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Knee Dislocation

Knee Dislocation Facts

  • A knee dislocation occurs when the bones that form the knee are out of place. A knee dislocation, more specifically, is when the bones of the leg (the tibia and fibula) are moved in relation to the bone in the thigh (femur).
  • The bones of the knee are held together by strong bands of tissue called ligaments. Each ligament is responsible for stabilizing the knee in a certain position.
  • For a knee dislocation to occur, these ligaments must tear. A partial dislocation is referred to as a subluxation. In some injuries, the kneecap (patella) and its ligaments are also disrupted.
  • Inappropriate or delayed treatment of a knee dislocation may result in loss of the leg.
Picture of knee dislocations plus ligament and artery damages.
Picture of knee dislocations plus ligament and artery damages. SOURCE: Medscape

Knee Dislocation Causes

Knee dislocations are rare. They usually happen only after major trauma, including falls, car crashes, and other high-speed injuries.

  • If the knee is dislocated, it will look deformed. The usual straight line of the leg will be crooked or angulated.
  • Sometimes, knee dislocations relocate (go back into place) on their own. In this case, the knee will be very swollen and painful. Even if the knee relocates, usually significant damage (tearing) of ligaments has occurred.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/18/2016

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Knee Dislocation:

Knee Dislocation - Follow-up

Tell us about any complications as a result of your knee dislocation and subsequent surgery or other treatment.

Knee Dislocation - Symptoms

What symptoms did you experience with your knee dislocation?

Knee Problems and Injuries

Most people have had a minor knee problem at one time or another. Most of the time our body movements do not cause problems, but it's not surprising that symptoms develop from everyday wear and tear, overuse, or injury. Knee problems and injuries most often occur during sports or recreational activities, work-related tasks, or home projects.

SOURCE: Healthwise


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Dislocations, Knee »

Knee dislocation is a relatively rare injury but an important one to recognize because coexistent vascular injury, if missed, often leads to limb loss.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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