Knee instability is not an actual medical condition. It is more a predisposition to knee injuries. Knee instability is caused by any structural damage to the knee ligaments in charge with the knee support. In humans the knee joint contains a lot of entwined ligaments and tendons and rupture or tear of each and every one of them causes certain degree of the knee instability. Knee instability makes it hard for a person to move and significantly increases chances of even more serious damage to the knee joint.
The treatment of knee instability basically depends on the underlying damage and the goal of the therapy is to restore the proper function of the joint.
Causes of Knee Instability
The knee joint is supported by the menisci, the condyles and 4 ligaments. The knee ligaments are the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), the Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCT), the Medial Cruciate Ligament (MCL) and the Lateral Cruciate Ligament (LCL). Additional support of the knee joint is obtained from the posteromedial and posterolateral capsular components and the ilitibial tract.
The knee instability is commonly caused by previous knee trauma and injury. The damage may be associated with sudden and direct trauma or application of the force onto the knee or it develops gradually which typically occurs in case of prolonged and excessive exercising. Athletes are particularly affected by the knee instability because they routinely undergo rigorous trainings and this subsequently leads to the damage of the knee structures and eventually to the knee instability. In case of certain activities such as sudden jumping or deceleration inadequate position of the knee leads to sprain or tear of certain knee ligaments and knee instability. But definitely the most common cause of knee instability is damage caused by sudden twisting of the knee.
Treatment for Knee Instability
Every type of knee injury results in knee instability. Only a well experienced doctor can estimate the extent of the damage to the knee ligaments and prescribe the most suitable treatment. The injury to the knee joint can be classified into several grades. The more severe the injury is the more prominent knee instability is and the rehabilitation certainly will last longer.
The doctor performs an X-ray of the knee to rule out fractures and then he/she opts for particular treatment. It is essential to take into consideration everyday activities of the patient and whether he/she is a professional athlete and if he or she will continue putting excessive strain on the knee even once the injury has healed. The process of rehabilitation lasts from a few weeks to several months.