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Knee Dislocation

Knee Dislocation Treatment Self-Care at Home

This injury should not be cared for at home. It is best to get medical care as soon as possible.

Placing ice on the injured area may help for some pain control and to decrease some of the swelling. But the most important treatment is to have a doctor assess the injury and relocate or put the knee back in place.

Medical Treatment

  • Relocation: The doctor will move your lower leg back into position.
  • Immobilization: To keep further injury from happening and to help with the beginning of healing, the entire knee joint will be kept in a splint or immobilizer. This will keep the knee from bending and help the tissues to start healing.
  • Referral: A knee dislocation almost always has severe tears of the ligaments and sometimes has breaks in the bones of the knee. After swelling has gone down, the knee may need surgery to regain function. A bone specialist (orthopedist) will need to see you after this injury.

Next Steps Follow-up

  • The knee should be immobilized, and you should be given crutches.
  • Do not put weight on the affected leg. Elevate the leg as much as possible.
  • Follow up with the orthopedist.

Prevention

  • Avoid major accidents.
  • Avoid risky activities such as skiing, motorcycle riding, or jumping from high places.

Outlook

In general, this is a very serious injury.

  • Almost all knee dislocations require surgery because major injury to the artery occurs in 21%-32% of all knee dislocations.
  • After appropriate treatment and surgery, however, results have been good. Knees return close to normal in most cases. Chronic pain is a common problem, occurring in 46% of cases.

Synonyms and Keywords

knee dislocation, knee dislocations, patella, knee injury, knee pain

WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on April 26, 2014
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