Knee injuries after accident or trauma: Diagnosis & Treatment

Knee injuries can occur as minor as a bruise that one can treat at home to as severe as a torn ligament or fracture that may need surgery to repair. As explained by Dr. Kaushik Patel, an orthopaedic surgeon in Surat following are the types of injury that can happen after a trauma or accident:-

1. Abrasion

This occurs when the skin rubs against any rough surface.

2. Laceration

A laceration is a puncture or cut wound that results in a tear or hole in the skin.

3. Contusion

A knee contusion or bruise occurs after falling on a hard surface which causes a blood vessel or capillary in the skin or muscle to leak blood in that area, leading to black and blue signs of a bruise.

4. Sprain

A knee sprain occurs when the ligaments in the knee are overstretched.If the sprain is minor, one can usually rest at home and treat it yourself.

5. Meniscus Tear

A pop in the knee may be heard or felt when a meniscus tear occurs suddenly. Pain, swelling, and tightness may worsen in the days following the initial injury.A meniscus tear generally occurs when making a quick turn in sports such as basketball or football.

Some meniscus tears can be treated without surgery; though, chronic pain and/or swelling may be indications that one needs surgery from an orthopaedic specialist to treat torn meniscus.

6. Tendon tear

There are two main tendons in the knee quadriceps tendon and patellar tendon.Patellar tendon tears are more common. Tendon injuries can arise from a fall on the front of the knee or from missing a step and landing carelessly.

7. Torn ligament

Four primary ligaments make up the knee. They are

  • anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
  • posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)
  • medial collateral ligament (MCL)
  • lateral collateral ligament (LCL)

The bones are joined together by ligaments. They provide the joint with strength and stability. One or more of these ligaments can tear as a result of a high-impact injury, such as a fall or a blow to the side of the knee.

A torn ligament is frequently repaired surgically. A torn ligament can cause chronic pain and disability in the injured knee if not treated properly.

8. Fractures

The most common bone broken surrounding the knee is the patella. Several fractures around the knee are induced by high energy trauma, like falls from heights and motor vehicle crashes.

9. Dislocation

A dislocation happens when knee bones are out of position, may be completely or partially.Dislocations can occur due to abnormality in the structure of the knee. In people who have normal knee structure, dislocations are most often caused by high energy trauma, like falls, sport related injury and motor vehicle collisions.


Firstly, the doctor will do a physical examination. During examination the doctor will inspect the knee joint for swelling, pain, tenderness, and visible bruising. Then the doctor will evaluate movements of the lower leg in different directions and push on or pull the joint to evaluate the integrity of the structures in the knee.

Imaging tests

In some cases, doctor might recommend tests such as:

  • X-ray:- X- ray can help detect bone fractures.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan. CT scanners combine X-rays taken from different angles that make cross-sectional images of the inside of the body. CT scan helps in finding bone problems and fractures in the body.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnet to create 3D images of the knee. This test is particularly useful in revealing injuries to soft tissues of knee joints such as ligaments, tendons, cartilage and muscles.


Treatment for a knee damage that occurred due to a fall usually involves resting and if necessary, a brace to stabilize the joint. NSAIDs drugs, such as ibuprofen may be helpful to reduce pain.

Home treatment

When an abrasion or laceration occurs, clean the wound and leave it uncovered if it’s small and not bleeding much. A long or deep laceration may need sutures. For a more serious knee cut that’s bleeding, disinfect the wound and cover it with a clean bandage. Applying direct pressure to the wound will stop bleeding. Keep the knee elevated on cushion and take over-the-counter pain relieving drugs to reduce pain. Applying ice on the knee or using a cold compress for intervals of 15 to 20 minutes for the first day will reduce the pain and swelling.

When you are first injured, the RICE protocol can help you recover more quickly:

Rest. Put no weight on the painful knee.

Ice. Several times a day, apply cold packs for 20 minutes at a time. Ice should not be applied directly to the skin.

Compression. Wrap the injured area lightly in a soft bandage or ace wrap.

Elevation. While resting, elevate the injury higher than your heart to reduce swelling.

Make an appointment for treatment as soon as possible, especially if you:

When you are injured, you may hear a popping sound and feel your knee give way.The knee cannot be moved.Begin limping Have swelling at the site of the injury.


When the injury to the knee joint is serious, operation may be necessary to restore function of the joint and eliminate pain. According to Dr. Kaushik Patel, a best Knee replacement surgeon in surat, your orthopedic surgeon is the one who decides what type of surgery one needs after evaluating the damage to the knee. It could be:-

  • Arthroscopic surgery.
  • Partial knee replacement surgery.
  • Total knee replacement.


How are knee injuries diagnosed?

Knee injuries are diagnosed using physical examination, X-ray, CT scan and MRI.

What are the 3 common injuries to the knee?

Knee fracture, knee dislocation and knee ligament injury are common injuries to the knee.

How long does knee trauma take to heal?

A sprained knee may heal completely in 2 to 4 weeks. For complete healing following surgery for a torn ligament may take 6 to 12 months.

How do I know if my knee injury is serious?

When you have marked swelling of knee, intense pain, obvious deformity of knee, difficulty in walking, fever you need to consult an orthopaedic surgeon.