Knee injury: frequently asked questions
A knee injury is annoying and can lead to pain or instability of the knee in daily life or during sports activities. On this webpage you will find the most frequently asked questions about knee injuries.
“Is a knee injury the same as a knee injury?”
Yes, the words injury and injury are both used to indicate that the knee has complaints. “Injury” is popularly associated with overuse injuries without an acute moment. If the injury is acute, the term “knee injury” is more commonly used from a medical point of view. On this web page, the term knee injury is used to indicate that the complaints have arisen acutely as a result of twisting or external violence during sports or (ski) accidents.
“How do knee injuries develop?”
Knee injuries usually occur when the knee is twisted during sports or ski/snowboard activities. A direct blow (= trauma) to the lower leg by an accident or opponent can also lead to knee injuries. The nature of the trauma can lead to specific knee injuries or combination injuries. Twisting during ski, football, hockey or indoor sports usually causes injuries of the inner tube, meniscus and/or anterior cruciate ligament. A direct blow to the lower leg or an overextension of the knee can also cause injuries of the posterior cruciate ligament, outer ligament of the knee or nerve damage of the leg. In serious accidents, several ligaments can break and the knee can dislocate completely (= knee dislocation). Even the leg can be threatened by blood vessel problems, fortunately rare.
“Can the physiotherapist recognize a knee injury?”
Yes, physiotherapists have good guidelines for recognizing and treating acute knee injuries from their professional association KNGF (Royal Dutch Association for Physiotherapy). In 2015, an excellent Evidence Statement was drawn up for the treatment of acute knee injuries in the Netherlands. This statement represents the “state of the art” treatment based on scientific research and is in line with the international medical guidelines of knee specialists. It also states when someone needs to be referred to a hospital quickly. For more information see KNGF ES “Acute Knee Injury”.
“When should I see a doctor?”
After a knee injury, it is good to cool the knee. This limits swelling and pain. It is a good idea to consult a doctor if you have the following complaints or symptoms:
if you are unable to support yourself or walk on your leg or if you have a limp
if the knee is thick after an injury
if there are bruises on the inside, outside or around the knee occur
if you have or have had a feeling of sleepiness or tingling in the foot after the injury
if the foot feels cold or pale
if you have a feeling that the knee is locking up
if the knee feels unstable or “swabs”
with pain in the knee knee or doubt whether a ligament injury has occurred.
“Is there always surgery after a knee injury?”
No, a number of knee injuries can heal without surgery if recognized within 2 weeks and treated adequately with a brace or plaster. This applies to injuries of the inner ligament (medial collateral ligntame), outer ligament (lateral collateral ligament), and posterior cruciate ligament of the knee. An anterior cruciate ligament tear usually does not heal, but surgery does not always appear to be necessary. You can read the indications for anterior cruciate ligament surgery under “Customized anterior cruciate ligament“.
“How soon should I have a brace or cast after a knee ligament or posterior cruciate ligament injury?”
Diagnosis and treatment should be initiated within two weeks of injury. The brace or plaster is in stock and can be measured every day by the plaster master in the Máxima Medical Center.
“Can I take off the brace in the shower?”
No, that’s not wise. The brace should be worn 24 hours a day, including in the shower. The plaster master will give you advice on how best to shower with this. Obviously this is not very practical, but it has been shown that the band heals less well, resulting in problems with (sports) activities in the longer term if you take off the brace.
“When can I start physiotherapy after a knee injury?”
That is already possible in the first week. Scientific research has shown that it is important to regain the mobility of the knee as soon as possible with a normal walking pattern (possibly with 2 crutches) and to limit the swelling of the knee. Then there is less loss of muscle strength and a faster recovery after a knee injury. These recommendations are also included in the KNGF ES “Acute knee injury” as mentioned earlier. Your physiotherapist plays an important role in this.
“Can I play sports again after a knee injury?”
Yes, the majority of people can resume sports after a knee injury, if recognized in time and treated appropriately. Sometimes a period of physiotherapy is still sensible for a good recovery. Your treating doctor will discuss this with you.