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Sports Medicine

Right Knee Weakness

05/20/2010

Question:

Let me start from the beginning. About 9 years ago I was playing basketball in gym class in high school. I was running down the court and went to plant my right foot and hyperextended my knee. It swole up immedietley and hurt BAD. I iced it down and the swelling and pain went away in a matter of a couple of hours. I could walk okay on it a couple days later. Fast foward 4 years later. I was up high on stilts finishing drywall, when I tripped over an extension cord and came down right knee first on a concrete floor. Again it hurt BAD and I couldn`t straighten my leg for 2 days. I also noticed a fluid sack on my knee. It felt like a water balloon when I pushed on it. When I was able to walk on it again, I went to kneal down to pick something up and I felt the fluid sack pop. It litterally felt like a water balloon popping in my knee. Ever since the last injury I`ve noticed that my knee feels very weak like it could give out on me. Especially when I`m active. I also get pain on the sides of my knee and at the top of te knee cap. I never saught medical attention for either injury. What could this be and should I see a doctor?

Answer:

Since you've had persisting and recurrent problems with your knee, since your knee feels unstable and is painful, and since these symptoms interfere with your activities, evaluation by a physician to provide you not only with a diagnosis and appropriate treatment/rehabilitation plan but also a prognosis (predicting maximum functional outcome and likelihood of future problems/symptoms), is certainly appropriate.

Although a diagnosis requires a detailed history, physical examination, and possibly imaging studies, you may have an "internal derangement" of your knee, which could, for example, include such conditions as an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear, and/or a meniscus (fibrocartilage) tear, and/or damage to the cartilage comprising your knee joint surfaces (hyaline cartilage), and/or a patellofemoral problem (involving your knee cap).

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Response by:

Brian L Bowyer, MD Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University