Many people know what it’s like to have a loose knee joint like it might give way. Sometimes, this comes with pain, especially when using stairs. This common joint problem is called knee joint instability.

If your knee feels shaky, it’s likely due to this condition. Supports and braces can help make your knee more stable and your walking more secure.

Why Does My Knee Feel Loose and Unstable?

Knee instability is often due to overstretched or injured cruciate or collateral ligaments. These injuries usually happen during exercise, but weak muscles or ligaments from birth or other conditions can also make the knee unstable.

A damaged meniscus can also cause knee problems. The meniscus helps transfer weight from the thigh to the lower leg, but when it’s damaged, it can’t do this properly. If you feel pain going downstairs, it could be osteoarthritis, which is the wearing down of joint cartilage.

Another possible cause of pain is bursitis, which is inflammation of the bursa. There are many reasons for knee instability. Doctors generally identify three types:

  • Simple Knee Joint Instability: When only one part, like a medial collateral ligament, is affected.
  • Complex Knee Joint Instability: When several parts, like the cruciate ligaments, collateral ligaments, knee joint capsule, or menisci, are affected at the same time.
  • Chronic Knee Joint Instability: When the problem has been around for many years.

Loose Knee Joint Symptoms

The phrase “Listen to your body” can be applicable to your knee as well. When knee instability starts, you might feel a slight insecurity while walking; pain usually happens only with too much strain.

Over time, this can cause actual instability and irritation, triggering the knee to give out. If knee instability isn’t noticed and treated, it can end up becoming long-term cartilage wear (osteoarthritis), which is irreversible.

Knee Instability Test

It’s comparatively easy to diagnose knee instability. The patient lies on their back with the knee bent about 30°. The examiner holds the thigh still and pushes the shin bone forward without stopping it from rotating. If the ACL is injured, the shin bone will move forward noticeably, or the patient can feel it shift.

Non-Surgical Treatments for Joint Instability

Treatment for unstable knee joints does not always require surgery. There are multiple non-invasive ways to find relief. You can wear a knee brace for extra support and work with a physical therapist to strengthen your muscles and improve mobility.

Ask your doctor about taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen. Corticosteroid injections can help reduce inflammation, and Hyaluronic Acid injections can lubricate the joint.

If you have a history of knee instability before, you’re more likely to have it again. Prevent further injury with simple stretches and regular knee exercises. However, be careful not to overuse the joint, as it can make the problem worse.

Closing Note

Knee pain is the most common issue people experience these days. Whether you have a loose knee joint or chronic knee instability, it is mostly treatable with non-surgical methods.

Visit our pain management specialist, Dr. Raza Jafri, at Genesis Pain Clinic. Our doctor is board-certified in anesthesiology and pain medicine to treat many acute and chronic pain conditions. Call us at (913) 871-9888 to book an appointment.

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