There are all sorts of ways in which one can have a knee injury. Most get injured while playing sports like football, running, jumping or some have even in day to day activities like walking down stairs, fall from a bike, getting down from a bus or even a local train like in Mumbai.
Thousands of people suffer from bike injuries in Mumbai in any given month. You might feel a sudden jerk or pull in the knee and moderate to severe pain after you injure the knee. And shortly afterwards, you may also see a swelling around the top and sides of the knee.
Two possibilities may arise:
1. Either you are totally unable to walk or have severe limping due to pain in knee and you will be carried to a hospital by someone in which case an Xray of your knee will be seen by a orthopedic doctor. If you have a fracture around the knee, the doctor will advice accordingly.
2. Now the others, who can walk after knee injury with some amount of pain and limp may not visit a doctor immediately. These are the subset of patients likely to have a knee ligament injury.
Generally, if one has a knee any injury and is suffering from pain and/ swelling, the best treatment to do at home is to do
RICE (R - Rest, I- Ice fomentations, C- Compression Bandage, E- Elevation).
Now we shall explain each in detail.
Rest: Give complete rest to the knee. Avoid walking too much. Avoid bending your knee like in squatting or sitting cross-legged. Taking a few days bed rest may also help.
Ice Fomentation: Apply ice or an ice pack onto the knee and upper thigh, continuously for ten every 2 to 3 hours. This can continue for a few days till pain gets relieved.
Compression Bandage: A crepe bandage can be used for applying compression over the knee to decrease the pain and swelling.
Elevation: The involved leg should be placed in a elevated position on top of pillows for the swelling to subside.If one has done these for a number of days, say for 3 to 4 days, he or she should feel somewhat better.
After this, one can resume routine activities if feeling better in the knee. But they should at all times avoid running, jumping or activities that stress the knee.
The signs and symptoms that can suggest that you need a specialist opinion are:
1. Pain in the knee on walking, and/or fully bending or straightening the knee.
2. Clicking sounds heard in the knee on moving the knee, especially during walking or bending knee. This can be suggestive of a meniscus injury in the knee.
3. Locking in the knee: feeling that the knee gets locked in a particular position while walking or bending which again may be suggestive of a Meniscal or a ligament tear.
4. Instability: if on walking, you feel as if the knee is loose or moving inside and you don't have complete confidence of walking and not falling down, then it may be suggestive of a ligament injury in the knee like a anterior cruciate ligament injury (ACL) or a posterior cruciate ligament injury (PCL).
5. Swelling: if the knee remains persistently swollen then there could be possibility of a ligament or a meniscus tear in the knee.
Such signs should be seen as RED FLAGS and be acted upon as soon as possible. One should in these cases see a Orthopedic doctor specialist in Knee injuries and Knee arthroscopic surgery.
M.B.B.S., M.S.(Orth.), DNB (Orth.), F.I.A.S. (Germany)