Knee buckling causes, symptoms and treatment

The feeling of instability or weakness in your knees is often described as “knee giving out,” which may happen suddenly or develop over time. You were just about to complete your walking, and you fell down suddenly out of nowhere. This happens when your “knee gave out,” technically termed as “Knee buckling.” 

If it happened once or twice, let’s think you might have just tripped. What if you encounter it frequently? It might be a hint of injury or damage to the knee. Frequent knee-buckling not only causes pain it also increases the risk of falling and injuring yourself. 

Dr. Ajay Tiwari, a knee specialist in Hyderabad, says that knee-buckling can long recovery time of other knee problems. So it is essential to consult an orthopedic knee doctor to find out the underlying cause and get it treated.

Knee buckling is commonly diagnosed in adults of age above 35 years. However, the condition can affect people of any age, though they are fit. Let’s discuss the symptoms of knee-buckling, how it causes and how to treat it.

Signs and Symptoms of knee-buckling

The condition varies from person to person based on underlying health conditions as they might affect all of a sudden or develop over time. Similarly, the symptoms also vary; some might encounter unstable knees as the only symptom. But with others, the sensation of a knee giving out might be associated with signs and symptoms mentioned below:

  • Popping or clicking sound when you walk or move
  • A feeling that your knee joint is “stuck.”
  • Grinding sensation
  • Pain surrounding the knee
  • A weak feeling when some weight is placed on your knee
  • Difficulty standing or walking correctly.
  • Swelling or inflammation around the knee 
  • Bruising
  • Joint stiffness
  • Reduction in range of motion

Untreated knee-buckling leads to many complications like recurrent falls, loss of balance etc.

Causes of knee-buckling

Your knee joint is a complex joint; there might be many reasons that lead to this condition. The complex structure of the knee is what making it hard to understand the exact cause of knee buckling. The following are the causes that may contribute to knee-buckling:

  • Your knee is a combination of many parts, which includes the four ligaments ACL, PCL, MCL and LCL. Either partial or complete tear in any of the ligament often leads to the sensation of the knee giving out.
  • A tear in the meniscus due to activities like twisting, turning, pivoting your knee can interrupt your knee motions. 
  • Arthritis results in severe knee pain and joint instability. Certain bone diseases, injuries, and damaged cartilage all together might lead to arthritis.
  • A bone piece or cartilage that become caught between your knee bones.
  •  Instability of patella(knee cap)
  • Partial or total dislocation of your kneecap
  • Plica syndrome – it is a condition that results due to the inflammation of the synovial tissues of your knee. It is associated with knee pain and causes your knee to pop, crack, or buckle.
  • Autoimmune conditions like multiple sclerosis attack the central nervous system, which causes muscle weakness and tightness. The condition also leads to balance and sensory problems that might result in knee buckling.
  • Damage to the femoral nerve in your knee can interrupt normal sensations and makes it feel like your knee giving out. 

Treatment for knee-buckling

The treatment for knee instability and the sensation that your knee is giving out very much depends on the cause of specific symptoms. The treatment aims to reduce pain and rebuild strength and the lost joint function.

  • The standard home remedy RICE – Resting the injured knee, Ice for swelling and pain, Compression, & Elevation of the leg as much as possible can provide relief from minor injuries. 
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen can ease the pain and reduce swelling that occurs due to knee buckling.
  • Use knee braces and bandages, which can take away some pressure off the knee. Promotes healing and helps in movement.
  • Experienced therapists use ultrasound techniques, and sometimes they use steroids along with it to reduce swelling and pain caused due to knee-buckling.
  • Physical therapy is a great way to strengthen your knee muscles, builds resistance, and also enhances better balance and coordination.
  • Surgery is suggested in case of severe injuries or some other chronic knee problems. Surgery can fix damaged ligaments and cartilage or restores dislocated kneecap.

Knee buckling extends from a mild inconvenience to a severe health hazard if left untreated. Researchers say that exercise and physical therapy can make a big difference in the lives of people suffering complications like arthritis and knee instability. If you have any knee problems, make an appointment with Dr. Ajay Tiwari, knee surgeon and figure out what’s wrong with your knees before it goes wrong.