Knee Buckling

Knee Buckling occurs when one or both of your knees buckle. It is also known as knee instability or weak knees. While it is frequently accompanied by pain, it is not always the case. You may have simply stumbled if it has only happened once or twice.

What exactly is Knee Buckling?

Knee buckling can be a sign of a knee injury or damage. It can increase the risk of falling and make recovery from knee problems take longer.

Knee buckling is fairly common in adults. According to one study, 11.8 percent of adults aged 36–94 had at least one episode of knee-buckling in the previous three months. It can affect people of all ages and fitness levels.

Frequent knee-buckling increases your danger of falling and harming yourself severely, thus it’s critical to identify the underlying problem. Continue reading to find out more about the reasons for knee-buckling and how to cure it.

Knee Buckling Causes

Knee Buckling

1. Injury

Many occurrences of knee instability are the result of injuries sustained during high-impact activities such as jogging or in an accident. Knee injuries that are common include:

  • Tears in the ACL

  • Tears in the meniscus

  • Sloppy bodies (pieces of bone or cartilage floating within the knee)

  • Knee injuries often result in pain and edema in the afflicted knee, in addition to instability.

Injury-related knee-buckling generally resolves if the underlying injury is treated. Depending on the nature of the injury, you may need physical therapy or surgery. While you’re healing, try to avoid placing pressure on your knee as much as possible.

2. Damage to the Nerves

One of the two primary nerves in your lower leg is the femoral nerve. Femoral neuropathy, which refers to femoral nerve dysfunction, may induce knee weakness, making them more prone to buckling. Other femoral nerve neuropathy symptoms include:

  • Pain

  • Tingling

  • Burning

  • Tingling sensations in your thigh or lower leg

Femoral neuropathy may be caused by a variety of factors, including:

Treatment for femoral neuropathy varies depending on the etiology, but it often entails surgery, pain medication, or lifestyle modifications. Neuropathy isn’t always curable, but therapy may help to alleviate symptoms or keep them from worsening.

3. Plica Syndrome

Plica syndrome is caused by inflammation of the medial plica, which is a fold in the membrane that protects your knee. Plica syndrome may induce, in addition, to knee-buckling, the following symptoms:

  • Your knee is making clicking noises.

  • Discomfort on the inside of your knee

  • Tenderness and discomfort in your kneecap

The majority of instances of plica syndrome are caused by a knee injury or overuse of the knee. Physical therapy is frequently used to strengthen the muscles around your knee. A corticosteroid injection may also be required to decrease inflammation. In rare situations, your doctor may advise you to have surgery to remove or alter your plica.

4. Arthritis

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints, most often affecting the knees. Knee buckling is a typical sign of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, which is an inflammatory illness. While rheumatoid arthritis normally affects both knees, osteoarthritis may only affect one.

Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis may result in the following symptoms:

While there is no treatment for arthritis, you may control your symptoms by doing the following:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) are examples of pharmaceuticals.

  • Injections of corticosteroids

  • Physiotherapy

  • Wearing a splint or other supportive equipment, such as a knee brace

5. Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Knee buckling is a symptom reported by some patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is a disease in which your immune system attacks the protective coating of your nerves.

While there hasn’t been much study on the link between knee buckling and multiple sclerosis, weakness, and numbness in your legs are frequent symptoms of MS, which may cause your knee to buckle.

MS may produce a wide range of symptoms that vary from person to person, however, the following are some of the more prevalent ones:

Although there is no treatment for MS, corticosteroid injections may help lessen nerve irritation in your legs. Taking muscle relaxants might also assist if you suffer leg stiffness or spasms regularly.

Knee buckling regularly might be an indication of an underlying injury or ailment, so see your doctor. Meanwhile, attempt to rest your knee and use a hot or cold compress. You may either use a cane or wear a knee brace to lessen your chance of falling when your knees collapse.


When one or both of your knees collapse, this is referred to as knee buckling. In the past three months, 11.8 percent of individuals aged 36–94 had at least one episode of knee-buckling.

Physical Rehabilitation and Exercises

Physical rehabilitation and exercises

Certain exercises may assist to strengthen the leg muscles and enhance knee stability, hence preventing or reducing knee buckling.

  • A doctor or physical therapist may create an exercise regimen to address a person’s concerns about knee buckling. Typically, this will center on:

  • Strengthening the muscles that support the kneecap and maintaining it in a good position

  • Increasing upper and lower limb range of motion

  • Lowering stiffness

  • Enhancing adaptability

A normal knee rehab regimen will last 4–6 weeks. However, it is normally preferable to continue practicing these exercises for as long as possible to keep the knees healthy.

Stretching and strengthening activities include:

  • The quadriceps – the front leg muscles

  • The calves — the back muscles of the lower legs

  • The gluteal muscles – the buttock muscles

Following a knee rehabilitation program will assist a person in the following ways:

  • Enhancing their leg bending and straightening abilities

  • Increasing the amount of weight their legs can bear

  • Strengthening their inner and outer thighs and increasing their range of motion

It is critical to begin these workouts slowly and gradually. Before progressing to more difficult workouts, people must progressively increase their leg and knee strength and flexibility.

However, to achieve progress, individuals must push themselves a bit at home and in physical therapy sessions. It might be difficult to strike the perfect balance, but a skilled therapist can assist in ensuring that the degree of exercise is appropriate.

People who have knee buckling may need to change their activity routine. A person with arthritis, for example, may need to move from high-impact sports like running or tennis to lower-impact ones like swimming or cycling.

Cycling may also aid to strengthen upper-leg strength, which will contribute to greater knee stability.

Flare Odds Ratio 95% Conf. Interval p
Multivariate Regression analysis
Knee buckling 2 days before a flare 7.25 3.92-13.42 0.001
Knee Injury 7 days before a flare 1.07 0.21-5.40 0.937
Any Kneeling 1 day prior 0.29 0.05- 1.70 0.169
Any Kneeling 2 days prior 4.97 0.59-41.97 0.141
Any Kneeling 3-7 days prior 0.34 0.04-2.75 0.314
Any Squatting 1 day prior 2.46 0.50- 12.12 0.267
Any Squatting 2 days prior 2.29 0.50- 10.41 0.284
Any Squatting 3-7 days prior 0.42 0.10-1.62 0222

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Knee Buckling?

If you experience knee-buckling along with any other symptoms, consult your doctor as soon as possible. An unstable knee increases your risk of falling and may indicate an injury or a potentially catastrophic condition. If you suffer a knee injury, get emergency medical attention.

The majority of knee-buckling symptoms concern the knee or supporting muscles. Other forms of symptoms may occur depending on the underlying reason.

1. Symptoms that may Arise in Conjunction with Knee Buckling

When knee buckling is caused by knee disorders or injuries, further knee and leg symptoms may arise. This may impair your ability to walk, climb stairs, and keep your balance.

Among the symptoms are:

  • The feeling of catching or locking in the knee

  • Inability to bear weight on the affected leg

  • Knee discomfort, edema, stiffness, or range of motion limitation

  • Noises such as popping, crunching, or creaking

  • Quadriceps deficiency

2. Other symptoms that may occur in Addition to Knee Buckling

In other cases, knee instability is caused by illnesses and ailments that occur outside of the knee.

Depending on the underlying reason, symptoms may range from mild to severe, and may include:

  • Dizziness, vertigo, or changes in vision

  • Fever or exhaustion

  • Spasticity (muscle spasms)

  • Numbness, tingling, or burning sensations

  • Small bumps beneath the skin, often around joints or bony regions

  • Widespread ailment


The reason for knee-buckling will determine the treatment.

Typical treatment options include:

:small_blue_diamond: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE)

This is a popular home remedy for minor injuries. Resting the damaged knee, using ice, wrapping it tightly in a soft dressing, and elevating the leg as much as possible is all part of the treatment.

:small_blue_diamond: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)

Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are examples of over-the-counter medications. They may help relieve discomfort and reduce edema associated with knee buckling.

:small_blue_diamond: Recovery of Knee Buckling

Braces, bandages, and physical therapy tape may relieve pressure on the wounded region, promoting recovery and allowing persons to continue exercising while strengthening their muscles.

:small_blue_diamond: Ultrasound

This procedure is used by trained therapists, often in conjunction with steroids, to assist lessen the inflammation and discomfort that may contribute to knee buckling.

:small_blue_diamond: Physiotherapy

Individuals may acquire ways to help them strengthen their muscles, increase their endurance, and enhance their balance and coordination.

:small_blue_diamond: Reduction

This is when a doctor or therapist manipulates a kneecap back into place.

:small_blue_diamond: Medications on Prescription

For more severe pain and inflammation, a doctor may prescribe stronger pain medicines.

:small_blue_diamond: Surgery

Severe or persistent knee issues may need surgery to restore damaged ligaments, tendons, and cartilage, or to realign the kneecap. Lifestyle changes may also assist individuals to control knee buckling.

The following suggestions may assist to relieve stress on unstable knees:

  • Shedding pounds

  • Use ramps, elevators, and escalators to avoid using stairs

  • Using canes and other walking aids

When should you get Medical Attention for Knee Buckling?

Knee buckling may be a symptom of a more serious knee injury or illness. People who have knee instability are also more prone to fall and injure themselves.

Making an appointment with your doctor is the safest approach for dealing with knee buckling. Your doctor can assess the severity of any injury or sickness and identify any potentially significant issues.

Knee buckling Increases the Danger of Falling.

According to research published online on Feb. 8, 2016, by Arthritis Care & Research, knee-buckling in older persons may increase the risk of falling. Buckling, sometimes known as the knee “giving way,” is a sign of knee instability.

It often affects the elderly, particularly those suffering from knee discomfort or osteoarthritis. It might also be caused by leg muscle weakness or issues with balance.

When your knee buckles, you may lose your balance and fall, increasing your chances of damage and perhaps fractures. Recurring instances might also impair your ability to climb stairs.

Researchers looked at 1,842 people, 40% of whom were males, who were at high risk of knee osteoarthritis. After five years, 16.8 percent reported recurrent knee buckling, and those persons were 1.6 to 2.5 times more likely to suffer repeated falls, fear of falling, and low confidence in their ability to balance during the following two years.

According to the main researcher Dr. Michael Nevitt, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, strengthening the quadriceps muscles (front of the thighs) may aid enhance knee stability and prevent buckling.

Knee buckling Without Causing Discomfort

Patients who have abrupt weakness in their legs are exhibiting a presenting symptom that needs immediate care. The term sudden weakness’ does not only relate to weakness in specific places that might continue for a few seconds, hours, or days.

Whereas in most situations when weakness has been persistent for weeks and has been overlooked by the patient, who suddenly appears with apparent sudden weakness

A basic problem in the knee, such as a tough muscle or an unanticipated piece in the protective tissues that maintain the knee moving flatly, is most frequently the source of sudden knee instability or weakness.


To address a person’s worries about knee-buckling, a doctor or physical therapist may devise an exercise routine. The therapy will be determined by the cause of the knee-buckling.

What exactly is a Knee Brace?

knee brace

A knee brace is one method for relieving the pain of knee osteoarthritis. A brace may help relieve the discomfort by shifting your weight away from the most injured part of your knee. Wearing a brace may increase your mobility and allow you to walk further and more comfortably.

Knee arthritis braces come in a variety of styles. An unloader brace distributes weight away from the afflicted area of the knee.

The Dangers of Wearing a Knee Brace

Wearing a knee brace may provide the following risks:

:small_blue_diamond: Wearing the Brace Causes Discomfort

At first, a knee brace may feel heavy, thick, and heated. It may slide if it is not properly checked.

:small_blue_diamond: Itching or Swelling of the Skin

If your knee brace does not fit properly, the skin beneath the brace may become red and inflamed. Some individuals have swelling surrounding the combined as well.

:small_blue_diamond: No Gain

There have been few studies on knee braces for persons with osteoarthritis, and the outcomes have been mixed. Some folks perceive no advantage. Others have reported reduced pain and greater function.

:small_blue_diamond: Stiffness

Wearing a brace may lead to the user treating the braced knee as damaged and favoring the other knee, which may add to stiffness.

How to Put on a Knee Brace?

Consult your doctor about your interest in knee braces. You and your doctor can assess if a knee brace is likely to benefit your condition and how probable it is that you will use it regularly.

If you decide to try a knee brace, your doctor will almost certainly need to write a prescription for it and recommend you to an orthopedist, who is a health expert who designs, develops, and fits braces and other devices to enhance function in persons with orthopedic difficulties.

Custom-made knee braces may be expensive, so check with your health insurance provider first to see whether these sorts of devices are covered under your coverage.

How to Closing of your knee brace?

You’ll learn how to put on and take off the knee brace with the aid of an orthopedist, as well as how to identify whether it needs to be adjusted. You’ll most likely stroll around to get a feel for your brace.

When to wear your knee brace, follow the directions from your orthopedist or doctor. Some individuals use knee braces just while they are engaged in continuous activity, such as walking or participating in specific sports. Others find it beneficial to wear the brace most of the day.

After-effects of Knee Brace

Osteoarthritis might give you the sensation that your knee is going to give way. As a consequence, you may instinctively protect your knee and avoid placing weight on it. A knee brace, when used regularly, may provide some stability and boost your confidence in your knee.

Some data show that knee braces may assist persons with knee osteoarthritis decrease discomfort and enhancing function. Recent research, on the other hand, has shown less of a benefit.

Many individuals discontinue use knee braces because they do not obtain adequate knee pain alleviation or because of difficulties, such as poor fit or dislike of the brace’s appearance.

Weight reduction and exercise, especially thigh-strengthening activities, are regarded as the best first-line therapies for knee osteoarthritis.


Wearing a brace may cause the user to perceive the braced knee as injured and favor the other knee, which may contribute to stiffness.

What Exactly is a “Trick Knee?”

In medical terminology, a trick knee, as it is often known, is known as a luxating patella. The patella is the kneecap, one of three bones that comprise the knee.

The patella, often known as the kneecap, is located in front of the knee. During leg movement, the patella slides up and down in the trochlear groove on the front of the femur. Tendons and ligaments hold the patella in place.

A luxation or subluxation is a condition in which the afflicted body moves unnaturally out of position. A dislocation is a full luxation or subluxation. A luxating patella is thus a kneecap that slides too far out of the trochlea.

The patellar subluxation or dislocation causes the patella to move to the outside of the knee during bending or pivoting actions. A “trick knee,” or a knee that unexpectedly gives way or collapses, may occur while participating in sports or during routine everyday activity.

One of the most common reasons for a trick knee is an unstable or subluxation kneecap. Other situations of knee instability, such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) deficit, may also induce knee giving way and instability; these knees are often known as “trick knees.”

Dr. Riley J. Williams, an orthopedic knee specialist who serves Manhattan, Brooklyn, New York City, NY, and the surrounding regions, has considerable expertise in treating luxating patellas, ACL injuries, and other knee buckling or trick knee concerns.

How Is A Trick Knee, Also Known As A Luxating Patella, Diagnosed?

Dr. Williams will examine the affected knee by bending and straightening the leg and feeling for the location of the kneecap. He will look for patellar instability as well as anterior knee instability caused by ACL rupture.

He will also request an x-ray to see how the patella fits into the trochlear groove. An MRI may be necessary to evaluate the patellar stabilizing ligaments (medial patellofemoral ligament) and the ACL.

An MRI may reveal soft tissue damage, such as tendons and ligaments, which may contribute to the instability of a trick knee. Cartilage injuries may arise as a result of these conditions; MRI scans can aid in the diagnosis of such injuries.

How Long Does It Take To Recover After Trick Knee Surgery?

Returning to regular daily activities may take as little as 2-3 months. It may take 6-9 months following surgery to return to sports. Physical therapy will aid in the correct healing and functional rehabilitation of the patient. Patients who undergo surgery are substantially less likely to have a reoccurring trick knee.

Before proceeding with any surgical surgery, the real cause of trick knee must be carefully diagnosed. Patients should seek the advice of Dr. Riley J. Williams, who has considerable experience treating trick knees, luxating patella, patella instability, and ACL injuries.


Knee buckling maybe a little inconvenience or a significant health risk. Depending on the cause, you may need physical therapy or surgery. Work with your doctor to determine what’s causing your knees to buckle, and take additional care while going up and downstairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

People usually ask many questions about Knee Buckling. A few of them are discussed below:

1. How to reduce knee buckling?

Knee buckling regularly might be an indication of an underlying injury or ailment, so consult your doctor. Meanwhile, attempt to rest your knee and use a hot or cold compress. You can either use a cane or wear a knee brace to lessen your chance of falling when your knees buckle.

2. What caused my NHS knee to give way suddenly?

Knee ligaments may be torn in falls and sports injuries, resulting in discomfort and reduced knee mobility. Injuries to the cruciate ligaments may also cause the knee to “give way,” especially while twisting and turning.

3. How can I keep my knee from giving way?

Rest, ice, compression, and elevation are all common therapy choices (RICE). This is a popular home remedy for minor injuries. Resting the damaged knee, using ice, wrapping it tightly in a soft dressing, and elevating the leg as much as possible is all part of the treatment.

4. What does it feel like to have knee instability?

Mechanical symptoms include locking, catching, or clicking while moving or bending your knee. Twisting motions accompanied with a popping feeling Pain regularly, as well as a difficulty to straighten the knee.

5. Why do knees get shaky?

Patellar instability may arise as a consequence of a severe injury or as a chronic condition induced by a knee deformity. Rest, wearing a knee brace, and receiving physical therapy to strengthen the muscles that keep the kneecap in place are common treatments.

6. What are some activities you can take to strengthen your knees?

8 Knee Strengthening Exercises to Avoid Injuries

  • Squats. Squats work the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings.

  • Sit to Stand.

  • Lunges.

  • Lifts with straight legs.

  • Leg lifts on the side.

  • Short-Arc Extenders

  • Step-ups.

  • The calf raises.

7. How can I enhance the health of my knees?

5 Ways to Maintain Knee Health as your age are:

  • Increase the strength of your upper and lower leg muscles.

  • Stretch the same leg muscles to ensure you have a complete range of motion.

  • Maintain a healthy weight.

  • Choose low-impact workouts to safeguard your knee cartilage.

  • If you have a swelling knee, see a doctor straight soon.

8. Is walking beneficial for an injured knee?

Walking strengthens your muscles, allowing them to relieve strain on your joints and manage more of the weight on their own. That implies your knees will be in less discomfort.
Walking might cause knee issues.

Avoid walking on hard surfaces as this might aggravate knee discomfort. Walking on a track or the grass can reduce the strain on your knees.

9. Is excessive walking bad for you?

Overexercise increases the risk of overuse ailments, such as tendinitis and stress fractures, in both men and women. These injuries are the consequence of repeated trauma.

Your immune system may also decline as a result. While moderate exercise might help your immune system, excessive activity can inhibit it.

10. What is a reasonable daily walking distance?

Walking is a low-impact, moderate-intensity activity with several health advantages and few hazards. As a consequence, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that most individuals strive for 10,000 steps each day. This is around 8 kilometers (5 miles) for most individuals.


Corticosteroid injections may be beneficial, although the benefits are temporary. As these drugs wear off, the injection may probably need to be repeated. However, owing to the potential of adverse effects, a doctor will typically not repeat a steroid injection until 3–4 months have passed.

Other experimental injections are being studied, such as PRP and stem cell injections. However, they are not yet widely used therapies. They are not recommended by current recommendations.

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