It’s painful to see someone suffering from a dislocated knee, but even more so if it happens to you. Although knee dislocations are considered rare and account for less than 0.5% of joint dislocations, they can happen to anyone.
Women, such as female athletes, are at higher risk of having knee dislocations due to their body structure. Wider and more shapely hips add more stress on their knees making them more prone to knee injuries.
Aside from women, overweight and obese persons are also predisposed to suffering from dislocated knees. Research has shown that 40% of knee dislocation cases secondary to slipping and falling accidents can happen to overweight people.
Knee Dislocation: What Is It and What Causes It
A knee dislocation is a type of knee injury wherein your kneecap moves out of its normal position. Your kneecap is the circular-triangular bone that acts as a cover of your knee joint, protecting it from harm. Your knee joints are connected by strong bands of tissues called ligaments which help keep everything in place.
Knee dislocations are primarily caused by accidents such as vehicular crashes, hard falls, and sports injuries. Though your knee ligaments are tough, these unfortunate incidents can cause the tearing of your ligaments leaving your knee joints loosely connected which will then lead to knee dislocation.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Knee Dislocation
Just because you experience pain in one of your knees doesn’t mean that your knee is dislocated. However, if you experience the following symptoms, it could be:
- Your kneecap is obviously out of place. Knee dislocation happens when your kneecap moves from the center to the side, either left or right, after experiencing a severe impact.
- Your kneecap feels all wobbly. When you try to touch your kneecap, you can easily move it on either side especially when the ligaments are torn making your kneecap too loose. Though your kneecap can relocate back to its original place without any intervention, in most cases, you need a medical professional to pop your kneecap back into place.
- You experience severe pain. Having a dislocated knee hurts a lot. The pain is different from a simple knee injury. It hurts so much that you would stop trying to move, bend, or straighten your leg.
- There is visible swelling. When any part of your body is wounded, swelling occurs as an immune response of your body to guard the wounded site against any threatening bacterial or viral infection. When your knee gets dislocated, you might also observe signs of a torn ligament.
- Your knee can no longer support your weight. If you try to stand or move, you’re unable to do so, not only because of the pain but also due to the feeling of your knees giving way.
Other Signs and Symptoms that Require Urgent Medical Attention
Having a knee dislocation is a very serious matter since it is limb-threatening. In worst cases, your lower leg might require amputation if there’s no immediate medical intervention. If you experience the following signs and symptoms, it is recommended that you seek medical treatment immediately.
- You can’t feel any pulse below your knee. Ligaments aren’t the only ones torn when your knee gets dislocated. Even your arteries and veins can be damaged too. If there’s no pulse below your dislocated knee, it means that your lower leg isn’t getting enough blood and oxygen because the blood supply has been cut off.
- Loss of feeling and movement. No matter how painful your dislocated knee is, you should still be able to feel movement from your lower leg. However, if you completely lose the feeling of movement, it’s a bad sign that your lower leg might be compromised.
How to Apply First Aid Treatment for Knee Dislocation
Once the signs of a knee dislocation are identified, it is important to apply first aid treatment to the injury especially if the medical team hasn’t arrived yet. You may do the following treatment to help ease the patient’s pain.
- Use a splint to immobilize the dislocated area. Splints help to stabilize the dislocated area to prevent further damage.
- Apply an ice pack on the swelling area. Ice helps reduce the swelling around the dislocated area, relieves muscle spasms, and numbs the pain.
- Apply pressure if there is bleeding. Applying direct pressure helps to stop the bleeding if any. Be sure not to put too much pressure that might aggravate the condition and dislocate the knee even worse.
As much as possible, do not try to move the individual without the presence of a medical team, and never try to pop the kneecap back on your own or you might exacerbate the condition.