Our Knees are the most hardworking joints of our body. Did you know that every time you climb up the stairs, your knees carry up to 5 times your body weight! Sometimes putting a lot of weight on your knees can “freeze” the knees which make them impossible to bend or straighten up. This is referred to as a “Knee lock” where your knee gets stuck in one position. Any attempt to “unlock” the knee by bending or stretching could result in excruciating pain. This can last for a few minutes to even hours. A knee lock could either be in response to an injury or wear and tear of the muscles, bones or cartilage over a period of time. There are 2 kinds of Knee locks- a True Knee lock and Pseudo Knee lock.
True Knee Lock
A True Knee lock occurs when something is mechanically blocking the movement of the knee. It could be caused by a meniscus tear or a loose body. A meniscus is shock-absorbing cartilage that joins the thigh bone with your shin bone. It acts as a protective cushion for your knee that provides support and reduces friction in the knee. An injury to the meniscus or a meniscus tear can result from any activity that puts excessive weight on the knee or forcefully twists the meniscus. This often results in a “popping sound” accompanied by pain, swelling, and stiffness. A loose bodyoccurs when a piece of the knee bone fragment breaks and floats around the joint fluid causing it to stuck up and lock the knee. Certain conditions such as arthritis may also result in loose body.
Psuedo Knee Lock
When our Knee sare in severe pain, the body’s defense mechanism will trigger a muscle spasm in response. This will freeze the Knee in the existing position to prevent any further damage to the knee due to movement. This results in inflammation, swelling. A Pseudo knee lock could be caused by any injury including fracture, joint dislocation or tendon tear.
Knee Lock Treatments
Since Knee locks can be due to varied reasons, the treatment regime will be different for each one. Mostly, they involvea combination of anti-inflammatory medicines, physical therapy, cold compression or surgery. Knee lock treatments often have very long recovery time and may result in only partial recovery. Since Knee locks are caused due to injuries or chronic pain, it may be beneficial to treat the root cause of the problem. One of the upcoming knee treatments involves stem cell therapy. Stem cells have been proven beneficial in reduction of pain, inflammation and increased joint mobility. Stem cell therapy can also totally avoid the need for knee replacement surgeries. Their recovery time is much faster and the patient can regain movement and flexibility within no time. Recent studies have shown that stem cells can assist in regeneration by cartilage repair and help in cartilage regrowth.