Knee problems (traumatic)

Knee problems (traumatic)


We speak of traumatic knee problems when they are the result of a force that has acted on the knee. This can be a considerable force; an example of this is someone who has sustained an injury to his knee in a traffic accident. The force when twisting damages the structure in or near the knee.

Symptoms of traumatic knee problems

Traumatic knee problems must in any case have preceded ‘something’: a fall on or a blow to the knee. Sometimes a misstep can also give a cause. The knee complaints, which usually start immediately after the accident, can manifest themselves in different ways:

  • pain
  • swelling
  • not being able to use the knee properly
  • inability to bend or stretch properly

How do traumatic knee problems arise?

In case of injury to the meniscus (cartilage disk in the knee joint), the cause is often clear. It regularly concerns a football player who stands firmly in the grass with the studs of his shoe and then makes a turning movement with his knee.

The knee joint can be compared to a door hinge, which can get stuck if something no longer runs properly or if there is something in between. The knee then gets stuck and can no longer bend or stretch properly.

Is it serious and what can you expect?

The severity of the knee complaints naturally depends on the nature and the cause. With any damage, the body usually reacts with redness, warming, pain, swelling and malfunction.

The knee is usually swollen and warm immediately after the accident (trauma) and cannot be used properly. Most knee complaints are greatly reduced after two weeks of rest.

When to go to the doctor?

If the pain in your knee subsides after a few days, you can bend and straighten your knee gently and without putting pressure on it. If you continue to have complaints, it is wise to contact your doctor. Also contact your doctor if there is significant swelling immediately after the accident.

What can you do about it yourself?

Pain is an alarm signal from the body. A knee that is painful should therefore be spared for a while. You can use crutches when you walk a bit, for example to the toilet. After a few days, when you have less pain, you can gently bend and straighten your knee again without straining. To be clear: the usefulness of ice and bandages for traumatic knee complaints has not yet been proven. Sometimes this can relieve the pain and give some support.

You can try to train the muscles around your knee at the same time. A simple exercise is lying on your back, raise your straight leg 20 times a day and hold for 2 counts.

See also, Osteoarthritis: changes in the joints

General advice and precautions

Of course, prevention is better than cure. Therefore, take the possible protective measures during sports and at work. Before exercising, do stretching exercises and warm-up. Wear knee pads for sports such as skating and volleyball. Also, make sure you have the right sole profile for the floor. Also wear knee pads for activities that can put stress on your knee, such as paving.

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