Why You Need To Follow Up With Your Doctor When You Injure Your Knee

You get hit on the side of one knee. A moment of sharp pain followed by some swelling occurs but you can still walk. A couple of hours off of your feet and some over-the-counter pain meds reduces the pain and inflammation. You decide that your knee is fine. Your knee is a complicated joint that can easily be injured and, if not treated properly, can cause you years of pain and problems. Any time you injure a knee, see your orthopedist for a complete evaluation before it gets worse and harder to correct.

A Complicated Structure

Your knee is made up of a number of muscles, ligaments and tendons. Combined with cartilage on the ends of the upper and lower leg bones, this arrangement allows the knee to move in various directions, yet keep you balanced when standing straight. This delicate balance of tissues is disrupted when tendons and ligaments are over-stretched or torn. Most knee injuries involve damage to these tissues. If they don't heal properly, you'll have an unstable knee that can fail on you any time.

Common Knee Issues

The two ways in which your knees can be damaged are:

Degeneration - Old bone tissue is not replaced as quickly as it is lost. This results in weakened and worn bones in the knees. This can cause your knees to be misaligned, which puts more stress on your knee joint until it becomes painful to walk.

Injury - A direct blow to the front or side of your knee can stretch or completely tear tendons and ligaments. Sudden twisting of the knee can tear several tissues supporting the knee. When these don't heal properly, you can develop a loose knee joint that is vulnerable to dislocation and further tissue injuries.

Proper Treatment Insures Correct Healing

When you inure a knee, you may have soft tissue damage inside the knee that prevents it from healing correctly without help. Tendons and ligaments can be partially torn and develop scar tissue which makes the knee less flexible. If the tear is severe, you'll risk having a loose knee joint.

Your doctor will evaluate the extent of the damage using x-rays and perhaps look directly into the knee with arthroscopy. Small tears can be sewn back together. Larger tears and complete ruptures of tendons and ligaments may require orthopaedic surgery with grafts, plates and screws to secure the tissues until they heal completely.

Common Side Effects of a Knee Injury

There are a number of other medical problems that can occur as a result of injuring your knee. The following issues are good reasons to have your knee seen by a doctor, regardless of how minor the injury:

  • development of a painful cyst in the back of the knee
  • infection of the fluid filled sacks, the bursa, that lubricate the knee joint
  • damage to the small blood vessels that supply the knee
  • fracture of the patella, the kneecap, which can cause the joint to become misaligned

Your knee should be seen after any type of injury to make sure there won't be issues after healing. Once damaged, a healthy knee can become a chronically painful knee if not attended to by a doctor (such as one from Greater Dallas Orthopaedics, PLLC).