When one talks of the knee 'giving way' it means that the knee suddenly and unexpectedly is unable to support the person, and the leg just buckles, leading to stumbling or falling.

knee giving way or buckling
The mechanical trigger causes a sudden inhibition of the quads muscle, and the person cannot take weight on that side.


Causes of giving way, giving out or buckling of the knee

There may be a number of reasons for the knee suddenly giving out:

  • a loose body in the joint
  • a piece of torn meniscus catching in the joint
  • a piece of loose joint cartilage catching in the joint
giving out

Common Knee Symptoms

A simple outline for beginners to help them understand many of the symptoms a knee patient might experience.

Common knee symptoms

'Common things occur commonly!'



The impact of knee instability with and without buckling on balance confidence, fear of falling and physical function: the Multicenter Osteoarthritis Study. Nguyen U-SDT, Felson DT, Niu J, White DK, Segal NA, Lewis CE, Rasmussen M and Nevitt MC. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2014 Apr; 22(4): 527–534.

The association between antagonist hamstring coactivation and episodes of knee joint shifting and buckling. Segal NA, Nevitt MC, Welborn RD, Nguyen SDT, Niu J, Lewis CE, Felson DT and Frey-Law L., Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2015 Jul; 23(7): 1112–1121.

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