Never underestimate your knee. The knee allows you to stand up, walk, run, and climb stairs. Still, it supports your body weight. Sadly, the knee is prone to injuries, especially if you are a sportsperson. Additionally, it degenerates with age. Injury and degeneration may lead to tearing of the meniscus or loose fragments within the knee joint. The result of this – the knee locks, i.e., the joint gets stuck.
A locked knee limits the range of motion. It is almost impossible to bend or extend your knee at this point. This article looks at the details of a locked knee, including how to unlock a locked knee.
A locked knee simply implies a knee that is stuck in one position. You cannot bend or straighten it either due to pain or mechanical blocking. The locking may be temporary of it may be permanent.
The anatomy of the knee reveals it as a hinge joint. The arrangement of bones at the joints allows for bending up and down, as well as rotating. Anything that blocks the movement in any direction might lock the knee. It may or may not be painful.
Pseudo Locked Knee: A pseudo knee locking occurs as a result of knee pain in your knee. Essentially, there is nothing in your knee that prevents you from moving your leg. Instead, it is a pain in the knee, triggering a muscle spasm and contraction.
The body uses it as a defense to discourage movement of the knee, which prevents further damage. The symptoms of having a pseudo knee locking include:
A True Locked Knee: When you have a true locked knee, it means something is physically blocking your knee from extending or bending. So your knee remains in one position and cannot move it.
Below are the most common causes of knee locking:
The meniscus is C-shaped cartilage at the knee. It acts as a cushion between the femur (thigh bone) and the shinbone. Sadly, most knee injuries are due to a meniscus tear. A forceful twist or rotation tears this cartilage.
If a tear of the meniscus cartilage gets in the way, your knee may lock. You may notice that you have a torn meniscus when you:
When your knee becomes suddenly painful, it locks. Medically, this is not an actual mechanical block. Instead, it is a limitation in motion secondary to severe pain. Your body does not want to cause you more pain.
You can also call them loose mice. Typically, they are small fragments of cartilage or bone in the knee joint. The particles can accumulate into a position within the knee, making the knee lock. Causes of loose bodies include trauma, chip fracture, foreign object from a past surgery, degenerative joint disease, torn cartilage, and decreased blood supply.
If your knee locks and sticks in that passion, I suggest you visit the nearest ER. Still, if you can unlock the knee, you must consult a doctor to discuss the way forward.
However, you can try the below tips to unlock your locked knee.
I suggest that you should visit a doctor early enough, especially if your knee locking is due to an injury. Doctors will give you the right advice right away.
In unclear cases, the doctor may recommend that you do an X-ray or MRI to determine the cause for your knee locking. With a precise diagnosis, the doctor can then prescribe the course of treatment.
In case your injury is severe, you may visit an orthopedic surgeon. Surgery is usually the best option for the severely locked knee. Keep in mind; knee surgery is the last option. Before you choose a knee surgery, the doctor will assess the severity of your condition first. Nevertheless, when in doubt, I suggest you seek a second opinion.
Physical therapy is essential in helping you regain full range of motion. The therapist subjects to you’re a range of stretches to return your muscles to normalcy.
It is good that you know how to unlock a locked knee. We have given you enough. However, you need to prevent further injuries or circumstances that can lock your knee. You should not do any activity beyond your capacity, and after each exercise, rest enough. Above all, do not hesitate to see a doctor when you experience knee locking.