Knee Dislocation and Treatment: A Basic Overview


If you have dislocated your knee, you often will experience a series of symptoms that are hard not to notice. For example, once you dislocate your knee, you will frequently have a hard time with mobility. In addition, the knee is frequently unable to support any amount of weight. In severe dislocations, the knee cap not only moves away from the joint but moves to the outer part of the leg.

A Painful and Severe Injury

Patients who have dislocated their knees often experience pain when they are standing. Whilst the pain may fade over time, this does not mean that the knee has healed or is healing. In many instances, the knee will be tender to the touch and bruising may appear, especially if the knee was directly injured.

In some instances, fluid may become trapped around a kneecap after a bad injury. When swelling is pronounced, it can affect a person’s ability to straighten his or her leg. Any form of dislocation is serious and must be treated with the utmost attention.

Most Dislocations Occur as the Result of Traffic Accidents

Statistically, knee dislocations with minor mechanisms are not common and therefore represent a low percentage of orthopaedic injuries. Usually, a dislocation results from a high-energy type trauma. Whilst motor vehicle mishaps account for over 50% of the dislocations, sports injuries contribute to about one-third of injuries.

Dislocation of the knee becomes a chronic condition when it occurs over a period of three weeks. The anatomical classification depends on the dislocation of the tibia in association to the femur or the pattern of the related injuries. The five types of dislocation cover the anterior, lateral, posterior, rotatory, and medial areas.

For example, an anterior dislocation results when the knee is hyperextended and is deemed the most common form of dislocation. Any dislocation of the knee is always associated with ligament damage. However, the pattern can vary to a considerable degree. The complete disruption of the main ligament stabilisers is normally uncommon, accounting for about 10% of all cases.

However, this does not mean that the injury does not hurt any less. In cases where surgery is indicated, the doctor normally tries to correct the knee dislocation as well as any damage in the form of fractures, torn ligaments, or damaged blood vessels or nerves. In some cases, surgery is not performed for one to three weeks, allowing time for the swelling to subside. In the interim, a patient may need to wear a splint or apply ice to the injury. After a procedure, the patient may wear a knee brace during the healing process.

The cure for dislocation usually involves relocation of the knee. A process known as reduction is a surgical remedy in which the doctor repositions the lower leg back to its regular position.