What Are the Symptoms of Knee Dislocation?

X-rays might be useful in diagnosing knee dislocation.
A diagram of the knee, including ligaments.
Knee injuries are common in sports.
A person with knee pain.
A man with a dislocated knee.
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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 03 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A dislocated knee is considered to be a rare, but severe, knee injury, and it can happen after a knee trauma, such as a fall or a contact sports injury. The most common knee dislocation symptoms include pain and swelling. Other symptoms may include bruising, numbness below the knee, and a crooked leg.

Pain is often the most common knee dislocation symptom. Pain is often severe, and patients are typically not able to bend, stand on, or put any weight on the affected leg. Bruising and swelling are other common knee dislocation symptoms. Swelling can occur especially if the shin bone slides back into place after the dislocation. The fluid buildup in the knee area can also cause other damage if it puts pressure on nerves or blood vessels located in the knee.

Numbness and tingling below the knee are some of the more serious knee dislocation symptoms. These symptoms can indicated nerve or vascular damage. Doctors can determine if there was damage to major blood vessels by looking at x-rays or checking the pulse in the patients foot. If there is no pulse, this most likely indicates that a blood vessel was pinched or otherwise damaged during the injury.

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Nerve or vascular damage must be repaired as soon as possible after a knee dislocation injury. Failing to repair nerve damage after this type of injury could result in permanent loss of sensation in the foot or possibly the whole leg. Amputation may be necessary if vascular damage is not surgically repaired.

After a knee dislocation, the affected leg is often crooked. The bottom part of the leg, below the knee, will look as though it is off to one side instead of being aligned with the upper leg, or thigh. Torn or stretched ligaments in the knee are usually the cause of this. The ligaments often have to be surgically repaired to avoid any more damage.

Although a knee dislocation and a knee cap dislocation may have similar symptoms, they are two different injuries. A knee dislocation occurs when the knee joint is dislocated. During a dislocation of the knee, the shin bone is pushed away from the thigh bone.

A kneecap dislocation, or patellar dislocation, occurs when the bone that protects the knee joint, known as the patella or knee cap, is pushed out of its normal position. Knee pain and knee swelling are quite common with this injury, and it can be confused with a dislocated knee. After a dislocated patella, however, the knee cap if often visibly out of place.

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Discuss this Article

bear78
Post 3

When I dislocated my knee, I was kind of in shock. I didn't even feel much pain until a good five minutes after the injury. My first symptom was numbness. I couldn't feel my entire leg and that's when I realized there was something seriously wrong.

fBoyle
Post 2

@turkay1-- Yea, it's almost impossible to put the knee back in place after a dislocation. It happened to me and it was the most painful thing I've ever experienced.

Plus, the knee and leg swells up in a matter of minutes, and the leg is so crooked that you can't get yourself to touch it. It would be dangerous to try to relocate it anyway because there is a risk of damaging nerves. No one should attempt it. A dislocated knee has to be fixed with knee surgery.

candyquilt
Post 1

People really do confuse a knee dislocation with a patella dislocation all the time. My friend was telling me a story about how he dislocated his knee playing football in high school. He said he heard a popping sound when it happened and he actually popped the knee back in before he was at the hospital.

I couldn't believe that he could relocate a dislocated knee on his own considering how painful it is. Then, he clarified that it was a dislocated kneecap!

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