How serious is your knee injury?

Thursday, 22 August 2013 / Published in Articles

You’ve injured your knee but you’re uncertain as to how serious it is. Perhaps the pain is inconsistent and only arises when performing certain tasks, or there had been swelling just yesterday and now it’s subsided. If you present symptoms of a knee injury, it may be a good idea to have a physician examine it – but how serious is your knee injury? Here is a list of common symptoms that range from mild to serious, and advice as to when it would be necessary to book an appointment with a doctor.

Common symptoms of a knee injury

There are a number of factors that need to be considered when it comes to understanding the cause of your knee pain, such as:

  • What part of the knee hurts? Does the front, inside, outside or back of your knee hurt? Each location can determine the cause of the pain, for example, front of knee pain can be related to the knee cap, whereas pain at the back of the knee can be caused by a collection of fluid.
  • Is there swelling? This factor can be linked to a number of typical knee injuries and depend on the rate of the swelling. Was it gradual or did it appear without the presence of a known injury? If it’s the latter, the swelling can indicate the manifestation of an uncommon problem such as a joint infection, in which case it is recommended that you have your knee examined by a health professional.
  • Does your knee exhibit popping, clicking, grinding or crunching sensations? Typically, if the popping or snapping within your knee is painless, it means you have nothing to worry about. If you experience pain, however, medical examination will be necessary. Grinding and crunching sensations usually indicate cartilage problems.

The pain in your knee can be caused by a range of reasons, such as the points listed above, but symptoms may not always present classically and there is no way of ascertaining the root of your knee injury without consulting a physician. However, if your knee pain exhibits any of the following symptoms, medical care ought to be sought immediately:

  • If you experience immediate swelling after injury.
  • If the bones look misshapen or deformed.
  • If you struggle to bear weight.
  • Intolerable pain.
  • The loss of sensation below the site of the injury.
  • If your foot or ankle feels cold and you cannot detect any pulses.
  • If you have a swollen joint that is warm, red and possibly linked to a fever, it is urgent that you seek medical attention.

The most important sign is swelling. If your knee is swollen or has swollen up (that is fluid inside the knee), then you have done something to the inside of your knee and should see an Orthopaedic surgeon.

For more information about dealing with a knee injury strain, visit the SSOC website.