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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.

Knee Anatomy


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
  • Antibiotics help fight or prevent an infection. They may be given if you have an open wound.
  • Blood thinners reduce your risk of a blood clot.
  • A tetanus shot can help prevent a life-threatening infection if bacteria enters your wound. It may be needed if you have an open wound.


Your healthcare provider will monitor the pulse in your lower leg and foot. This is done to make sure you have blood flow to your leg.


  • X-ray, MRI, CT, or ultrasound pictures may be taken of your knee. They are used to see if your knee is dislocated and if you have other injuries. You may be given contrast liquid to help your knee show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
  • An arteriogram is a type of x-ray. Contrast liquid is injected into your blood vessels. The pictures will show if blood is flowing normally through your leg. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.


  • A procedure may be used to move your leg bones back into place. This is done by moving your knee and leg in different positions until your bones line up properly. The procedure is sometimes done during surgery.
  • Fasciotomy is a procedure to make a long incision in your leg. This is done to relieve the pressure caused by swelling or bleeding.
  • Surgery may be done to repair damaged nerves, ligaments, and blood vessels. It may also be done to move your leg bones back into place. Your healthcare provider may perform surgery right away after your knee dislocation. He or she may decide to wait until other injuries are treated to perform surgery.
  • Foot pumps or pressure stockings may be placed on your legs to prevent blood clots. Foot pumps are inflatable boots that are connected to an air pump. The pump tightens and loosens different areas of the boots. Pressure stockings are long, tight stockings that put pressure on your legs. This promotes blood flow and helps prevent clots.


You could have tissue damage or an infection if you have an open wound. You may have nerve damage. This can make it hard for you to lift or move your foot. You may have small pieces of bone or cartilage loose in your knee. You could have a blood clot in your leg or lungs. This may become life-threatening. You may have long-term pain or arthritis in your knee. You may need more surgery in the future. Even after treatment, there is a higher risk that you might dislocate your knee again.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Knee Dislocation (Inpatient Care)

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