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Knee Locking/Something out of place
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Knee Locking/Something out of place


I've had a knee problem for the past 10 years and have not been able to find a doctor who could diagnose it. I've even had MRIs on 3 separate occasions and still nothing.

The initial injury occurred my freshman year of college. I was horsing around with some friends in a snow bank and my friend tackled me on the left side of my left knee. My knee locked up at 90 degrees and was extremely painful - it felt like something went out of place. I force my knee straight and whatever went out popped back into place. Within 20 minutes there was no pain, no swelling.

This happened a few more times in the proceeding years with the same resolution. The 4th time it happened, I was sitting in the school library with my left leg tucked under me and my left foot curled under to the inside. This time I couldn't force my leg straight and was taken to the hospital where they injected my knee with lidocaine (sp?) and two large hospital nurses forced the leg straight to 180 degrees which caused a high degree of pain (9/10). They placed my leg in a knee immobilizer and sent me home with percoset. Within a day or 2 the "thing" popped back into place. Within 20 mins I was up and walking with no pain or swelling.

This same scenario happened one last time my senior year of college. A few years back I was at work with my leg and foot tucked under me and I felt the "thing" slipping out and was able to straighten my leg in time to prevent it from going out and I was fine.

I am now 29 and the problem has recurred for the first time in 7 years. I was laying in bed on my right side with my left leg bent at an angle smaller than 90 degrees. I somehow rolled in such a way as to trigger the thing. I immediately forced my leg straight (which I hadn't been able to do in the past). This caused quite a bit of pain, but once my leg was straightened the pain decreased to about a 2, maybe a 3. It's now been 3 days and the "thing" has not popped back in yet. I cannot put any weight on the leg at all so can only get around with crutches. The pain is decreasing but the problem is not resolving. I can bend and straighten my leg with a lot of effort and some pain (6/10). I have been alternating between 90 and 180 degrees hoping the movement will help the "thing" pop back in place.

Any ideas what might be going on or a solution? Some doctors have suggested a tear in the meniscus, which flaps up and catches, but they've never found any evidence of this on an MRI.

Thanks for any help!
Tags: Knee, locking, Pain
Hi there!

Well, without a clinical evaluation it would be difficult to determine the cause of your symptoms. Possibilities that may need to be considered include injuries to internal knee structures, loose bodies, connective tissue disorders, muscle spasm etc. I would suggest getting this evaluated by an orthopedician preferably at a university or teaching hospital for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate management.
Hope this is helpful.

Take care!
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