What Is Knee Dislocation?
Dislocated knees are rare, but they’re severe. Other parts of your knee might also have been damaged at the same time. You need to see a doctor right away in order to get back on the road to recovery.
Knee dislocation is usually the result of:
- Car accidents. If you bang your knee against a hard surface like your dashboard, the force of the blow may be strong enough to dislocate your knee.
- Sports injuries. This is less common than car accidents, but it’s possible to dislocate your knee if you collide with great force with another player or with the ground when your knee is bent, or if you over-extend your knee (bend it backwards farther than it’s supposed to go).
- Hard falls. It may happen to skiers or runners who lose control and fall on a bent or overextended knee. You may even dislocate your knee if you fall after stepping into a hole in the ground by mistake.
When you dislocate your knee, you may hear a popping sound. The following symptoms also are common:
- It hurts a lot. Your knee is in so much pain that you can’t move it.
- It’s swollen and severely bruised.
- Parts of the knee look like they’ve been knocked out of place.
How Is It Diagnosed?
You should go to your doctor at once so she can see your knee from many angles to confirm the injury.
Exams and Tests for Knee Dislocation
Depending on how the knee looks, the doctor will check the injury for proper diagnosis in the following ways:
- X-rays: X-rays will be taken to make sure there are no breaks in the bone.
- Examination of pulses: Injury to the arteries in the knee is common with this injury. The doctor will make sure there are pulses in the foot.
- An arteriogram (X-ray of the artery): This X-ray may need to be done to detect injuries to the artery. Some medical centers may also use specialultrasound or Doppler (sound wave) machines to assess the blood flow in the arteries.
- Examination of nerves: Nerves also run through the knee, so it is possible that they may have been damaged. The ability to feel touch and to move certain muscle groups are the main ways nerves are tested. Specifically, the ability to move the foot up and down and to turn the foot inside (inversion) and outside (eversion) are important muscle movements to examine. Any feeling of numbness is concerning for nerve injury.
When to Seek Medical Care for Knee Dislocation
If a dislocated knee injury is suspected, there is likely severe ligament injury. Go to the nearest hospital’s emergency department. Seek care for these reasons:
- Extremepain or swelling after a serious injury (such as a car crash)
- An obvious deformity of the knee
- Numbness in the foot
- No pulses in the foot
Go to the hospital’s emergency department for medical care for a dislocated knee immediately.
Knee Dislocation Self-Care at Home
This injury should not be cared for at home. It is best to get medical care as soon as possible.
Placing ice on the injured area may help for some pain control and to decrease some of the swelling. But the most important treatment is to have a doctor assess the injury and relocate or put the knee back in place.
Do I Need Surgery?
Your treatment will depend on how badly you’ve been injured.
No-surgery option. If the damage to your knee isn’t too severe, your doctor may try to pop your bone back into place by pressing and moving your leg in certain ways. This will be very painful, probably. Your doctor will offer to give you medicine so that you won’t feel what’s happening. After your bone is back in the joint, you’ll likely need to wear a splint for a few weeks to allow your knee to heal without moving or bearing any weight.
Surgery. Your doctor may need to do surgery to correct the dislocation and other damage from your injury, including:
- Broken bones
- Torn ligaments
- Damaged nerves
- Damaged blood vessels
You might not have surgery until 1 to 3 weeks after you’re hurt, to allow time for the swelling to go down. While you wait, you’ll need to wear a splint, keep your leg raised, and put ice on the injury.
Your surgeon may do arthroscopic knee surgery. This is done through small cuts made around your knee.
You might need “open” surgery, with bigger cuts. The type you need depends on the damage to the rest of your knee.
How Long Will Recovery Take?
After surgery, you may wear different knee braces as you heal. Some let you bend your knee — to ease stiffness.
After you’re finished wearing splints or braces, your doctor should send you to a physical therapist to rehab your knee. You’ll do exercises to strengthen the leg muscles around your knee and work to bring a full range of motion back to your joint.
You may need to rehab your knee for up to a year. Athletes who dislocate their knees may be able to return to their sports, but they might not be able to perform at the same level as before.
Prevention of Knee Dislocation
- Attempt to avoid major accidents.
- Avoid risky activities such as skiing, motorcycle riding, or jumping from high places; if people decide to do these high-risk activities, they should obtain and follow instructions from experts about how to decrease their risks.
For comprehensive care of degenerative arthritis and acute and chronic sports injuries, call Dr. Duhon at TOCA at (602) 277-6211. His professionalism and exemplary surgical skills are unmatched in the Valley. Dr. Duhon sees patients at our Glendale, Scottsdale, and Tempe offices.
#Recovery #Results #Relief #MyOrthoDoc