Why do my knees randomly buckle?Orthopaedic Surgery
I’m a male in my 40s. Sometimes, I will be standing or walking, and out of nowhere one or both of my legs will just go out. Sometimes I buckle, others I just fall.
Our knee ligaments are bands of tough, elastic, connective tissues that help stablise our joints. They prevent our knees from buckling when we play sports, or during our daily activities.
Typically, there are a few causes of “knees buckling”:
1. Previous ligament injuries that weren’t diagnosed
Many of my male patients have actually damaged their knee ligaments during their army days (or the "weekend warrior days"). Those of them who experienced painful and swollen knees either ignored it or visited traditional chinese “sinseh” to “set the bone” right. The pain and swelling usually subsides eventually but the knee ligaments remain damaged, and hence the frequent buckling.
2. Weak knee muscles
Your knees might be very strong structurally, but the muscle controlling your knees are weak. The most common cause of such profound muscle weakness is due to nerve compression in the spine, usually due to a slip disc or bone spurs.
Some medications like steriods or cholesterol-lowering drugs can also cause severe muscle weakness. Also, if you've led a very sedentary lifestyle for a long while, there's a possiblity that you lost a lot of muscle strength over the years.
In any case, having knees that buckle randomly is deinfitely not normal. I would advise you to seek advice from an Orthopaedic surgeon. He/she will take your detailed history and perform a thorough physical examination to determine the cause of your knee buckling.
A MRI scan of your knee or your spine would be required if your doctor suspects knee ligamentous injuries or a nerve compression in your spine.
I hope you will be able to find out the cause of your buckling knees soon!
Dr Henry Chan
MBBS, MRCS, MMed, FAMS
MOUNT ELIZABETH HOSPITAL
#15 - 14 Singapore 228510