Holiday time is the season for all types of activities – from family gatherings and parties to travel, religious services, volunteer work, shopping and more. But for many, physical and medical issues can cause pain, distress and even the inability to participate in joyous holiday celebrations. Instability of the knee is one such problem – but at Plano Orthopedic, we’re here to help!
What is Knee Instability?
The symptom of a knee giving out is most often due to a ligament injury. The knee is held together by ligaments, which are structures that connect two bones. The sensation of instability — the feeling of your knee giving out — is often due to an injury to at least one of the ligaments, which leads to the bones not being held tightly enough in position.
Symptoms of knee instability are usually noticed with twisting or side-to-side movements. This may occur in sports activities or even with simple tasks, such as twisting your knee to get in and out of a car. Ligament injuries generally happen as the result of a sudden injury where the knee buckles or is forced awkwardly into the wrong position. When a ligament is injured, it may be either partially or completely torn.
Some of the more common ligament injuries include:
· Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tears: The ACL is central within the knee, and critical to supporting the joint with cutting and pivoting maneuvers. The ACL is most often injured with sudden shifts in direction in non-contact injury situations. People with an ACL tear often complain that their knee buckles or wants to give out when they suddenly shift direction. Most ACL tears require surgery.
· Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Tears: The MCL is on the inner side of the knee joint and prevents the knee from opening up too much on the inside. MCL tears are most commonly injured when the knee is struck from the outside, pushing the inner side of the knee open. Most MCL tears can heal with nonsurgical treatment.
· Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Tears: The PCL crosses over the ACL and prevents forward shifting of the shin bone. The PCL is typically injured by falling and landing directly on the front of the knee joint. PCL tears can often be treated with nonsurgical treatment when sustained as an isolated injury, but are more commonly treated surgically when combined with other injuries.
It’s also possible for people to experience instability symptoms with injuries that cause knee pain. Often the body protects itself from pain with involuntary movements. This may feel as though the knee wants to give out, causing a sensation of instability, but it’s actually not due to a ligament injury.
The best way to tell the difference between instability caused by a ligament injury, versus a sensation of instability, is by having your knee examined by a skilled physician. There are tests used to determine the function of each ligament. For example, the Lachman’s test is used to test the ACL.
Treatment of Knee Instability
There are both surgical and non-surgical treatments for knee instability. These can include physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint, and knee braces to better support the knee joint. Surgical treatments generally involve repairing or reconstructing the damaged ligament to restore the normal structure of the knee joint. The most common type of ligament reconstruction is for ACL tears.
Call Plano Orthopedic today!
The sooner you address instability of the knee, the better you’ll feel. Our orthopedic knee specialists and surgeons at Plano Orthopedic will diagnosis your knee injury and help you decide the appropriate treatment plans to help you enjoy not just your holiday activities, but improve your quality of life all year round!
To schedule an appointment with one of our knee specialists, contact our scheduling department today at 972-250-5700.
POSMC – Instability of the Knee November 15, 2017