This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
This is a term applied to loose and floating bodies in the joint which are sometimes of a cartilaginous nature. The presence of these bodies is indicated by sudden loss of muscular power in the limb, or inability to support the body, generally accompanied by a sharp pain. On moving the joint freely in one direction or another, the pain and disability suddenly disappear, leaving only a slight soreness. The floating body can generally be felt upon one side just below the knee-pan. Inflammation of the joint is sometimes set up by the irritation of these bodies.
The patient should give the affected joint rest in the horizontal position for some days, and should use the limb carefully when walking, always taking especial care to avoid such motions or positions as are likely to excite the unpleasant symptoms. Patients are sometimes much benefited by using the elastic knee-cap, or a leather splint applied to the joint. In case none of these simple measures give relief, a surgical operation for removal of the foreign body may become necessary; but an operation of this kind is accompanied by considerable risk to life, as well as danger of destroying the joint.