It does not require major incidents to result in knee dislocation. Twisting or wrenching the knee with planted foot during certain activities are in fact the most cause of knee or patellar dislocation. Forceful trauma to the kneecap causes it to dislocate far outward, which triggers pain, discomfort, and swelling of the affected area. With knee dislocation, you might experience straight leg that cannot be bent properly, or bent knee that cannot be straightened properly.
Getting initial help
If you think you have your kneecap dislocated, it is important not to try correcting it, especially if it causes excruciating pain. Forcing to correct a dislocated knee may damage the surrounding tissues and muscles, which may require more complicated treatments. You definitely need to seek for professional care if these things occur with a dislocated knee:
- Extreme pain and severe inflammation around the affected kneecap.
- Numbness on the injury site. Loss of movements below the affected knee might also be a sign that certain muscles or worse, nerve ending is affected.
- Loss of pulse below the knee, which can be a sign of damages blood vessels.
- Visible deformity of the knee, in which the dislocated patella is pushed to the outward side of the knee.
Fixing knee dislocation
To help fix and heal a dislocated knee thoroughly, it is important to do some steps below:
- Have the suspected knee examined
Examining a dislocation can be done through some procedures. Sometimes, you can easily know and see that a kneecap is dislocated, since a deformed kneecap is visible by glance. However, in other cases, an X-ray or MRI examination is required, especially to observe internal damages to the muscles, tendons, or tissues, which might not be externally visible.
- Leave the affected kneecap alone
If you know you are suffering from a dislocated knee, it is better not to try straightening the affected area, as this may aggravate the wound site. Otherwise, leave the affected knee alone and immediately go to the hospital for further care. If the patella has been shifted outside its groove, the doctor will put it back into its original position. The doctor will push the patella back into its position using the procedure called reduction, which you should not do at home with little experience.
Promoting proper healing at home
Your dislocated kneecap commonly require 6 to 8 weeks to completely heal. You can help improve tis healing time by doing some things which are helpful for the injured area. Some procedures for dislocated knee healing are not advised to be performed at home, but some others can be beneficial for promoting faster healing, such as:
- Rest your leg based on your doctor’s directions and advices. This is one of the four procedures called RICE—resting, icing, compression, and elevation. Resting your affected leg will be necessary, so that it will not put too much body weight on the dislocated kneecap and the muscles and tissues around it.
- Elevate your leg. This will inhibit excessive blood pressure to the nerve endings surrounding the affected kneecap. Thus, elevating the dislocated patella will be helpful in reducing the caused pain and inflammation.
- Apply cold compress onto the affected knee. This is beneficial, as cold compress reduces swelling, which will likely to occur during after the injury.
- Invest for a knee brace. A dislocated kneecap may not be able to properly support your entire body weight. In addition, when this dislocation also damages the connective tissues nearby, it takes weeks for these tissues to heal before providing you sufficient stability.
Procedures to fix dislocated knee
- Reduction is done to put a dislocated kneecap into its original position. The doctor will do this procedure by pushing the shifted patella back to its groove. This procedure should not be performed with little knowledge about kneecap dislocation as it may instead cause damages to the muscles and connective tissues around the patella.
- Surgeries are required when the dislocation does not merely shift the kneecap from its groove, but also causes a damaged ligament or cartilage on the injury site.
- Rehabilitation will be retained by performed physiotherapies focusing on the affected leg. This procedure is aimed to make sure the patient re-gains the kneecap strength and flexibility in order to have their entire body weight supported thoroughly. In addition to physical therapy, rehabilitation for kneecap dislocation can also be done through strengthening training and exercises once the pain, swelling, and weakness have been improved. It is important to have a doctor advice following these rehabilitation phase, since it is important to determine the present condition of a dislocated kneecap and preventing another dislocation in the future. Physical therapy improve the patient’s knee condition, so that the risk of future dislocation can be minimized.