What Causes Knee Pain Years After Knee Replacement latest 2023

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Knee Problems Associated With Locking, Grinding, and Popping

Lock, pop, grind and no it’s not a dance move

Knee problems associated with locking, grinding and clicking

Since you’re not a firecracker or a soda pop, you can be forgiven for thinking that popping noises in your knee are an indication that something is wrong. The truth is that popping noises occur naturally when movement occurs in the joints. A slight misalignment of the patella (kneecap) or the movement of different ligaments across the joint can give a popping sound. If, however, this is a case where it sounds accompanied by pain, there is cause for concern. Crushing and locking are better indicators of a physiological knee disorder, but the pain factor is also very important in these cases.

To jump

As stated earlier, unless accompanied by pain, a popping sound is perfectly normal, but if there is pain, it often indicates that the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) has been torn. The ACL may be torn in two pieces or it may be a partial tear, the extent of the damage will determine the treatment implemented. If the ACL is torn, surgery followed by rehabilitation will be required, but for partial tears, just stay away from physical activities for a while as the injury will heal on its own. A clicking noise in conjunction with pain may also be an indication of another condition known as discoid lateral meniscus or “snapping knee syndrome”. It occurs when there is an abnormally shaped meniscus in the knee joint. This can usually be treated with conservative methods such as stretching, but if the pain persists, arthroscopic surgery, although optional, may be required.

Sharpening

When cartilage degeneration occurs, the bones in the knee joint tend to press together causing immense pain and producing a grinding sound. This is usually caused by rheumatoid arthritis which rarely occurs in people under the age of 50. The degeneration caused by rheumatoid arthritis is irreversible. Patellar tendinitis (runner’s knee) can also cause cartilage degeneration and therefore pain and grinding. Runner’s knee is the most likely cause of the grinding noise in the knees of young individuals, especially athletes. Fortunately, in this case, the degeneration is reversible, as resting the knee and doing exercises that strengthen the quadriceps muscles will see the knee return to normal over time.

Lockdown

You may find yourself playing basketball and suddenly be unable to bend one leg or you may be on your knees and then find that you are unable to straighten your leg to stand; when this happens you experience a phenomenon called locking which can be quite painful. There are generally two types of locking, pseudo-locking and true locking. Pseudo-locking is a reaction to pain and works like a circuit breaker where the knee locks into position when tension in the area becomes excessive. True locking results from physiological problems at the knee, causing the knee to become rigid, unable to bend or extend. True locking usually occurs when torn cartilage or bone fragment (resulting from a bone disorder known as osteochondritis dissecans) becomes wedged between the surfaces of the joints, limiting movement of the knee joint. When a muscle on the inside of the thigh becomes weak and brittle or the outer muscles tighten, they can misalign the kneecap, which also leads to locking.

Locking can easily be corrected by resting as movement will eventually return to the joints. In the case of a true lock, the problem can only be completely reversed by orthopedic surgery to remove the loose bone or cartilage.

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