ZocdocAnswersDid I dislocate my knee?

Question

Did I dislocate my knee?

I tripped and fell moving some stuff around in my basement and landed hard on my knee. It felt like it slid out of place but it seems okay now. Just a little bit of pain. Did my knee cap dislocate though? What will happen if I don't get it looked at or x-rayed?

Answer

It definitely is possible to dislocate the kneecap. You are also right that this tends to occur with a strong twisting blow to the knee, or fall onto the knee. Typically, when the knee cap is dislocated, there is a lot of pain with extending the knee and the knee cap is also usually obviously a bit off to one side. Therefore if you do not have these symptoms, but rather just have a little bit of pain, it is unlikely that you have a dislocated knee cap. However, it is never a bad idea to have any knee injury checked out by a doctor, such as your primary care doctor. In addition to dislocation of the knee cap, there are many other much more common knee injuries that need to be ruled out, such as a sprain or tear of the ligaments in the joint. Your primary care doctor can examine the knee carefully for any signs of these more serious injuries. In some cases, they may feel it is necessary to get an x-ray to rule out a fracture. Based on what they find, they can also recommend pain medications and other therapies to get you feeling better.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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