What Is Knee Instability?
Knee instability can occur if the knee or a supporting structure, such as a ligament, becomes weakened or damaged such that the joint is unable to fully support the weight of the body. This type of injury can result from a sudden twist or direct blow that forces the knee to buckle or bend beyond its normal limit.
Instability can cause the knee to noticeably shift from side to side during basic activities. The resulting excess movement can create excess wear and tear on the joint, leading to the breakdown of cartilage (osteoarthritis).
What are the symptoms of knee instability?
An unstable knee may:
- Buckle or give out
- Catch or lock
- Appear puffy or swollen
- Bend inward or outward
To pinpoint the source of these symptoms, a physician will typically evaluate each of the bones, cartilage structures, ligaments, tendons and muscles that work together to support the knee joint. After performing a physical examination and testing the stability of the knee, a physician may order one or more imaging tests, such as an X-rays, MRI or CT scan.
How is knee instability treated?
Treatment for knee instability can vary depending on the injured structure and the extent of the damage. Initially, a physician may recommend conservative treatment, such as rest, ice applications, compression and elevation of the leg (R.I.C.E. therapy), followed by physical therapy and bracing, if necessary. Any associated pain and inflammation can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen.
To address severe symptoms that do not respond to several weeks of nonsurgical treatment, surgery may be recommended. For instance, a surgeon may perform a surgical repair or reconstruction of the supporting structures.
At Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, Texas, we typically encourage our patients to try nonsurgical treatment options for knee instability before considering joint replacement or any other type of surgery. If you’d like to meet with a knee specialist, contact Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, TX, today.
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1Professional Building II At North Cypress Medical Center
AOSM Physical Therapy
2North Cypress Professional Building At Lakewood Crossing
AOSM Physical Therapy
3North Cypress Professional Building At Towne Lake
4Advanced Orthopaedics Memorial
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I have been a patient of Dr. Cubbage for several years. Each time of go there, he always presents a thorough plan of care. From ordering the most appropriate diagnostic tests to making sure you understand
Dr. Patel is one of the best Doctors I have ever had. She is pretty good at her job. She makes it plain and simple. She is also very thoughtful. I was very glad to have met her.
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I would highly recommend Dr. Cubbage if you are having any type of spinal issues. I have seen Dr. Cubbage several times over the last 3 years for lumbar pain and numbness in my left leg.
I was in pain for a couple of months and went to see Dr. Cubbage. He knew right away by the way my posture what the issue was. He had me scheduled in and he along with his staff were awesome.
The surgery done by Dr. S. Patel (Actually injections) & the mild medications she has prescribed has surely made my lower back -hip-leg less painful.
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I’ve been with this orthopedic group since 2014. I’ve never had a bad experience with the doctors or the staff. Dr. Drew Fehsenfeld did my shoulder surgery in 2016 and he did great!