Dr. Dugan shares what knee instability can indicate.
Instability can be an indication of a torn ligament. A ligament is a short, tight connective tissue structure that keeps the femur and the tibia connected and related to each other, and if that tears, then the femur and the tibia can move one upon the other, and you can have the feeling of giving away.
Now I should say that in some of our chronic knee pain patients that say have kneecap pain, if the motion you’re about to make will actually hurt the knee, the body will sometimes not want to fire the thigh muscle, and it will sort of give away. So I think we have to define exactly what we mean by giveaway, and I can tell you a little bit more about how we get that on our physical exam.
So if I take the femur in one hand and I hold the tibia in the other hand and I pull; I should feel a definite stop to the motion. If it keeps moving, that may mean that ligament is torn, and that’s giving away.
About Dr. Dugan, M.D.:
Dr. Sheila A. Dugan, M.D., is Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Rush Medical College, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois. She is a faculty member of the Department of Neurosurgery and the Department of Preventive Medicine. She is co-medical director of the Rush Program for Abdominal and Pelvic Health.
Dr. Dugan is multi board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, electrodiagnostic medicine and pain medicine. She is highly skilled in neurological and sports-related rehabilitation. Prior to medical school, she received her physical therapy degree from Northwestern University in 1986. She's currently pursuing development of a program focused on women's musculoskeletal care, including both their medical and rehabilitation needs.