You Cant Put Weight On It
If its immensely painful to stand or put any weight on your injured knee, theres definitely something serious going on.
Inability to bear weight after a knee injury could be caused by a fracture, bone contusion, cartilage injury or ligament tear, explains Dr. Brown. Initial treatment includes using crutches or a steerable scooter to take pressure off the injured limb and minimize additional damage to the knee.
If this sounds like you, listen to what your body is trying to tell you. Dr. Brown warns that the old adage of no pain, no gain doesnt apply in this situation.
He advises seeking orthopedic evaluation as soon as possibleeven that same day if you can.
After a minor injury like a twist or fall, you might not be able to put weight on your leg immediately. Thats not necessarily a cause for alarm, but if you dont feel like youve recovered within a few minutes, this could indicate something more serious.
Its similar to when you injure a wrist or ankle. If you fall on your wrist or twist your ankle, you may experience searing pain for a moment or two. When the injury isnt severe, youre able to shake it off and resume your life after a few minutes at the most. However, if youve experienced a sprain, the pain doesnt subside. Instead, it gets worse.
How Can You Tell If You Have Torn Cartilage Or A Muscle In Your Knee
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Types Of Knee Cartilage Tears
What part of your knee cartilage have you injured? The two most common types of knee cartilage injury are:
- Articular cartilage tears, affecting the cartilage covering the ends of your bones at the knee joint. An injury to this cartilage is called a chondral injury. Chondral injury is commonly seen in cyclists, runners, skiers, and soccer players.
- Meniscus tears, affecting the c-shaped shock absorbers located on either side of your knee joint. Meniscus tears can happen to anyone at any age, but are particularly common in athletes who play contact sports like hockey or football.
Ligament injuries of the knee, such as ACL tears and PCL tears, are frequently confused with cartilage injuries. Though these are also components of the knee and share similar symptoms to cartilage tears, they’re different and may be treated differently.
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How To Treat A Knee Sprain
To determine if you have a knee sprain, your Raleigh Orthopaedic sports medicine physician will ask you for a complete medical history, have you describe your symptoms and how the knee injury occurred and conduct a physical examination. An X-ray or MRI may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis and determine if there are other problems.
The fastest way to heal a knee sprain is resting the injury at home and physical therapy.
There are several treatment options for a knee sprain. In most cases, you wont need surgery. An ACL tear is the most likely ligament to need surgery.
- Physical therapy exercises
- Over the counter pain medication
If surgery is necessary, it will be done arthroscopically, which means there will be a few small incisions made and it will usually take place at Raleigh Orthopaedic Surgery Center as an outpatient surgical procedure.
What Is The Medical Treatment For A Knee Injury
More serious knee injuries require medical care.
Knee immobilization or splinting keeps the knee from moving and decreases the chance of further injury. Immobilizing the knee can help stabilize an injured knee that may not be stable due to torn ligaments. It also keeps the knee from moving to assist in resting the knee.
Chronic knee injuries involving inflammation and bursitis may be treated with anti-inflammatories. Injections of cortisone may be helpful in these situations.
More extensive injuries involving torn ligaments, instability of the knee joint, swelling, decreased range of motion, or fractures will require an orthopedic surgeon consultation. In the initial stages of these more extensive injuries, RICE therapy can still be used. Staying off the leg by using crutches or a wheelchair may be advised.
Surgery may be indicated for tears of the ligaments or extensive meniscal tears. Surgery may also be needed for fractures or dislocations of the knee. Some acute injuries such as those with high-force impact, or multiple parts of the knee damaged, may require emergency surgery.
Most knee surgery can be done by arthroscopy, a procedure in which a camera is used and small punctures are made in the knee to insert instruments. Repairs can be done inside the knee without having the open the knee with a large incision. Most arthroscopic surgeries do not need to be done immediately after an acute injury. Some are delayed to allow for decreased inflammation.
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Treating A Strained Knee
Grade Iii Meniscus Tear
A grade III meniscus tear is more serious and can cause long term damage if not managed properly. With a grade III tear, the edges of the meniscus can come loose and fold over inside the knee joint, causing a lot of pain and dysfunction. If you imagine the C-shaped cartilage, you can see that it serves as a cushion between the bones to aid in gliding of the joint. Now, if there are pieces coming loose and floating around in the joint or even doubles over, you can imagine the pain and discomfort such an injury can bring. A grade III meniscus tear may require surgery, but please see our updated information below on surgery vs conservative treatment. Rehabilitation is important with or without surgery and it is essential to follow your physiotherapists protocol during this time.
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What Is The Prognosis For A Knee Injury
The goal for treating knee injuries is to return the patient to their previous level of activity. The prognosis for an individual injury depends upon the type of injury, the underlying health of the patient, and their willingness to work with their care provider and therapist to maximize their outcome.
When Should You Call Your Doctor
- You have severe pain in your knee.
- Your knee appears to be deformed.
- You have signs of damage to the nerves or blood vessels. Signs include numbness, tingling, a “pins-and-needles” sensation below the injury, an inability to move your leg below the injury, pale or bluish skin, or your leg feels cold.
- You have severe swelling in your knee right after the injury.
- Your knee starts to swell within 2 hours of the injury.
- You hear or feel a pop in your knee during an injury.
- Your knee won’t bear weight.
- You can’t straighten your leg completely.
- Your knee is unstable, buckles, or gives out.
- Your knee “locks” in one position.
- You’ve had an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the past, and you have reinjured your knee.
Before your appointment, don’t put weight on the injured knee. Use crutches if you need to. Apply ice and wrap your knee in an elastic bandage or neoprene sleeve. Rest and elevate the knee. Take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen or naproxen , to reduce swelling.
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How To Tell If You Strained Your Knee
This article was co-authored by Jonathan Frank, MD. Dr. Jonathan Frank is an Orthopedic Surgeon based in Beverly Hills, California, specializing in sports medicine and joint preservation. Dr. Frank’s practice focuses on minimally invasive, arthroscopic surgery of the knee, shoulder, hip, and elbow. Dr. Frank holds an MD from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine. He completed an orthopedic residency at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and a fellowship in Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Hip Preservation at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado. He is a staff team physician for the US Ski and Snowboard Team. Dr. Frank is currently a scientific reviewer for top peer-reviewed scientific journals, and his research has been presented at regional, national, and international orthopedic conferences, winning several awards including the prestigious Mark Coventry and William A Grana awards.There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 98% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 54,091 times.
What Exercises Are Recommended And What Exercises Should Be Avoided During Rehabilitation For A Knee Injury
During physical therapy for rehabilitation of a knee injury, the patient will be given specific exercises by the physical therapist in order to strengthen and stabilize the knee joint. These exercises include strengthening the front of the thigh , back of the thigh , calf, and hip. Consult your doctor and your physical therapist before starting any exercise program. Your physical therapist should insure you perform the exercises properly before doing them on your own.
If you have any pain or discomfort while doing prescribed exercises, see your doctor or physical therapist.
Some exercises your physical therapist may recommend include the following:
- Quad sets
- Straight-leg raise to the front
- Straight-leg raise to the back
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has an exercise guide that includes directions and pictures. Consult your doctor or physical therapist before trying any of these exercises on your own.
Some exercises to avoid following knee injury include the following:
- Full-arc knee extensions
These exercises can further stress already damaged knee joints.
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What Causes Tears In The Medial Collateral Ligament
Injuries to the medial collateral ligament most often happen when the knee is hit directly on its outer side. This stretches the ligaments on the inside of the knee too far or can tear them.
It is not uncommon for athletes to suffer tears of the medial collateral ligament and anterior cruciate ligament at the same time. The ligament also can be injured through repeated stress. This causes the ligament to lose its normal stretch and elasticity similar to a worn-out rubber band.
What Are Complications Of Knee Injuries
Knee injuries are rarely life-threatening, though severe injuries may be disabling. Some knee injuries lead to chronic, irreversible damage to the knee and may result in complications such as long-term dysfunction. Knee-joint dislocations can cause blood vessel injuries and can lead to severe disability.
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What To Think About
Depending on how bad your injury is, surgery with rehab may offer the best chance of making your knee stable again. It also may help you return to an active lifestyle without further pain, injury, or loss of strength and movement in your knee.
If your injured knee gives out now and then and you continue to do activities that require a stable knee, you may injure your knee again. That may be another reason to consider surgery.
You will need to follow a rehab program whether or not you have surgery. If you don’t complete a rehab program, even with surgery you may not regain full stability and function in your knee.
The Meniscus Tear Test
Before utilizing more sophisticated imaging, your doctor may guide you through a series of movements to test the overall mobility of the knee joint and pinpoint the underlying knee injury. In this way, your doctor can also rule out other possible knee injuries and conditions. The circumduction knee test is used to demonstrate knee locking, knee clicking, pain, general mobility limitations, and instability. This test will identify any protruding meniscus tags or fully adrift loose bodies in the knee. A loose body in the knee will prevent the knee from moving optimally and may also cause the knee to catch and lock up.
What Are Risk Factors For Knee Injuries
Accidents happen, and injuries occur on the football field, on the basketball court, on the soccer pitch, and in daily life. Often knee injuries cannot be prevented. Maintaining a healthy weight, keeping fit, staying strong, and stretching may be helpful in minimizing the risk of many injuries, including those that involve the knee.
Imbalances of muscles that surround and support the knee can lead to knee injuries. If either the quadriceps or hamstring muscle groups become weak, the stability of the knee and ability to withstand an injury is decreased.
Similarly, an imbalance between muscles within the quadriceps muscles of the thigh may cause the kneecap to track improperly, causing patellofemoral syndrome or increasing the risk of patellar dislocation.
Pregnant women are at higher risk for knee injury and pain because of increased weight, the body’s shifted center of gravity, and hormonal changes that can weaken ligaments and make them more lax.
The knee joint absorbs a significant amount of the force that is generated with each step with walking or running. People who are significantly overweight may develop knee pain because of the excess weight that needs to be supported.
How Can You Tell If You Have A Torn Meniscus
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So what is the meniscus? Its a piece of cartilage in your knee that cushions and stabilizes the joint. It protects the bones from wear and tear. But all it takes is a good twist of the knee to tear the meniscus. In some cases, a piece of the shredded cartilage breaks loose and catches in the knee joint, causing it to lock up.
Meniscus tears are common in contact sports like football as well as non-contact sports requiring jumping and cutting such as volleyball and soccer. They can happen when a person changes direction suddenly while running, and often occur at the same time as other knee injuries, like an anterior cruciate ligament injury. Meniscus tears are a special risk for older athletes since the meniscus weakens with age. More than 40% of people 65 or older have them.
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How Is A Dislocated Knee Diagnosed
Following a potential knee dislocation, a healthcare providers first priority will be to stabilize your injured limb.
Reduction, or repositioning of the injured joint, is crucial in order to reduce any pressure on the skin, blood vessels, and nerves in the affected area. Sometimes reduction occurs spontaneously before youre able to see a healthcare provider.
Once youre stabilized, your doctor can then assess the extent of your injury. They can perform various tests to determine the amount of ligament damage thats occurred. These tests typically involve determining the stability and range of movement of specific parts of the knee.
Since a dislocated knee can cause potentially serious disruption to the blood vessels and nerves of the joint, your doctor will perform an examination to assess if injury to these structures has occurred. This exam may include:
Additionally, a technique called arteriogram may be used to assess blood vessel damage. It combines an injected dye and X-rays so your doctor can see how your blood flows through the arteries in your legs.
How To Know If You Tore Your Acl
A torn anterior cruciate ligament is a common sports injury. You can have a torn ACL when engaging in football, soccer, skiing, and other sporting activities that involve pivoting, cutting, and extension of the legs. As it involves the ligaments in the knee, you are likely to experience excruciating pain after sustaining the injury. However, you have to learn the signs of torn ACL because you will feel pain after other types of accidents.
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