Author Bio: Sabrina Bush lives in New York with her fiancé and a baby on the way. She is a blogger for numerous websites and has written articles on a number of topics. Some of her interests include the field of health and medicine, like orthopaedic matters and prenatal topics.
While many knee injuries happen to professional or recreational athletes, an injury to various portions of the knee could happen to anyone. Just a simple bend or twist in the wrong direction could lead to excruciating pain. If a knee is swollen, it may be hard to discern just what type of injury you’re facing. Even some doctors won’t be able to diagnose the injury without close inspection. Therefore, it’s important to know the specific symptoms of each type of injury. Being educated in these matters could save you a trip to the hospital when you’re only dealing with a sprain.
How the injury occurred will be a major help in determining the type of injury you’re facing. Of course, knowing the various symptoms of each type of injury will also be imperative. If you have twisted your knee or taken a direct hit to the side of it, you may have torn the cartilage. Pain will certainly be involved, and the knee will swell up very quickly. If you have difficulty walking, you’ve probably torn the meniscus, the cartilage joining the two leg bones into the knee. These symptoms are very similar to ligament injuries, so it may be hard to tell. One important symptom that can set the two injuries apart is if the knee locks up. This will only happen if the cartilage has been torn.
As previously noted, tearing a ligament could involve many of the same symptoms as tearing the cartilage. Falling awkwardly could cause such an injury, as well as taking a direct hit to the side of the knee. However, the hit would have to be extremely forceful in order to tear a ligament. Not as much force is needed to injure the cartilage. Pain and swelling will occur with this injury. A major difference, however, between this injury and the one discussed above is the feeling of the knee. If walking is difficult because the knee feels unstable, it could be a torn ligament.
Tearing either the meniscus or a ligament is an extremely serious injury that requires immediate attention by health care professionals. The same goes for fractures surrounding the knee, as well as a dislocation. In all of the circumstances involving serious injuries to the knee, pain and swelling is commonplace. Swelling may come on rather quickly, almost immediately after the hit, fall, or awkward twist. If you have a hard time putting weight on the leg due to immense pain, a fracture may have occurred. You have either broken an end of either one of the leg bones, and a hospital visit is forthcoming. The same goes for dislocations. It should be fairly easy to tell if you’ve dislocated your knee, rather than fractured one of the surrounding bones. In this circumstance, the bones will look distorted and uneven. Of course, this is provided you can see the bones underneath the massive amount of swelling that may occur. Note that it will be very difficult, fairly impossible, to walk on the injured leg.
While all of the above situations involve serious injuries that require hospital visitation, a sprain is much better to deal with. You should not require a hospital to diagnose and treat the problem. Perhaps a visit to your primary care doctor is necessary, but a sprain can be treated using at-home remedies. A sprain is also much easier to diagnose on your own. Pain should be centrally located in only one part of the knee. It should be easy to tell which muscle or ligament is sprained based on the location of the pain. The knee will feel stable and you should have no trouble walking. A limp may occur only because of the pain. Also, there should be no swelling involved with a sprain.
Hopefully, this article has made it a little easier for you to understand the different symptoms associated with knee injuries. If there’s no swelling, it’s just a sprain. Save yourself time and money by staying at home rather than going to a hospital. However, if there’s immense swelling involved, along with excruciating pain, seek out an orthopaedic or health care professional immediately. Serious injuries will involve a long recovery time, so it’s best to prevent knee injuries from happening in the first place. Yet, it could happen at any time. One wrong slip on the ice this winter could leave you with a knee injury. Resort to the above information for an easier and faster diagnosis.