Dislocation > Treatments
Reduction and Physical Therapy
Your physician helps relax your thigh muscles and calm
you down. You are usually given narcotic painkillers
and remain awake when the knee is put back in place.
You may also be given muscle relaxants. With the appropriate
combination of pulling and rotating, your knee essentially
pops back into place. The reduction should only be done
by a highly trained physician, as the complications
of a knee dislocation can be serious.
Most patients have their knee put
back in place in the hospital's emergency room and then
are fitted for a brace or immobilizer. Your knee will
be elevated, and an ice pack may be used to reduce pain
and swelling. You generally will feel sharp pain and
physicians may prescribe narcotic painkillers. Pain
medication may be administered orally or through an
IV (intravenous) line. Physicians generally recommend
that you use crutches or a cane to help you walk for
the first six to eight weeks. You may be uneasy on the
crutches at first and you may be on prescription-strength
painkillers. You should have someone available to help
you leave the hospital and take you home.
Even if your knee dislocation has
not caused any complications, you will most likely still
feel pain in your knee. You will need to take steps
to reduce the pain and inflammation in the knee. Rest,
icing, elevation, and painkillers such as aspirin or
ibuprofen can ease pain and swelling. Depending on the
success of the above measures in reducing pain and swelling,
you may be able to start on a rehabilitative program
after a few days. In general, physicians have started
recommending aggressive rehabilitation programs that
get you out of bed and moving as soon as possible. Patients
usually can start walking with crutches right away.
Many patients progress from crutches to a cane before
walking unassisted. The length of time spent on crutches
varies greatly depending on the amount of damage your
knee suffered. Most people will need about six weeks
off from work after a knee dislocation. However, a patient
may return to a sedentary job sooner.
Complete healing of your knee structure
may take several months, depending on the severity of
the injury. Physicians may suggest you begin early passive
movement of the knee, either with the aid of a physical
therapist or by taking home a CPM (continuous passive
motion) machine. In most cases, your rehabilitation
will be supervised by a physical therapist who is trained
in dealing with knee injuries. If your knee is in a
cast, you will not begin physical therapy until it is
removed. Recreational and sports activities may be delayed
up to a year or more depending on the injury. Patients
should begin seeing a physical therapist a few days
after surgery. Your physician and physical therapist
can help design a custom rehabilitation program that
will start slowly with motion exercises. Your program
will most likely consist of some exercises done under
the supervision of the therapist and some at home on
your own. Strengthening exercises require dedication
because it may take months for a patient to see results.
Once the muscles of your injured leg are about as strong
as the uninjured leg, the focus of rehab turns to increasing
your coordination. At this point, physical therapy tends
to become activity oriented as you regain the ability
to perform complicated movements.
strengthening exercises: Knee dislocation
Strength, endurance, flexibility,
and generalized fitness are the keys to avoiding re-injury
after a knee dislocation. Your main prevention goal
should be to strengthen your quadriceps and hamstring
muscles so they are stronger than before the dislocation.
Making the strengthening exercises you learned in rehab
part of your regular conditioning routine is the best
way to prevent future knee injuries. A repeat dislocation
is rare, but your knee may be more prone to other injuries.
Depending on the severity of your dislocation and the
success of your rehab program, your physician may recommend
that you avoid contact sports or risky, high-speed activities.
You may be prescribed a brace to wear during activities.
Your physician can recommend the best types of protective
gear for your knees.
knee dislocations should be treated as emergencies,
there are rarely dangerous complications. In some cases,
knee dislocations can be popped back into joint (reduction)
and you can begin physical therapy within a few days.