Common Reasons Why You Cant Straighten Your Knee
- Meniscus tear. Specifically abucket handle tear of the meniscus. This is a unique tear where the torn piece of meniscus flips into the center of the knee joint.
This torn piece then locks your knee and prevents it from straightening. If you have a bucket handle tear of the meniscus, you will find it impossible to straighten your knee completely. These tears can be repaired or sutured back into place. The sooner they are repaired, the better the chance that the tear will heal well. Its not an emergency, but you should see someone sooner rather than later.
With a bucket handle tear, you will usually feel as if something is caught in the knee and preventing it from straightening. Thats because the meniscus has flipped over and is sitting in the middle of the knee joint preventing it from fully straightening. You will also have severe pain when trying to straighten a knee with a bucket handle tear.
Most bucket handle tears will require surgery to put the torn piece back into position and sew it back into place. The torn portion often requires a repair so that it has a chance to heal. The success rate of fixing a bucket handle tear is very high.
- ACL tear. If you had a twisting injury and felt a pop, there is nearly a 75 % chance that your injured your ACL. Many athletes with an ACL tear will find it painful to straighten the knee. The knee isnt locked, but it hurts too much to straighten it out.
How Can I Manage A Knee Sprain
- Rest your knee and do not exercise. Do not walk on your injured leg if you are told to keep weight off your knee. Rest helps decrease swelling and allows the injury to heal. You can do gentle range of motion exercises as directed to prevent stiffness.
- Apply ice on your knee for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover the bag with a towel before you apply it. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
- Apply compression to your knee as directed. You may need to wear an elastic bandage. This helps keep your injured knee from moving too much while it heals. It should be tight enough to give support but so tight that it causes your toes to feel numb or tingly. Take the bandage off and rewrap it at least 1 time each day.
- Elevate your knee above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your leg on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably. Do not put pillows directly behind your knee.
Protect Your Knee From Further Injury
Ligaments keep the knee joint stable. So, when you have a torn ligament, your knee lacks stability. making it vulnerable to more damage.
This makes protecting your joint the first step to healing from your knee injury.
Now, the degree of protection will depend on the severity of the tear.
Mild sprains may get by with some rest and a knee sleeve. But, moderate or severe tears may need a hinged knee brace.
This may help: 5 Differences between a knee sleeve and a brace
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How Is A Knee Sprain Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask about your injury and examine you. Tell him or her if you heard a snap or pop when you were injured. Your provider will check the movement and strength of your joint. You may be asked to move the joint. You may also need any of the following:
- An x-ray, CT scan or MRI may show the sprain or other damage. You may be given contrast liquid to help your injury show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
- Arthroscopy is a procedure to look inside your joint with a scope. The scope is a long tube with a magnifying glass, a camera, and a light on the end.
Recovery From A Knee Strain Or Sprain
It is important to work with your physician closely before you return to your everyday routine. When recovered, you should be able to perform simple exercises such as squatting, running, side to side motions and jumping without pain.
A mild sprain is healed after six weeks of resting and treating the knee. A severe strain or sprain can take as long as three to four months. The exact recovery time will depend on the treatment plan that your doctor and physical therapist recommend for you as well as the nature of the injury.
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Ligament Injuries With Twisted Knees
When a twisted knee injury occurs, it usually involves a ligament, in particular the ACL. The ACL limits the forward motion and the twisting motion of the shinbone and is thus prone to injury when the knee is extended beyond a normal range. Ligaments can stretch and even tear depending on the severity of motion. More than one ligament can be injured with a twisted knee, but more often than not it involves only one. However, thats still more than enough to cause a great deal of discomfort.
Top 3 Signs You Have A Knee Meniscus Tear
Home » Top 3 Signs You Have a Knee Meniscus Tear
When dealing with knee pain, it can be unclear where the pain is stemming from. But by identifying if you may have a knee meniscus tear or not, you can begin the healing process more efficiently.
Meniscus tears are among the most common knee injuries in individuals 50 and over. It often leads to pain and a limited range of motion, yikes!
Each of your knees has two C-shaped pieces of cartilage on either side of your knee cap that acts as a cushion between your shinbone and your thighbone.
The inside cartilage is termed the medial meniscus while the outside is called the lateral meniscus.
When healthy, these menisci act like suction cups to keep your knee stable. And although lateral meniscus tears are less likely than medial tears, both injuries decrease the suction ability of the cartilage. This causes the knee to feel unstable and leads to pain.
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Is My Knee Injury Serious 5 Signs To Look For
Howard J. Luks, MDUpdated September 17, 2021
Your knee twists, you hear a pop, and now you have knee swelling and pain when trying to walk or with bending your knee. Perhaps you were struck by another player and have bruising, but no swelling. Are these severe knee injuries? When should you consider seeing a Sports Medicine Doctor following a knee injury? Lets go over 5 things that trained professionals look for to determine if your knee injury is serious.
As an active athlete or competitor, you know that severe knee injuries are common. Both contact and non-contact knee injuries can be severe. This post will cover five signs to look for to help determine if you might have a severe knee injury. In general, the most common and worrisome finding is immediate, significant swelling.
Even though most of the injuries I see in the office turn out to be mild, it is essential for you to know what the warning signs are to look for a potentially severe knee injury.
You Cant Straighten Your Knee Or Leg
If you have trouble straightening your leg or it hurts to do so, you probably have a serious knee injury.
To test this, start in a seated position and try to lift your lower leg using your own leg muscles. You may still be able to bear weight and walk slowly and carefully without assistance, but will probably require assistance to lift your lower leg and fully extend your injured knee, says Dr. Brown.
Patella fractures, quadriceps tendon tears, and patellar tendon tears all tend to be associated with an inability to straighten the leg.
Use a knee immobilizer to hold the knee in a straight position and help with pain relief. This also makes it easier to move about until your appointment with an orthopedic surgeon, he adds.
Another test is to lie down and try to straighten your leg. The goal is to get your knee to lie flat. This might be difficult or impossible to do due to the pain, but what you should watch out for is a total inability to straighten your knee.
Some of the problems that could cause a locked knee include meniscus tears or a torn ACL. The key is to determine whether you cant straighten your knee due to sheer pain or physical blockage. If you feel blocked, then we recommend getting in touch with a doctor sooner rather than later.
On the flip side, you might have trouble bending your knee. If your knee feels stuck in any way, and the feeling doesnt go away within a few hours, you could be experiencing something more severe.
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Key Points About Knee Strain Or Sprain
- A knee sprain damages ligaments, while a strain damages the knees tendons or muscles.
- Strains often result from overuse or a sudden increase in pressure on the joint, while sprains often result from falls or collisions during contact sports other physical activities.
- Knee strains or sprains can cause swelling, pain and tenderness in the affected knee, as well as buckling and trouble bending the knee.
- While many strains and sprains can be treated at home, you should call your doctor immediately if your knee pain is so severe that you cannot walk or bend the knee.
Why A Twisted Knee Is So Painful & How To Fix It
So youve decided to go for a walk in the woods and choose to take the rough path
Youre enjoying yourself while the sun is out and the sunlight filters through the trees, when suddenly, your foot slips off a branch and you suffer a twisted knee
Theres instant pain all along the edge of the joint on the inside of your knee, and it feels like it might give way at any time. You hobble back to the car and hope that this pain goes away quickly
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Treatment For A Knee Strain Or Sprain
Many patients can self-treat knee strain or sprain with rest, ice, compression, elevation and anti-inflammatory medication. If the pain is moderate to severe, your physician may require you to wear a brace over the knee to provide stability. More advanced knee strains or sprains can be treated with the following treatments:
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation physical therapy is crucial to help strengthen the knee after a strain or sprain your physical therapist will work with you to gradually add exercises that will help restore mobility in the knee.
- PRP therapy PRP therapy for knee strains or sprains is a newer therapy where your orthopedic physician will remove a blood sample from the patient, put the blood in a centrifuge to separate out the platelets and then inject them back into the patient at the affected site in the knee.
Start Moving As Early As You Can
Early movement not only helps reduce swelling and pain but it can also boost your recovery if done properly. Its best to do this under the supervision of a healthcare provider, though.
Now, the best exercises for knee sprains will vary.
In a severely injured ligament, they can look like quad squeezes. For others, it could be walking to help the sprain heal.
Whatever the case, these early exercises will strengthen your knee joint and get you back to normal.
Later in your recovery, you can take this a step further by strengthening with an elastic bandage, bodyweight exercises, or weights.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Twisted Knee
Young says that if youre still suffering persistent sharp pain a day or two after the initial injury, for example, when you stand up from a seated position, it could be a sign of something structural being injured. ‘It doesn’t necessarily mean it needs help it could go away on its own after a week or two. But it’s a sign that you might need to rest from activity for a while.’
The second sign would be that, as you’re getting back into running, the same thing occurs. ‘It could feel fine on your first run back, but then similar symptoms start to build up again. Its most likely not a coincidence and would be a good time to get it looked at by a professional.
‘Running on grass is better for your knees as there’s more shock absorption when compared to running on road where it’s solid concrete, but the benefit of roads is that they are more predictable.’
Despite this, you can get stark changes in terrain on roads curves, manhole covers, cracks, divots, pot holes. ‘The other traumatic knee injury road runners suffer is when you have to jolt to a stop due to a car pulling out unexpectedly. A sudden change of pace puts a lot of stress on the joints, muscles and tendons.’
Risk Factors For A Knee Strain Or Sprain
- Contact sports participating in contact sports such as football, basketball and soccer put you at a higher risk for knee sprains or strains.
- Prior knee strains or sprains prior sprains or strains to the knee make you more likely to suffer another knee sprain or strain.
- Improper footwear wearing improper footwear can put additional pressure on the knee joint and cause a knee strain or sprain.
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A Knee Ligament Injuries
The most common knee twisting injury is a ligament sprain. When the knee twists too far, one or more of the ligaments may be placed under too much tension and as a result over-stretch. There are three different grades of sprain depending on the severity of the knee twisting injury.
- Grade 1: None, or very few of the ligaments fibres are actually torn, they have just been over-stretched
- Grade 2: Some of the fibres have been torn but the ligament is still intact
- Grade 3: The entire ligament has torn, aka complete rupture
The medial and lateral collateral ligaments sit on the sides of the knee joint, the medial collateral ligament on the inner side and the lateral collateral ligament on the outer side of the knee.
The cruciate ligaments control how much the knee bones glide forwards and backwards so are often overstretched with a twisted knee. The ACL is the most common knee ligament injury.
Diagnosing A Twisted Knee
The level of pain and immobility that results from a twisted knee depends on the severity of the movement and injury. Luckily, if the ligaments that surround the knee have not sustained significant damage, they should heal themselves within days or weeks. Twisted knee injuries can be scary events, thats why its important to see a sports medicine professional like Dr. Millstein to be sure about whats best for you.
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How To Treat Knee Sprains
A knee sprain is not an ideal diagnosis because it does not tell you which ligament is injured or how severely it is injured. If you suspect that you have a knee sprain, consult a physician to undergo further diagnosis.
Minor knee sprains may heal over time with rest, ice, compression and elevation . Patients can also control pain and inflammation by taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Wearing a brace or compression sleeve for the sprain will also help provide the added stability you need while healing. More serious injuries such as a torn ACL may require surgery and physical therapy.
As with any injury, your doctor will be the best source of advice on the appropriate treatment method for your situation.
Severe Sprains May Require Surgery
Generally, surgery becomes an option if:
- Conservative treatment isnt enough, or
- Youre an athlete who wants to go back to your sport as fast as possible.
Those criteria also mean that surgery is mostly reserved for competitive athletes with grave injuries. An example would be PCL injuries as they tend to be severe.
Most times, the procedure is done by arthroscopic surgery. This is a minimally invasive technique that can reduce recovery times.
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Manage Knee Pain And Swelling
Pain is an alarm that reminds you the area is vulnerable. Swelling, on the other hand, takes repair cells to the damaged tissue and makes sure it recovers properly.
So, we dont want to mute pain or have no inflammation at all. Otherwise, the tear wont heal. But, excessive pain and swelling can also delay your recovery.
Focusing on natural strategies that reduce swelling and pain will get you to that sweet spot with boosted healing.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Knee Sprain
The following are sprained knee symptoms:
- Pain around the affected area
- Swelling around the sprained section of the knee
- Knee instability, leading to your knee buckling under the pressure of your weight
- Bruising, moderate to severe, depending on the sprain
- A popping sound when the injury occurs
- Stiffness and decreased movement due to pain
- Limited to no range of motion
- Depending on which ligament you injure, your symptoms could differ.
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