Most people who engage in vigorous exercises or heavy contact sports may find it highly possible to suffer from locked knees. It is a condition whereby you are not able to bend your knee. This condition can cause a lot of pain and it makes it difficult for an individual to successfully participate in his or her sporting activities. Thankfully, there are treatment options to rectify locked knees. Before we talk about the treatment options for locked knees, your need to fully understand this condition to help identify why your knee(s) is locking up and how you may be contributing to the problem.
What Causes Locked Knees?
The knee is one of the joints on the body that has to bear a lot of weight. Due to the weight it has to support, the knee gets worn down fast. If you are involved in activities where you need to jump and put pressure on the knees, this can contribute to the problem. The following are other common causes of knee locking:
- Inflammation: Problems such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout can cause the muscles to get inflamed around the knee which makes it difficult for the knee to fully open and close.
- Meniscus tear: The meniscus is a piece of knee cartilage that provides smooth movement and cushions the knee. If it gets even slightly torn, this can cause the knee to move more openly causing a lockup.
- Swelling: After a knee injury, excessive fluid fills the knee to give it time for tissues to heal first. The swelling can cause a knee to lock up until the swelling goes down.
- Muscle spasms: Knee injuries cause it to become less balanced or temporarily weaker which can cause muscle spasms leading to knee locking.
- Other common causes of knee locking include Plica Syndrome and Floating Bone Fragments.
Whatever the cause for your locked knees, you need to identify it and seek a way to treat it.
Possible Treatments That Can Help
The first thing you should do after experiencing a locked knee is to get the problem assessed by a physician. He or she will prescribe the appropriate treatment that can rectify the condition completely or reduce the severity of the problem. Common locked knee treatments include:
- Application of cold and heat – Immediately after a knee lock up, you need to apply cold to reduce the swelling first. Then apply 20 minutes of heat to relax the muscles. This is recommended if your knee lock up is not very severe.
- Physical therapy – If your knee lockup is causing you a lot of pain, work with a physical therapist who will help you perform careful stretches, knee manipulations and give massages to decrease the pain and stop the knee from locking.
- Muscle relaxants – Muscle relaxant medication helps to relax the knee muscles and decrease knee stiffness which may be the cause of locked knees.
- Anti-inflammatory medicines – These meds help to reduce the pain and inflammation that comes with a locked knee.
- Surgery – Some people experience serious locked knees due to problems like loose fragments in the knee or meniscus damage and the only solution may be to go for surgery, as it will allow the knee to balance again.