Your knee depends on strong bands of tissue called ligaments to provide support and stability. These ligaments hold the bones of the knee in proper alignment with the bones of your leg. When overstretched, these ligaments can tear and allow the knee to move out of place. A knee dislocation is extremely painful and can even result in the loss of the leg if not treated properly.
Risk Factors for Knee Dislocation:
This type of joint dislocation is relatively rare. The most common cause is trauma resulting from falls, sports injuries, or automobile accidents. Some people may be more susceptible to joint dislocations because their ligaments are looser than normal. You may have a hereditary predisposition to joint dislocation if you have close family members with a history of dislocations that are not the result of trauma.
What are the Symptoms of a Dislocated Knee?
You should suspect that your knee may be dislocated if you experience the following symptoms:
- The knee appears out of place or deformed.
- Your knee is swollen and extremely painful.
- You are unable to move or bend your knee.
A dislocated knee typically requires immediate medical treatment. This is especially critical if your leg is numb, cold to the touch, pale, or you can not feel a pulse in your foot. These are all indications of impaired circulation, which could lead to loss of the leg if not treated immediately.
Knee Dislocation Treatment:
Knee joint dislocation injuries are typically treated by emergency or orthopaedic doctors. Treatment involves the following measures:
- Relocation or Reduction—The doctor will move the leg back to its natural alignment and verify that there is adequate blood flow.
- Immobilisation—The doctor will prescribe a splint or boot designed to hold the knee is place while the ligaments heal.
- Physical Therapy—Once the ligaments have had adequate time to heal, your orthopaedist may prescribe physical therapy to help you regain strength and range of motion in your knee.
In some instances, surgery may be required to repair the damage to nerves, vessels, and ligaments.
Self-Care Tips for Knee Injuries:
A dislocated knee is not something that you should treat at home. Self-treatment should be limited to immediate first aid only. First aid measures include resting the affected knee and using ice, compression, and elevation to reduce pain and swelling.
Preventing Knee Dislocations:
The following actions can reduce your risk of knee injuries:
- Take steps to prevent falls such as installing adequate lighting in your home, removing trip hazards, and getting regular vision checks.
- Wear protective gear when playing sports.
- Do exercises recommended by your orthopaedist to improve strength and stability.
With proper treatment, your knee can be restored to near normal function. Depending on the extent of your injury, your orthopaedist may suggest you refrain from certain activities to reduce the chances of reinjury.