Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Knee News

Locating Best Treatments for Knee Dislocation

Dislocation of the knee has always been thought of as a rare injury. But with more people taking part in sports and more car accidents, the number of knee dislocations is going up. In this injury, both main ligaments inside the knee joint are torn completely. Usually, there are other injuries as well. Other injuries might include damage to other knee ligaments, stretched nerves, or ruptured blood vessels.

The best treatment for a dislocated knee remains unknown. Some doctors insist that surgery is required. Others try a program of exercise and rehabilitation first. In some cases, the leg is immobilized in a cast or special device that holds the knee in place while it heals. This device is called an external fixator.

A group of doctors in Germany looked at the records of 89 patients who had a dislocated knee. Data from treatment and follow-up was collected for 25 years. Type of treatment (surgery versus no surgery) and other factors were studied.

It turns out that patients who had surgery for this injury had the best outcome. The results were even better when the surgery was done within two weeks of the injury. The younger patients had the best motion and function after treatment. Sports injuries did better than car accidents. This is probably because injuries in car accidents occur with higher energy and force than sports injuries.

Studying treatment results for knee dislocations isn't easy. The number of cases is too small. But the best results do seem to come with surgical treatment followed by a rehabilitation program. According to these authors, the ideal time for surgery is three to five days after the injury. Waiting up to two weeks is acceptable.


Martinus Richter, MD, et al. Comparison of Surgical Repair or Reconstruction of the Cruciate Ligaments Versus Nonsurgical Treatment in Patients with Traumatic Knee Dislocations. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. September/October 2002. Vol. 30. No. 5. Pp. 718-727.

10/22/2002

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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