ZocdocAnswersWhy am I suffering fluid buildup on my knee?

Question

Why am I suffering fluid buildup on my knee?

I am 34 years old. About 2 years ago, I played basketball with some friends and dislocated my left kneecap. I did not get surgery for the procedure. I decided to let it heal naturally, which I thought it did. Now, fluid builds up on my knee and will shift from one side of the knee to the other.

Answer

Questions involving joint injuries are best answered by orthopedic surgeons. Surgeons may often work with physical therapists to help effectively treat joint issues. Overall it sounds as though your knee may never have healed properly from your initial injury. If you did not see an orthopedic specialist at the time of the injury, it is probably a good idea to seek a consultation at this time. An orthopedic surgeon can take a more thorough history about the mechanism of your initial injury as well as your current symptoms. Imaging (including x-rays or MRI scans) may also be a very good way to get a better sense of what is going on in the knee. The patella (or kneecap) is supposed to be able to move as your knee bends with activity, but it sounds like it may now be hypermobile. This kind of excessive movement may be causing some irritation and inflammation around the knee, leading to build up of fluid in the bursa around the patella itself. Depending on how traumatic the initial injury was, it is also possible that you may have damaged some of the supporting ligaments that help keep the knee in alignment. Determining what is going on inside the knee now and what can be done to correct it will best be determined by a thorough orthopedic evaluation.

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

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.