off and floating freely in the knee, what is referred to as a loose body, and may also be in the way of allowing complete knee range of motion.
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Can A Locked Knee Heal On Its Own
An engaged knee is one that is completely engaged and cannot be moved for example, an engaged knee cannot bend or straighten because it is completely engaged and cannot be moved. It can be temporary or permanent .
The Dangers Of Locking Out Your Knees
As a result of frequent wear and tear on your kneecaps, your pain and popping may occur over time. A knee lock can help protect your knees, but it can also cause your knees to wear down, resulting in pain and popping. You must consult a doctor if you believe you have runners knee and are experiencing this pain.
Why Does My Knee Catch Or Lock
Pseudo-locking of the knee is when the knee is able to fully extend but catches or clunks into this position. The most common cause for this symptom is significant knee stiffness after the knee has been held in a flexed position for a prolonged period of time.
Other specific causes of catching symptoms to the knee include an inflamed or thickened tissue which sits to the sides of the kneecap known as plicae. As the knee extends, this tissue can become trapped between the front of the knee joint and the kneecap, causing a sharp pain and sometimes an audible clunk. Patellar instability or osteoarthritis may also cause a catching of the knee, as the alignment of the patellar may not be central to the groove as the knee flexes and extends.
True locking reflects a situation when the knee is totally unable to extend fully from a flexed position or needs to be manually manipulated into an extended position. This is actually a very rare situation and often occurs following a significant knee trauma. The cause may be an unstable tear in the fibrocartilage structures known as the menisci or a detachment of part of the menisci or the bony hyaline cartilage which forms the joint surfaces. Even more infrequently, there may be a fracture to the knee joint surfaces.
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