Any knee injury can lead to a painful and long recovery and, chances are, we will all experience an injury to our knee at some time in our life. Although not as common as a dislocated kneecap, a knee dislocation can lead to very serious complications which we would like to avoid. Taking the appropriate steps to ensure a healthy recovery is highly important. For the best knee dislocation recovery possible you will want to seek treatment immediately, keep all weight off of the affected leg, and do everything possible to ease the pain. Make sure you don’t walk on the leg and do elevate it, to reduce pain and swelling. Dislocated knee recovery can take up to a full year for a full recovery but it is dependent on the extent of the damage.
Dislocated Knee Signs and the Right Way to Deal with It
Your knee is held together with tendons and ligaments. A knee dislocation most likely means that these have been torn, or possibly even broken bones. The most common issue with this injury is that the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), which are the main ligaments in the knee, are both torn. Another issue may be damage to the cartilage inside your joint that provides stability to your knee.
With any trauma to the knee you should be on the lookout for serious signs of injury. If you notice any swelling, a misshapen knee, pain, or bruising then you will want to seek medical treatment. If you are not able to bend or move your knee due to pain you may face a serious problem. A dislocated knee must be diagnosed by your doctor and can usually be done through a visual exam. It is possible that they may use an X-Ray or MRI to view the extent of the damage. If you’re thinking about waiting and letting it heal on its own, don’t! Depending on the extent of your injury, a knee dislocation could cut off circulation in a major artery which is very time sensitive. If this goes unchecked, it could lead to amputation of your lower leg! Recovery can be a long, arduous journey, however, you will certainly lengthen the time it takes to heal if you wait to seek a medical opinion. No one likes going to the doctor but the risk far outweighs the long, uncomfortable wait.
Do’s and Don’ts for Treating a Dislocated Knee
Do See a Doctor!
Due to the severity of this injury you will need to see your physician. If the damage to your knee is not too terrible then your doctor will be able to pop the knee back in place. If there are torn ligaments or tendons you will need surgery.
Whether your injury requires surgery or not, you will not want to put any added pressure or weight on your knee. Not only would this be painful but can add a significant amount of time to your knee dislocation recovery.
If you do not need surgery you will need to wear a splint and use crutches for a few weeks to give yourself time to heal.
If your injury requires surgery you will need to follow this step before and after the operation. It can be some time before the doctor is ready to operate so be patient and follow the next two steps.
Do Use Ibuprofen and Ice
To reduce pain and swelling take Ibuprofen and ice your knee as often as possible. Be sure to remember to take the least amount of Ibuprofen as possible for the pain management. Too much can lead to bad side effects and do more harm than good for your over-all well-being. Although the pain of a knee dislocation recovery can be immense, it does not do well to damage the rest of your body with any over-use of pain medication.
Do Elevate It
Elevating can ease the strain on your injury while also reduce the swelling. Remember that any swelling can lead to unnecessary discomfort. Before your doctor can operate they will need to wait for the swelling to go down around your knee. Elevating whenever possible can lead to a speedier dislocated knee recovery.
Once your brace is off your doctor will recommend physical therapy to guarantee you recover to the fullest. Note that if you had surgery it will take much longer to reach this step. The time you spend in rehab for your knee can take up to a year so be patient and make sure that you’re doing the recommended exercises to the best of your ability. After a knee dislocation, you may never recover full mobility of the affected knee, however, this step is key to getting the healthiest knee possible. Below are some helpful exercises for healing:
After Your Knee Dislocation Recovery
After any kind of joint dislocation, the chances of it happening again are much higher. To make certain you don’t create future complications allow yourself the full time needed to recover and follow all advice given by your doctor. After your doctor and physical therapist have determined that your injury has been healed make sure to use caution in all physical activities. If you feel any pain or discomfort consult your physician. Continue the recommended exercises to guarantee that your knee joint is stable and ready for action. Also, although it has not been proven, some studies show that the supplement Glucosamine can have a good benefit for the range of motion after dislocated knee recovery. Be sure to talk to your doctor regarding any extra steps you can take to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
Time Needed to Heal
Although the road to recovery will be long and painful don’t give up! The full recovery time for this injury can take up to a year or more so perseverance will determine how well you recover. If you skip a step or neglect your rehabilitation, then you will regret it in the long run. So be sure to keep not only your chin up, but your knee too. Don’t forget the ice!