Knee dislocations occur when the knee joints are pulled out of place. This happens when the tibia, fibula or both pull away from your femur. This is not entirely uncommon, especially among athletes and people who work jobs where moving and heavy lifting are a part of their everyday routine. Yet this is a condition that requires medical attention to get you up and moving again.
Possible Causes of Knee Dislocation
Knee dislocations typically happen during a high-impact injury, such as from an automobile accident. Sudden, sharp movements in the hips impact both the tibia and fibula, which are connected to the ankles through the lower legs.
Some sports can lead to knee injury, especially when you engage in a high-impact activity such as jogging or tennis, or sports with lots of quick turns like basketball or soccer. Anything involving lifting heavy weights should be done with caution and proper preparation, especially when bending or squatting.
Symptoms of Knee Dislocation
There are many symptoms of knee dislocation that you should be aware of. One sure sign is when you start to feel intense pain in or around that area which impacts your ability to move using your knee. At times, severe pain may occur as you try to stand, or you may feel other sensations like extreme tenderness to the touch. Either way, putting pressure on the affected area is difficult, and caution should be used when walking.
Another symptom is when you have issues with the movement in your knee. This happens when you hear a popping noise or suddenly can not flex your leg. Your kneecap, or patella, might suddenly loosen and become easy to move with little effort and may shift slightly away from its normal position.
When you try to move only to experience immobility, this is another sign there might be something wrong. This can happen in situations when the patella is injured to the point where it cannot bend in the right way. In fact, you might notice that it will be stuck in a position where it will not bend at all, making sitting difficult.
There are other cases where the patella will be stuck in a bent position that makes it difficult for you to straighten it out as needed. In this case, it could be due to dislocation from a kneecap that has been disconnected from the outer part of the knee. This type of dislocation can impact you to the point of limited mobility. When movement is tough, that tells you that you might be dealing with a knee dislocation and should consult a doctor.
A swollen knee could also be a dislocated knee as well. This typically happens when fluid collects following a blow or trauma to the knee. In some cases, you may notice bruising around the injured area, which is typically located near the front of the patella. It can become inflamed if too much weight is placed on it or when you are trying to flex that area. Putting your full body weight on your knee is not advised because it could increase swelling and worsen pain.
Treatments for a Dislocated Knee
Thankfully, there are some treatments available for knee dislocation that are nonsurgical. Most options involve simple measures that your physician can prescribe for you, such as crutches, which help in taking a great deal of the weight off the dislocated knee. Other treatment options, such as over the counter pain medications such as Tylenol or Advil, will help in easing pain and tension in your knee. Propping up your leg for several minutes can also provide relief.
Joint aspiration treatment might be another treatment option available to you. The doctor collects fluid straight from the inflamed area by syringe and sends it to a lab, where it gets tested for signs of infection. This is done to reduce swelling and boost the healing process.
Other nonsurgical treatments may involve an immobilization treatment. This is where a cast or brace are customized to fit your leg in a way that moves your kneecap back into the correct alignment. You might need to wear it for several weeks until the injury fully heals depending on the injury severity. In some cases, you may be encouraged by your physician to wear a brace to keep your knee in place during high-impact activities to prevent future dislocations.
Knee dislocations can occur suddenly and without warning. Pain and swelling can last for weeks, but the condition is treatable. There is generally no surgery required, and most treatments are affordable and easy to follow.
Do you have questions about the knee dislocation and treatment at Mobility Bone & Joint Institute?
Call (978) 794-1946 or click here to schedule an appointment at our Andover, MA office.
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