Knee buckling is described as a feeling that the knee is about to give away or lost its stability. It is important to note that the knee joint is stable and capable of performing activities in varying intensities.
Knee buckling might be considered as a protective response of the joint and neighboring tissues to prevent further damage. There is also evident popping or locking of the joint.
Possible causes of knee buckling
There are a variety of possible causes why knee buckling occurs.
Injuries are the usual cause of knee buckling especially those that require high-impact on the legs. The issue might occur after an acute injury or in a gradual manner after constant strain on a sprained knee.
Any direct blow, forceful movements or sports activity that strains on these structures can damage or tear these ligaments or meniscus. This leads to instability of the knee joint.
An ACL tear is a common injury that causes a popping sensation in the knee along with knee buckling. It might be linked with other ligament and meniscus tears.
Certain conditions such as osteoarthritis due to wear and tear of the joint or a damaged joint can lead to knee instability. The weak ligaments or muscles might play a role in diminished stability which leads to knee buckling during certain movements.
Other conditions such as deterioration or trauma that results to bony fragments or loose spurs that float in the joint can lead to buckling of the knee during movement.
Proper assessment of the joint is required to determine the exact cause of knee buckling. A precise diagnosis can be done using imaging tests and other tests. The treatment is usually based on the underlying cause.
For acute injuries or inflammation that results to swelling and pain, the RICE method is used. Anti-inflammatory medications and pain medications are usually prescribed. Knee braces might be recommended to support the joint during movement while the damaged tissues can heal.
For knee buckling due to severe injuries that involves the ligaments or meniscus, surgery is required. The loose bodies or bony fragments should be removed surgically to prevent any disruption in the natural movement of the knee.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on knee buckling is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage joint conditions, register for a first aid and CPR course with Victoria First Aid.