Knee instability

Knee instability / unstable knee

Knee instability is given if the lower leg sags forwards, backwards or sidewards. The lower leg slides out of its groove and cannot compensate the instability.

Symptoms knee instability / unstable knee

Patients often feel that they cannot control movements of the lower leg anymore. Since the knee is unstable, the lower leg sags forwards, backwards or sidewards. The whole body does often not have any choice but to follow this movement. These sudden movements can also cause pain besides the feeling of instability and loss of control. In addition to that, restricted range of motion or relieve postures may occur in order to prevent uncontrollable movements.

Symptoms of knee instability in short:

  • sensation of knee instability
  • lower leg sags forwards, backwards, sidewards
  • pain during uncontrollable movements
  • restricted range of motion or relieve postures as compensation of knee instability

Causes knee instability / unstable knee

Knee instability has various causes. Congenitally, ligaments of the knee and the knee joint can be weak or soft resulting in an unstable knee. Knee instability may also emerge due to knee-intensive sports or work activities or accidents damaging the knee.

Different knee injuries can cause knee instability:

  • meniscus tear / meniscus rupture
  • luxating patella / patella dislocation / kneecap dislocation
  • anterior cruciate ligament injury / ACL tear / cruciate ligament rupture

Diagnostics knee instability / unstable knee

In case of assumed knee instability, a comprehensive orthopedic examination is carried out often accompanied by imaging procedures like MRI or X-raying.

The best method to differentiate between different injuries is MRI. MRI enables us to visualize very different structures during one examination like muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage and bones. If it is necessary, we do also apply a well-tolerated contrast agent to improve the visibility of certain structures.

Therapy knee instability / unstable knee

Subject to the cause of the knee instability, therapy options can be very different. Important for an effective therapy are the previous examinations (orthopedic examination, imaging procedures like knee MRI). It depends on the cause of the knee instability if conservative treatments like drugs, physiotherapy and strengthening of muscles or knee surgery are necessary.


The Joints and spine center offers both Pre and Post operative treatments including complex surgeries for Spine, Joint Replacement- Hip, Shoulder,Knee. There are a
specific set of services for sports related injuries. The Center is fully equiped to handle trauma cases. See All Services


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