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  • Writer's pictureDBC Physiotherapy

Knee Buckling


Knee buckling is when one or both of your knees give out. It’s also referred to as knee instability or weak knees. While it’s often accompanied by pain, this isn’t always the case. Knee buckling can be a sign of injury or damage to the knee. It can increase the risk of falling and can prolong recovery from knee problems.

Frequent knee buckling also raises your risk of falling and seriously injuring yourself, so it’s important to figure out the underlying cause.

Symptoms of knee instability in older adults may indicate an increased risk of falling and of experiencing the various physical and psychological effects that can result from falling, according to a study published in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). The findings indicate that determining effective treatments for knee instability should be an important priority as clinicians care for aging patients.

The knee consists of two joints which allow it to move in a variety of directions.

These joints are supported by three types of tissue.

Cartilage, which acts as a shock absorber and allows smooth movement of the two joints of the knee.

Ligaments, which connect the joints of the knee.

Tendons, which connect the muscles of the leg to the bones of the knee.

Most common causes of knee buckling are:

1. Arthritis

2. Torn ligaments

3. Bone fragments

4. Dislocation of the kneecap

5. Inflammation

Common characteristics of a buckling knee

If you think you have a buckling knee, you might be experiencing:

· Loss of knee strength when weight is placed on it

· Pain surrounding the knee

· Difficulty standing or walking properly

· Knee Swelling or inflammation

· Cracking or popping sound from the knee when being stretched

8 Possible Buckling Knee Conditions:

. Meniscal injury .Acl injury .Knee (mcl) sprain .Patellofemoral pain syndrome .Repeated kneecap dislocation (patellar subluxation) .Knee arthritis .Knee sprain (lcl) .Dislocated kneecap

Physiotherapy Management:

Certain exercises can strengthen the leg muscles and improve knee stability, which may help to reduce knee buckling.

Physical therapist can design an exercise program to address the needs of a person worried about knee buckling. This will usually focus on:

1. Strengthening the muscles that support the knee

2. Increasing the range of motion in the upper and lower legs

3. Reducing stiffness

4. Promoting flexibility

5. Keep the kneecap in proper alignment

Exercise program

A typical knee rehabilitation program will run for 4–6 weeks. However, it is usually best to continue doing these exercises for as long as possible to maintain the health of the knees.

Specific exercises will stretch and strengthen:

a) The quadriceps — the muscles in the front of the legs

b) The hamstrings — the muscles in the back of the legs

c) The calf — the muscles in the back of the lower legs

d) The gluteus muscles — the muscles in the buttocks

e) Improving their ability to bend and straighten their legs

f) Increasing the weight their legs can support

g) Building strength in their inner and outer thighs, and expanding their range of motion

It is important to start these exercises very slowly and gently. People need to gradually build up strength and flexibility in their legs and knees before moving on to tougher exercises.

However, to make progress, it is important for people to challenge themselves a little, both at home and in physical therapy sessions. It can be hard to achieve the right balance, but a trained therapist can help to ensure that the level of exertion is suitable.

For examples: Cycling can also help to build strength in the upper legs, which will contribute to improved stability in the knee.people who experience knee buckling may also need to adapt their exercise habits.


In conclusion, sensations of knee instability, slipping or shifting without the knee actually buckling are common, even more so than knee buckling. Both of these conditions are associated with increased fear of falling, low balance confidence, activity limitation, and poor physical function. Get an appointment with your physical therapy now.

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