Why does my knee click and occasionally lock up?

I seem to have some kind of knee problem but it’s only noticeable when I am go from standing on that leg to walking. Then it clicks. Sometimes (not very often) it locks up on me. What could be causing this to happen?

You may have a tear in the articular cartilage of the knee. This is the fibrous layer of cartilage that covers the end of the femur (thighbone). The only way to know for sure is to have a physician examine you and order some imaging studies.

Weight-bearing X-rays with the knees straight will be taken. Then several other views with the knees bent 30 and 45 degrees are viewed. MRI is the best imaging test for this problem. The signals help identify where and how deep the full-thickness tear has occurred. The MRI also shows the condition of the bone underneath the cartilage.

Depending on the location and size of the tear, you may or may not have symptoms. Or you may have very mild pain and symptoms even when there is a serious tear. Some patients only notice pain when the knee is loaded at a specific range of motion. Symptoms of locking, catching, and clicking with motion are common.

If the tear or lesion is present within the weight-bearing axis, pain occurs only when the joint is loaded at a specific angle. This may be what you are experiencing. It’s best to have a physician examine you. Left untreated, these types of injuries can develop into arthritis.

For more information on this subject, call The Zehr Center for Orthopaedics at 239-596-0100 or visit www.zehrcenter.com. The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of a visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.

How does taping the kneecap relieve pain from PFPS?

Our 16-year old daughter has had constant knee pain from a problem called PFPS. She is seeing a physical therapist who wants to try taping the kneecap. How does this help the problem?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is a fairly common condition. Girls are affected more often than boys. With the increased participation in sports, PFPS has become a bigger problem than it once was. Pain with knee motion makes it more difficult to stay active in sports.

The patella sits over the knee joint and moves up and down along a track or groove in the femur (leg bone). PFPS causes pain because of the way the patella (kneecap) tracks within the femoral groove as the knee moves.

The quadriceps muscle helps control the patella so it stays within this groove. If part of the quadriceps is weak for any reason, a muscle imbalance can occur. When this happens, the pull of the quadriceps muscle may cause the patella to move more to one side than the other. This in turn causes more pressure on the cartilage on one side than the other. In time, this pressure can damage the articular cartilage.

Taping the patella helps it stay in the groove and move up and down over the knee as it should. Many patients get immediate pain relief with this treatment technique. Taping is usually accompanied by a muscle stretching and strengthening program.

For more information on this subject, call The Zehr Center for Orthopaedics at 239-596-0100 or visit www.zehrcenter.com. The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of a visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.

If you have femoroacetabular impingement, is it inevitable that arthritis will eventually set into that hip?

Is it always the case that if you have femoroacetabular impingement (which I have) that arthritis will eventually set into that hip?

Not necessarily though many individuals with femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) do indeed eventually develop degenerative changes that lead to arthritis. This is most likely to happen in cases of untreated FAI.Let’s define femoroacetabular impingement and talk about how it can lead to osteoarthritis of the hip joint. Impingement refers to some portion of the soft tissue around the hip socket getting pinched or compressed. Femoroacetabular tells us the impingement is occurring where the femur (thigh bone) meets the acetabulum (hip socket). There are several different types of impingement. They differ slightly depending on what gets pinched and where the impingement occurs.The cam-type of impingement is the most likely to set up conditions ripe for joint wear and tear. This type occurs when the round head of the femur isn’t as round as it should be. It’s more of a pistol grip shape. It’s even referred to as a tilt or pistol grip deformity. The femoral head isn’t round enough on one side (and it’s too round on the other side) to move properly inside the socket.The result is a shearing force on the labrum and the articular cartilage, which is located next to the labrum. The labrum is a dense ring of fibrocartilage firmly attached around the acetabulum (socket). It provides depth and stability to the hip socket. The articular cartilage is the protective covering over the hip joint surface. This abnormal contact between the femur and acetabulum is the leading cause of labral tears and degenerative hip arthritis.Treatment is advised when impingement is painful, limits function, and/or X-rays show potential for joint changes. You may be able to follow a conservative path by modifying activities and carrying out a program of strengthening and stretching exercises. In some cases, surgery is indicated to correct the problem.No one knows for sure who will develop arthritis. Studies are underway to determine how common is the problem and what factors might increase the likelihood of developing arthritis. Your orthopedic surgeon will follow your case and advise you if and when treatment (and what treatment) is appropriate.

For more information on this subject, call The Zehr Center for Orthopaedics at 239-596-0100 or visit www.zehrcenter.com. The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of a visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.