How Is It Treated
Start first aid right away. These first-aid tips will reduce swelling and pain. Use the RICE method. The letters stand for R est the knee, put I ce on it, use an elastic bandage to give gentle C ompression to the knee, and E levate the leg by propping it up above the level of your heart. And at first it’s also important to move your leg as little as possible.
Take over-the-counter pain medicine. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
You may need to walk with crutches and use a knee immobilizer to keep your knee still for the first few days after the injury.
Your knee will need to be checked by your doctor. It’s important to get treatment. If you don’t, the injury may become a long-lasting problem. There are two ways to treat the injury:
- Exercises and training, also called rehab. It takes several months of rehab for your knee to get better.
- Surgery. You and your doctor can decide if rehab is enough or if surgery is right for you.
If you have surgery, you will also have several months of rehab afterward.
Your treatment will depend on how much of the ACL is torn, whether other parts of the knee are injured, how active you are, your age, your overall health, and how long ago the injury occurred.
There are three main treatment goals:
What Type Of Doctor Should I See For My Knee Injury
If you suffer a knee injury, should you go to an emergency room or urgent care center, your primary care doctor, or to an orthopedic surgeon? In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I discuss your options if youre dealing with a nagging knee problem that isnt getting better.
Bridget asks:A few days ago, as I was walking in the street, my left leg locked on me twice. At that time, I experienced excruciating pain in my knee. Since then my leg has locked a few times while walking, and the pain is constant at the top of my knee when I try to straighten it out. When it is bent, I do not have pain. I do not have any swelling, just pain and locking. I also feel off balance. Do you think that I should see my GP first instead of an orthopedic surgeon? Or should I just go to see the surgeon for an evaluation?
There are many benefits to seeing your primary care doctor first, even if it is for a bone or joint injury. First, many insurance companies require patients to see their doctor and get a referral. Plus they know you, and you have a long relationship with you. And you might be able to see your personal doctor very quickly.
On the other hand, they are not as familiar with evaluation of musculoskeletal injuries as orthopedic surgeons. In this video, I discuss some of the potential drawbacks of seeing your primary care doctor first and when you might consider trying to see an orthopedic surgeon first.
Best Knee Brace For Meniscus Injury
- Pro: An unloader brace may prevent an injury from worsening.
- Con: Restricted movement could lead to stiffness.
Consider this an alternative to an unloader brace. An unloader brace from a reputable company can run $350 or more, and can sometimes restrict movement beyond whats comfortable, so it might be best to try a slightly less technical brace first.
A typical hinged brace, like this one from Pro-Tec, provides dual-axis hinges for enhanced stability while still allowing for full range of motion.
It comes in two sizes, medium and large. Customers on Amazon report less pain and ease of use. Some customers felt it was too heavy duty and resulted in an uncomfortable wear.
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Location Of Knee Pain Symptoms
The location of your knee pain can help determine which structures are at fault and can help ensure proper treatment. Remember to check with your physician, physical therapist, or healthcare provider if symptoms are severe or last more than a few weeks.
If you develop acute knee pain, immediately follow the R.I.C.E. principle. R.I.C.E. stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. After a few days of R.I.C.E., you can begin using the leg, only gently.
If knee pain persists for more than 2-3 weeks, you should visit a doctor, physical therapist, or another healthcare provider to rule out any major problem and to ensure proper diagnosis and management.
Knee Replacement Surgery A Knee After A Knee Replacement
Total are partial knee replacements are another most common type of knee surgery. Depending on the severity of arthritis of the knee, a partial or total knee replacement can be performed. If only a compartment of the knee is arthritic, the doctors will use implant pieces to only replace that compartment. If the entire joint is in need of replacement, doctors will use a metal and plastic knee replacement implant to restore the nature of the knee.
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Other Surgeries Using Arthroscopy Of The Knee
Arthroscopy of the KneePlica Removal From the Knee
The plica is a remnant of tissue from fetal development. Generally, it is lost over time, but in some cases, some of the plica will remain. If conservative treatment of plica irritation does not resolve the symptoms, arthroscopy can be used to remove the excess plica from the knee.
What Is The Prognosis Of A Knee Injury
The prognosis of a knee injury depends on the type and severity of the injury.
Most minor knee injuries heal on their own with conservative treatment. The prognosis for these types of injures is good.
Ligament or cartilage injuries that lead to dysfunction or instability of the knee may require surgery. These injuries generally respond well to surgery and patients can ultimately gain full or nearly full range of knee motion.
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Diagnosing A Fluid In The Knee
Visually, a knee with fluid will usually look swollen and puffy. If your physician suspects that fluid in the knee may be an issue, he or she may extract some fluid from the knee using a sterile syringe to assess what type of fluid is present. A lab test may be requested to test for the presence of infection or other types of issues. Your doctor may also suggest an imaging test, such as X-ray , MRI or ultrasound which will help him or her evaluate the situation.
What Are Knee Injury Treatments
Almost all knee injuries will need more than one visit to the doctor. If no operation is indicated, then RICE with some strengthening exercises and perhaps physical therapy will be needed. Sometimes the decision for surgery is delayed to see if the RICE and physical therapy will be effective. Each injury is unique, and treatment decisions depend on what the expectation for function will be. As an example, a torn ACL would usually require surgery in a young athlete or a construction worker, but the ACL may be treated nonoperatively with physical therapy in an 80-year-old who is not very active.
With the technology available, many knee injuries that require surgery can be treated surgically with an arthroscope, in which a camera is used to visualize the damage and small punctures are made in the knee to insert instruments to make repairs. Patients usually begin their post-op rehabilitation within days of the surgery.
If there is no rush to operate, then opportunity exists to pre-hab or strengthen the quadriceps and hamstring muscles beforehand. When a joint like the knee is injured, the muscles around it start to weaken almost immediately. This is also true after the surgery, which can also be considered a further injury. Strong muscles in the preoperative state allow the potential for easier postoperative therapy.
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When To See A Doctor
If knee pain becomes chronic, is severe, or lasts for more than a week, a person should consult a doctor. It is important to see a doctor if there is a reduced range of motion in the joint or if bending the knee becomes difficult.
In cases of blunt force or trauma, a doctor should be seen immediately after an injury has occurred.
Treatment will vary based on the cause of the knee pain and the specifics of the injury. In cases of strain or overuse injuries, rest and ice will typically allow the knee to heal over time.
Treatment may also involve managing pain and inflammation with medication. In most cases, a person will need to rest for a period of time.
Tears or other trauma-induced injuries may require bracing, popping the knee back into place, or surgery. In the case of surgery, a person will likely not be able to use the knee after the procedure and may need either crutches or a wheelchair while recovering.
In some cases, physical therapy may be needed to help a person regain movement and strength in their knee and leg.
How Are Knee Injuries Diagnosed
To diagnose a knee injury, health care providers ask about how the injury happened and what symptoms it causes.
The health care provider will do a physical exam that includes pressing on the knee and legs and moving them in certain ways. These tests can show what part of the knee is injured.
Imaging tests done sometimes used include:
- X-rays to check for injuries to the bones
- a CT scan or MRI to look inside the knee
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Why Does My Shoulder Hurt
If you are experiencing shoulder pain while sleeping, shoulder pain while exercising, sharp shoulder pain with overhead movement, or feeling instability, etc., it may be a minor concern or indicator of a serious issue.
Shoulder pain is usually caused by traumatic injuries, repetitive motion injuries, long-term wear & tear, or tissue disorders. Below are injuries that are common causes for shoulder pain, but it is best to gain a better understanding of your injury by entering your symptoms into our Shoulder Pain Diagnosis Symptom Checker and read Dr. Stone’s blog article on shoulder pain and when you should consider surgery.
Knee Meniscus Repair Surgery
Sometimes, a meniscus tear happens in a portion of the meniscus that has better blood supply. In this case, the doctor may choose to repair the torn meniscus with an arthroscopic procedure. .
This may be more beneficial to the patient, as it could decrease their risk of future arthritis by not having to remove a portion of the meniscus, but the recovery is typically longer.
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Prevention Of Knee Injuries
There are several things you can do to reduce your chance of damaging your knee ligaments. This will help to prevent other sports injuries too.
- Exercise regularly to keep your fitness levels up, and include some resistance training . Regular exercise will make your muscles stronger and more flexible, so they can support your joints, including your knees. If you haven’t been active for a while, start off gently and gradually increase the number, length and intensity of your exercise sessions.
Housemaids knee is the common name for prepatellar bursitis. Its often caused by the pressure of kneeling forwards for long periods. These days, prepatellar bursitis is often seen in carpet fitters or roofers anyone who spends a lot of time working on their knees.
See our Types of knee injury section for more information.
Most Common Knee Injuries
The knee is the largest joint of the body, and is also one of the most commonly injured joints. Bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons work together to form your knee joint and allow you to bend your leg. Because of all the moving parts on the knee and the sensitive nature of the joint, its very prone to multiple types of injuries.
If youre experiencing knee pain, its likely that youre suffering from one of the most common knee injuries. Well help you understand the makeup of the knee, as well as how to identify the symptoms of a knee injury. However, only your orthopaedic doctor can determine what injury youre dealing with.
Anatomy of the Knee
Within the knee joint are three bones: the femur , the tibia , and the patella . These three bones meet to form the knee joint. Articular cartilage covers the ends of the femur and the tibia, as well as the back of the patella. The cartilage allows the bones of the knee joint to smoothly glide against one another as you bend or straighten your leg. The meniscus is a tough and rubbery wedge-shaped cartilage located between your femur and tibia. The meniscus cartilage cushions the joint and also acts as a shock-absorber between the femur and tibia bones.
The tendons within your knee connect the muscles to the bones. The quadriceps tendon is located in the front of your thigh and connects those muscles to the patella. The patellar tendon connects your patella to your shinbone.
1. Knee Fracture
2. Knee Dislocation
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Grades Of Ligament Sprains
Ligament sprains are classified by the following grades:
- Grade 1: Only mild damage or stretching of the structure is present.
- Grade 2: Sprains or strains occur after a partial tear to the ligament or tendon.
- Grade 3: Sprains or strains involve a complete tear and usually lead to the greatest amount of difficulty.
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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Seven Most Common Knee Injuries
The knee joint is one of the largest and most complex joints in the body.
It is also one of the most important joints. Connecting the thigh bone to the shinbone, it plays an important role in supporting the bodys weight, and facilitating movement allowing you to bend your knee.
Due to the complexity of the knee joint, it is susceptible to a number of different injuries. Some of the most common knee joint injuries include tears in the ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. The kneecap itself can also be fractured or dislocated.
Lets look at some of the most common knee injuries. See how they are caused and the treatment thats required to address them.
The kneecap is a shield for your knee joint, and protects it from becoming injured or damaged during a fall. Because of this, the kneecap can become broken during a high impact fall or sports injury.
Kneecap fractures are a common yet serious injury that usually requires immobilization or in some cases surgery to correct.
Knee dislocations occur when the knee bones become out of place. This can occur after a major trauma such as a fall, car crash, or high-speed impact. It can also be caused by twisting the knee while one foot is firmly planted on the ground.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
The anterior cruciate ligament is knee tissue that joins the upper and lower leg bones together and helps keep the knee stable.
Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
Collateral Ligament Injuries
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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