Often at times especially after a knee injury or a blow to the knee it so happens that we are not able to fully straighten the knee without pain. This usually happens after a twisting injury or a direct blow to the knee.

While some injuries are very mild and cause only temporary inability to straighten the knee without pain but in some cases this becomes more of a chronic problem.

Inability to straighten knee without pain becomes a cause for concern as the motion of the knee can be significantly compromised due to the injury and you may have trouble ambulating as a result of it.

In case if you are not able to straighten your knee without pain for a prolonged period of time then it is possible that you may have incurred a serious knee injury which may require medical intervention.

After sustaining an injury, it is quite common that you will not be able to straighten the knee as a result of pain and inflammation but this condition becomes chronic if the injury is serious. This article gives a brief overview of some of the causes as to why one cannot straighten the knee without pain.

Can't Straighten Knee Without Pain

Why Can't I Straighten My Knee Without Pain?

Some of the serious causes as to why one cannot straighten the knee without pain are:

Meniscal Tear: This usually happens to athletes who partake in competitive sprinting or running long distances and marathons. In this form of injury, the meniscus surrounding the knee gets torn and flips into the center of the knee joint. This fragment of the meniscus causes the knee to get locked and prevents the knee from straightening without pain.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear: The anterior cruciate ligament is an important part of the knee and sprinters and runners are always prone to injuring it or tearing it.

An ACL tear may not lock the knee entirely but it may cause severe pain when trying to straighten the knee. This is a temporary condition and with rest and application of ice and heat the swelling and inflammation calms down and you will be finally able to straighten the knee without pain.

In cases if the tear is severe then it may need surgical intervention to repair the torn ligament and allow you to straighten the knee without pain. In some cases along with an ACL tear there is a tear of the meniscus as well which complicates things and is yet another reason as to why you cannot straighten the knee without pain.

Swelling: A direct blow to the knee or any other knee injury can cause swelling to the knee along with inflammation. This is yet another reason as to why one cannot straighten the knee without pain.

Apart from a direct blow to the knee there are various other reasons for the knee to swell up like a buildup up of fluid within the knee after an injury. The inflammation and swelling is so severe that it becomes almost impossible to straighten the knee without pain.

Tendon Injuries: Any type of injury either to the patellar tendon or the quadriceps tendon will affect the ability of an individual to straighten the knee without pain. Tearing of these tendons is yet another cause for an individual to not be able to straighten the knee without pain. This is seen more in athletes who run a lot.

In summary, if you are not able to straighten the knee without pain then it may be highly possible that you may have incurred a severe injury to the knee. It is highly recommended in such cases to consult with an orthopedic physician who can investigate the possible diagnosis and can come up with a treatment plan best suited for you which can allow you to straighten the knee without pain.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: November 1, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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