A dislocated knee is every bit as painful as it sounds, and this injury has the potential to keep you off your feet for an extended period of time.
There are many causes of knee dislocations, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Trip-and-falls, e.g., stumbling down a flight of stairs or stepping in a hole in a parking lot
- Motor vehicle accident
- Twisting and/or turning in an awkward manner
The tricky thing about knee dislocations is that you don’t have to be involved in a serious accident in order to suffer the injury.
What are the symptoms?
Upon dislocating your knee, you may hearing a popping sound, which should be your sign that something has gone wrong. This is often accompanied by the following symptoms:
- Visible damage to your knee
- Severe bruising and/or swelling
- Extreme pain to the point of not being able to stand, walk or even move the knee
Due to the seriousness of these symptoms, you should never attempt to move after suffering a knee dislocation. Doing so can worsen the injury.
Diagnosis of a dislocated knee
If you have any reason to believe you have dislocated your knee, you should immediately head for the emergency room. From there, your doctor will do the following:
- Examine your knee and ask a variety of questions, such as how the injury occurred
- Order imaging tests, e.g., an MRI and/or X-ray
While your doctor may have a basic idea of your injury after an examination, an imaging test is often necessary as a means of better understanding the extent of the damage.
Is surgery required?
This depends on the severity of your injury. For example, if the dislocation is not too severe, your doctor may be able to move your knee back into place. From there, you can wear a splint for several weeks to give it time to heal.
Conversely, surgery is often necessary in the event of a more serious injury, such as one that includes:
- Torn ligaments
- Broken bones
- Damaged nerves
- Damaged blood vessels
In the event of surgery, it can take up to a year to make a full recovery.
If you suffer a knee dislocation on the job, call for immediate medical assistance. Again, you should never attempt to walk.
Once you know the extent of your injury and treatment strategy, you can determine if it makes sense to file a workers’ compensation claim. If you can’t return to work, this may be something you want to do.