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Why does my knee keep giving way?

I regularly treat people with knee injuries in my practice.

One of the common ailments people present with when complaining of their knee is that “my knee keeps giving way for no reason!” It often occurs unexpectedly and can result in a fall which can lead to injures such as fractured ribs or hips. One patient recently reported that his knee gave way whilst carrying two cups of tea upstairs. He fell backwards down the stairs. Thankfully, he didn’t break anything.


Causes for Knee buckling.

Ligament injury: Ligaments are bands of tough elastic tissue, which bind joints together and offer support to joints. An injury to a ligament of the knee, through a sport injury or fall and lead to instability within the joint and make your knee buckle

Cartilage tear: A cartilage tear can occur if you land heavily on your knee and twist as often seen in football players. Cartilage tears can also develop as we get older. This is probably due to the elasticity of the cartilage reducing with age.

Osteoarthritis: Oosteoarthritis is the natural aging process. In your knee the cartilage can become so thin that it no longer covers the ends of your bones. They start to rub against each other and eventually wear away. This can alter the shape of your joint, forcing your bones out of their normal position. In addition, the muscles that move your knee gradually weaken and become thin or wasted. This can make your knee unstable so that it gives way when you put weight on it.

Back problems: If you have a back problem, particularly with nerve pain down the leg, this can alter the nerve transmission to the muscles. If the muscles that move the knee don’t receive the signal clearly, there can be some misfiring resulting in your leg giving way or buckling.

Identifying And Treating Pain From Nerve Tension

Do I have a trapped nerve?

We all know that your joints move and your muscles contract and stretch. But did you know that your nerve tissue also needs to move freely and unimpeded?

If your neural tissue is impeded then pain or restriction of your nerve movement is a common result.  The adverse neural tension can result in nerve pain and limited motion. This is what is commonly referred to as a trapped nerve.

Nerve tension is pain that occurs because a nerve is being compressed or stuck in its surrounding tissue which prevents it from moving within its tract like it normally does. This can happen for a variety of reasons.

Common examples of structures that can impede a nerve’s movement include:

  • Back Pain e.g. bulging disc
  • Piriformis Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Neck Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Tennis or Golfer’s Elbow
  • Pinched Nerve

Depending on the severity of the damage that is causing nerve tension, surgery may be necessary. However, in most cases nerve tension can be relieved through physical therapy such as osteopathy or physiotherapy, and prescribed stretching exercises.