Skip to Content

Knee Dislocation


A knee dislocation happens when an injury forces your thigh bone out of alignment with your shin bone. It may occur with other injuries. It can also cause torn ligaments in your knee or nerve damage. It can be caused by a car or motorcycle accident, a sports injury, or a fall.



You may need any of the following:

  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • Prescription pain medicine helps decrease your pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.
  • Antibiotics help fight or prevent an infection. They may be given for 1 to 2 days after surgery or if you have an open wound.
  • Blood thinners reduce your risk of a blood clot.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to have stitches removed after surgery. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Wound care:

Carefully wash the wound with soap and water. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty.


It may take weeks or months for your knee to heal and for you to return to your previous activity level.

  • Immobilize your knee for up to 6 weeks or as directed. Your healthcare provider may put on a cast or splint. You may need to wear a leg brace to stabilize your knee. A leg brace can be adjusted to increase your range of motion as your knee heals.
  • Use crutches if your healthcare provider tells you not to put weight on your injured knee. Healthcare providers will show how to use crutches. You may need crutches for 4 to 6 weeks.
  • Physical therapy teaches you exercises to strengthen your leg, increase balance, and decrease pain. Physical therapy may also help prevent another knee injury.

Contact your healthcare provider:

  • You have leg pain that does not go away after you take pain medicine.
  • Your knee is red or swollen, or your wound is leaking pus.
  • Your stitches come apart.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • You have severe pain and swelling in your lower leg.
  • Your lower leg looks pale.
  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.
  • Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.