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How to cure locking of knee?

Q: Ever since an injury picked up in a basketball game 3 years ago, my left knee tends to lock at a certain position, if I turn my body off the left leg. There is swelling for 1 week hence. I was only put on a physio routine to get back mobility after a 3 week immobilisation of the left leg. This condition has been very frequent of late. At the time of injury, X-rays did not reveal any clear damage. Although, a surgeon thought it was a meniscal tear and advised arthroscopy. Are the symptoms convincing? Is surgery inevitable? If so, how soon should I undergo one and where in India? Will it relieve my problem entirely?

A:I am not sure if you are clear on the meaning of locking. In orthopaedics, the term locking is used specifically to indicate a joint, which may not be straightened further but can be bent further. After an injury locking can occur from a meniscal tear or less commonly from a tear of a cruciate ligament (ligament inside the knee which stabilizes the knee). These are soft tissues and therefore, not visible on X-rays. If you are keen on a non-invasive diagnosis then an MRI could help but more important than MRI is a good clinical assessment by a competent orthopaedic surgeon. Treatment will depend on the final diagnosis. If it is a torn meniscus you will need an arthroscopic removal of the torn meniscus. If it is a ligament tear then you may benefit from removal of the torn ligament followed by exercises. However, ideally a reconstructive procedure of the knee may be required to restore stability of the knee. The procedures are time consuming for rehabilitation.


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