When it is difficult to straighten or bend the knee, the condition is known as a locked knee. The position needs a maneuver using the hands either to make the leg straight or bend further. In most cases, the knees are locked at 45 degrees. A locked knee is a painful condition that can affect the daily activities of the individual whether at home or at work. The condition can be sudden in onset and results to diminished range of motion. Both young and old can be affected by this condition, but the causes tend to vary.
Causes of locked knee joint
The joint of the knee is composed of the lower end of the thigh bone and upper end of lower leg bones. It is responsible for stabilizing the joint with the help of the ligaments, meniscus and the tendons. There are two meniscuses in the knee joint -medial and lateral. A locked knee joint can be caused by the following:
- Damage caused on the meniscus. The meniscus function in absorbing the stress and strain while doing movements and if any or both the meniscus are damaged or torn, it can result to a locked knee joint. This is common in sports such as skiing, football and other sports where there is sudden twisting movement of the leg.
- Osteoarthritis of the knee joint will develop as the person ages where there is wearing and tearing of the meniscus.
- A separated fragment of a fractured knee bone can stop the mobility of the knee or locked knee.
- Locked knee joint and swelling can be caused by spasms of the muscles.
Treatment and home remedies of a locked knee joint
- Apply an ice pack wrapped in a clean cloth or towel over the affected area in order to help relieve pain. You can even place ice cubes in a towel and place it over the affected area for at least 5-10 minutes at 2-3 times in a day to reduce the inflammation.
- Wear a supportive knee brace to help stabilize the knee joint as well as relieve the pain.
- Apply a warm compress or a heating pad over the affected area for at least 30 minutes. If a heating pad is not available, pour warm water on the affected knee for 10 minutes to ease the pain.
- The individual should perform physiotherapy exercises and yoga since these can help improve the range of motion of the knee and also strengthen the muscle that supports the knee. This procedure is beneficial among individuals who are suffering from osteoarthritis.
- In severe cases of a locked knee joint, medical help is usually required in order to remove a piece of cartilage that is blocked in the joint of the knee. This would require surgery in order to achieve the best results.