Man holding his knee.

Why Does My Knee Give Out?

pt HealthKnee pain

Learn About Potential Causes & Treatments

Have you noticed that lately, your knee gives out when climbing up and down stairs, walking on uneven surfaces, or shifting your body weight from one leg to the other?

Are everyday movements becoming difficult or painful, accompanied by the feeling that your knee is unstable or locking when moving?

Do you have swelling in your knee? Do you hear or feel a grinding, popping, or clicking sensation?

Whatever your mix of symptoms, you’re wondering: why is my knee giving out, and why does it hurt?

If you’re seeking medical care, find a physiotherapy clinic near you and book an assessment for symptoms of your knee giving out today.

Possible Causes of Knee Giving Out

The knee joint is pretty complex and is made up of bones, ligaments, and cartilage, all of which can be weakened by injuries or the everyday wear and tear that comes with age.

Although there are several causes for knee instability and pain, joint injury and osteoarthritis of the knee are two of the most common reasons for a knee to lock up and give out.

Ligaments of the Knee

Your knees have four main ligaments that stabilize the patella, or knee cap, and join the thigh and shin bones together.

These ligaments are called:

  • Medial collateral ligament (MCL), on the inside of the joint
  • Lateral collateral ligament (LCL), on the outside of the joint
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), in the middle of the joint
  • Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), in the middle of the joint

When these ligaments are stretched or torn, the knee becomes unstable, causing it to give way unexpectedly and become painful while doing everyday activities.

If your knee is giving out, one of the most common causes could be that you’ve injured one of these ligaments.

You don’t have to be a pro athlete to experience a knee injury. Ligaments can be injured during activities that involve:

  • Bending
  • Twisting
  • Quickly changing direction
  • Sports (i.e., a blow to the knee)

Concerned about an injury that’s causing your knee to give out? Book an assessment with a physiotherapist today.

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Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Another common cause for your knee giving way could be the onset of osteoarthritis of the knee, which is the breakdown and gradual loss of surrounding cartilage.

This condition can be accompanied by pain, stiffness, swelling, and a grinding or grating sound when bending the knee.

Did you know? Osteoarthritis of the knee affects one out of every ten Canadians and doesn’t just affect the elderly, as its onset is now being detected 16 years earlier than it was in the 1990s.

Although there isn’t one exact reason why osteoarthritis of the knee develops, some causes include:

  • Family history of osteoarthritis
  • Previous knee injury
  • Being overweight
  • Increasing age

If you’re concerned about any of these symptoms, book a physiotherapy assessment for knee pain today.

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Treatments for Knee Injuries & Osteoarthritis

Most treatments for a knee injury and osteoarthritis of the knee work best when started early.

If your knee is giving out, you should seek an assessment from a qualified physiotherapist.

After the assessment, your physiotherapist may recommend bracing to help stabilize your knee and will offer you a treatment plan to help:

  • Reduce pain
  • Strengthen the knee
  • Increase range of motion
  • Improve joint stability
  • Modify your activity to prevent re-injury

Book A Physiotherapy Assessment For Knee Issues

If you’re concerned about symptoms of your knee giving out, book an appointment with a qualified physiotherapist to get a full assessment and treatment plan in place.

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