Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Knee is Out of Joint Overview

Another name for Knee is Out of Joint is Knee Dislocation.

What is a knee dislocation?
A person with a knee dislocation has a bone in the knee that has come out of place. When an injury tears the ligaments around the joint, the bones may separate, resulting in abnormal alignment of the bones. There are two types of knee dislocations: a dislocated knee joint and a dislocated kneecap. Most knee joint dislocations occur in combination with a knee fracture. Causes of knee dislocations include motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, and falls.

What are the symptoms of a knee dislocation?
Symptoms of a kneecap dislocation include knee pain, knee swelling, difficulty bending the knee, difficulty walking, and deformity and tenderness overlying the kneecap. Symptoms of a knee joint dislocation include severe knee pain, knee swelling and deformity, and the inability to move or stand on the injured knee.

How does the doctor treat a knee dislocation?
The treatment for a kneecap dislocation includes relocation of the kneecap followed by splinting the knee. Additional treatment may include rest, elevation, pain medications, and cold compresses. Treatment for a knee joint dislocation includes knee surgery to relocate the knee joint, and to repair any associated knee fracture.

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