The Knee Diaries: Knee Locking

A 77-year-old male from New Jersey presented the Clinic with a complaint chiefly of right knee pain, stating pain occurs almost continually. Pain described as dull, worse when walking, and mostly located medially (inner knee area ). Pain has persisted for 30 years since an incident while patient walked downstairs at home when knee 'locked' at 90-degree angle. Prior to locking episode, patient was an avid sportsman and runner, never experiencing pain in either pursuit. At time that knee lock occurred, a physician unlocked knee by injection of anesthetic and application of traction to stretch joint. Following treatment, patient relates knee began to deform and became bowed. Arthroscopic surgery was undertaken at a later time to alleviate constant pain. Prior to this locking episode, he was avid sportsman and a runner and never experienced pain. His knees were straight. When his knees locked, he saw a local physician who after injecting his knee with anesthetic was able to unlock the knee by traction (medical lingo: the pulling of or tension established in one body part), he says ever since then his knee started to deform and bowing. After wards he had arthroscopy in the right knee which helped him with the pain. His past medical history of Atrial Fibrillation and takes Digoxin for it. Otherwise he is a good candidate for a total knee replacement. He also takes Celebrex which eases his pain. Locking of the knee is a common phenomenon, patients typically describe the knee is stuck in a particular position ,and not being able to move the knee. Most common cause of it is usually a meniscus tear. Other common causes are ACL Damage, loose bodies and patellar dislocation. Patients inability to fully extend the knee produces excruciating pain.

Case Study Date: 6/5/2006