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knee locks in bent position

By Anonymous June 10, 2011 - 9:08pm
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i have a problem that sometimes if i turn my foot at an odd angle while my knee is bent, my knee locks... it really hurts and i have to really try hard to straighten it out and it makes a loud pop. It feels like a tendon on the outer part of the knee slides out of place or something. Is this a torn miniscus? It happens about once a year now but used to happen every month or so about 5 years ago. If I do nothing about it will it happen more often when i get older?

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Hi Anon,

The classic symptom is a locked knee that cannot be straightened, eg if one has been sitting with bent knees. The knee can suddenly lock on twisting and then unlock with an audible click.

Another classic symptom is pain and swelling of the knee after it has been overloaded.

How does a doctor diagnose a meniscus injury?
First and foremost it is important to find out how the injury occurred and whether the knee was locked. The doctor will feel along the knee's joint-lines and examine whether there is soreness corresponding to a meniscus. On moving the knee a little, the meniscus-click might be felt or heard.

Finally, an arthroscopy of the knee can be carried out. This is usually done under general anaesthesia. A diagnosis can be made and the meniscus tear attended to.

How is a meniscus lesion treated?
There is no standard treatment of meniscus lesions. But as a rule of thumb, as much of the meniscus as possible will be saved.
If there is only a minor lesion in the free edge of the meniscus, it may be enough to smooth it out a little, or even to do nothing at all.

If there is a more major tear, the torn portion is usually removed arthroscopically.
If there is a long split in the meniscus, it is possible to stitch it. This is also performed arthroscopically.
As the blood supply to the meniscus is limited, not all large tears are amenable to repair. Attempted repair is often tried in young people. If the meniscus has been repaired, weight-bearing is limited for three weeks. It will be six weeks before a full range of movement is achieved.

If a portion of meniscus has been removed (a procedure called partial menisectomy), the patient can walk again as normal.

Make sure you visit your doctor as soon as you can to be properly diagnosed and treated.

All the best,



June 11, 2011 - 5:28am
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