Why Are My Knees Buckling When I Am Running? Knee Health

Ever experienced a situation where your knee joints could not support your thighs any longer? This is often referred to as knee buckling. It is a problem experienced by adults – the elderly are more affected by this disorder. The stability of your knee is largely responsible for your ability to walk around without difficulty. When that stability is impaired, your knees tend to ‘give way’ when running.

What could be the cause of this odd health problem? Read on to find out.

Causes of Knee Buckling

Experts are of the opinion that knee buckling in some cases is an attempt by the body to protect the knee from damage. Often, when knee buckling occurs, the part of the leg connected to the end of the femora in the formation of the sees a break in contact. This creates that sense of instability you often experience when this condition occurs. However, in some situations, it could serve as a symptom of a fatal illness.

Apparently, there are several factors which could be responsible for your knees buckling while running. Here is an insight into some of these factors:


We are all aware of what injuries can do to our body. But this is probably one of the most notorious ways your knees could fail you. There are a couple of structures which are susceptible to damage within the knee. The meniscus is one. In each knee, everyone has two C shaped discs which are called the menisci. Each ruptures easily if you fall a certain way. This seriously affects the state of your knee joint. You are most likely going to have your knees buckling if your menisci are torn.

Another important structure known for the pivotal role it plays in the proper functioning of your knee is the anterior cruciate ligament. This connective tissue is known for limiting the movement of the tibia bone which is involved in the knee joint. Tearing of these ligaments is one of the causes of knee buckling. It can rupture while you are running leaving you reeling from the instability of your knees.

Inflammation of the Plica

An anatomical dissection of your knee will reveal several folds of tissue lying over the bare joint. These are lined with synovial fluid producing cells to reduce friction which is responsible for the wearing of tissues. Often referred to as the plica folds, these biological sleeves ease the mobility of the bones which make form the knee joint.

There are several plica folds and the medial portion is one with a higher risk of getting inflamed. When you run regularly without resting, there is every tendency this particular fold might get irritated. And when this synovial sleeve is irritated, an inflammation happens. This leaves you with a highly sensitive kneel joint which is extremely painful. Knee buckling occurs if proper treatment is not administered to the bruised fold.

Multiple Sclerosis

Sometimes having your knees buckling is a sign of a much more deadly disease condition. A typical instance of such a situation is seen in a person with multiple sclerosis. Several patients of the neuronal disease have reported having been in situations where their knees just ‘gave way’ without any notice.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease which affects the nerves. It is a good example of an autoimmune disease. Here, the individual’s immune system attacks the thick covering of his nerves (called the myelin sheath) exposing them to irritation and possible damage. This negatively affects the exchange of information between the different parts of the body.


Your knee is a complex hinge joint with constituents just like any other. To have felt your knee buckling could be due to the effect of arthritis! Yes, the common ailment often used to refer to pains around a joint. Just like there are different joints in your body, arthritis exists in different forms with only two of these having an impact on your knees. Rheumatoid arthritis which is one of the two forms which affects both knees is more notorious due to its autoimmune origin.

Contrary to popular perception, arthritis is not only experienced by the elderly. Yes, as you get older, it happens more often as a result of senescence. But young people can also suffer from arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is another form of this condition capable of affecting the knee. It involves the wearing away of the connective tissue which keeps the component bones from rubbing against each other. This results in a painful sensation around the joint. Also, the surrounding area will appear inflamed and if the situation is not properly managed, signs like knee buckling will be observed.

As previously stated, rheumatoid arthritis is the work of an immune system which has gone rogue. When the ligaments and tissues which ensure your knee joint function properly are destroyed by your immune system, your knee becomes swollen. The buckling of your knees is just one of the signs that the joint is undergoing some major changes. Pain is another sign of a problematic knee. Rheumatoid arthritis is scary since the situation of your joint could deteriorate further if the condition is not diagnosed early.

Unstable Patella

You can also experience the buckling of your knees if your patella is unstable. Popularly called the kneecap and made of dense cancellous tissue, this structure is known to support the anterior portion of the knee. Any displacement which can jeopardize the position of the patella compromises the stability of the knee as well. The buckling of your knee could occur if this joint remains unstable.


To prevent your knees from buckling in the future, you need to understand what is responsible for the anomaly. If it’s a condition like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, both can be managed. Should an injury be the causative factor, treatment or surgery depending on the situation is advised.

In conclusion, knee-buckling especially while participating in sporting activities like running usually tells you the state of this magnificent joint. It should not be taken for granted! You should speak to an orthopedic surgeon to find out what is responsible for this phenomenon. And when that is in the open, adhere strictly to the recommendations of the specialist.

Mathew Foster

I am Mathew Foster – an enthusiast of sports who not only regularly practices different sports, but also has a deep interest in it.

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