The knee joint is one of the most complex joints of the body. The lower end of the thighbone (femur) meets the upper end of the shinbone (tibia) at the knee joint. A small bone called the patella (kneecap) rests on a groove on the front side of the femoral end. A bone of the lower leg (fibula) forms a joint with the shinbone.
To allow smooth and painless motion of the knee joint, articular surfaces of these bones are covered with a shiny white slippery articular cartilage. Two C-shaped cartilaginous menisci are present in between the femoral end and the tibial end.
Menisci act as shock absorbers providing cushion to the joints. Menisci also play an important role in providing stability and load- bearing to the knee joint.
Bands of tissue, including the cruciate and collateral ligaments, keep the different bones of the knee joint together and provide stabilization to the joint. Surrounding muscles are connected to the knee bones by tendons. The bones work together with the muscles and tendons to provide mobility to the knee joint. The whole knee joint is covered by a ligamentous capsule, which further stabilizes the joint. This ligamentous capsule is also lined with a synovial membrane that secretes synovial fluid for lubrication.
What is Knee Dislocation?
Dislocation of the knee occurs when the bones in the knee joint are displaced from their natural position. If the bones in the knee joint are partially displaced, it is called subluxation and if they are completely displaced, it is called dislocation (luxation).
Causes of Knee Dislocation
Some of the causes for knee dislocation include a direct blow or trauma, twisting of the knee while changing the direction, muscle contraction, and congenital defects.
Symptoms of Knee Dislocation
The common symptoms include pain, tenderness, swelling around the knee joint, restricted movement of the knee, numbness below the knee, and discoloration of the area where the injury has occurred.
Treatment of Knee Dislocation
Your doctor will examine your knee and suggest diagnostic tests such as X-ray, CT scan, and MRI scan to confirm the condition and provide treatment. There are non-surgical and surgical ways of treating knee dislocation.
Non-surgical or conservative treatment includes:
- PRICE (protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation)
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics to treat pain and swelling
- Braces or casts which will immobilize the knee and allow the MPF ligament to heal
- Footwear to control gait while walking or running and to decrease the pressure on the kneecap.
- Physical therapy is recommended which helps to control pain and swelling, prevent formation of scar of soft tissue, and helps in collagen formation. The physiotherapist will extend your knee and apply direct lateral to medial pressure to the knee which helps in relocation. It includes straightening and strengthening exercises of the hip muscles and other exercises which will improve range of motion.
Surgical treatment is recommended for those individuals who have recurrent knee dislocation.
After the surgery, your doctor will suggest you use crutches for a few weeks, prescribe medications to control pain and swelling, and recommend physical therapy which will help you to return to your sports activities at the earliest.