4 Signs Your Knee Injury Is More Serious Than You Think

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Published On

Jun 29, 2018



You can injure your knee in many different ways. While not all knee injuries are serious, you should never ignore a knee injury or any knee problem you experience. Learn some of the signs that your knee injury is serious and should be treated by a doctor.

1. You See Visual Signs of Knee Damage

One way to tell that your knee injury is serious is by how knee looks – even if your knee doesn’t feel particularly painful, you may still have a problem that needs professional care. Visual signs of a serious knee problem include:

  • Obvious deformity or misalignment
  • Swelling or other enlargements
  • A large open cut, sore, or other wounds

A deformed or misaligned knee can mean you have a bone injury, as opposed to a soft tissue one. If parts of the knee jut out or look misshapen, you might have anything from a fracture to a dislocation. This is a good sign that you need to have a doctor take a look at your knee.

Swelling is another common sign of a serious knee injury. For light swelling, you should rest, use ice, apply some compression, and elevate the knee when possible. If the swelling doesn’t subside or you have excessive swelling from the start, then you should seek medical attention.

Wounds larger than something an adhesive bandage can take care of are also a cause for concern. Not only do they indicate knee damage, they can also lead to infections and improper healing if you don’t take care of them promptly.

Wash the wound with clean water and apply some pressure to it with a clean cloth. Next, apply an antibiotic ointment with clean hands. You can then bandage or cover up the knee wound.

If the wound came from trauma to your knee – for example, if you fell down hard on it – then you may have a serious knee injury. Don’t assume that dressing the wound is enough to deal with the issue.

2. You Hear Something Pop or Crack

Do you hear a pop, crack, or any other noise from your knee? Not all sounds indicate a serious problem, but you won’t know unless you have the offending knee looked at. Audible sounds from your knee can indicate a possible ligament issue. For example, loose ligaments, ligament tears, or misaligned ligaments can cause your knees to make these noises.

If you hear the noise repeatedly, you should have your knee checked out. If you also feel pain when you hear the noise, you almost certainly have a more serious knee issue.

3. You Feel Your Knee Not Working As It Should

Knee injuries can often leave you stumbling or unsure on your feet. This can happen with even mild knee injuries. Some signs you have a more serious knee problem can include:

  • Extreme pain when you put weight on your knee
  • A gradual buildup of pain in your knee from normal use
  • The inability to straighten a leg or difficulty bending your knee
  • Your knee buckling, whether rarely or often

If your knee isn’t working as it should – that is, without pain – you likely have a serious knee problem. Don’t assume that your knee’s behavior is a symptom of age or anything else.

Some people will live with a bad knee and never seek help for it. When you don’t get to the bottom of the problem, you run the risk of it becoming worse.

4. You Experience Unmitigated Pain

Most knee injuries come with pain to one degree or another. You can mitigate the pain in several ways, depending on the type of knee injury you have. Over-the-counter pain medication, bandages, knee elevation, crutches, and knee braces can all help.

When nothing stops the pain or its intensity, you may have a knee injury that requires a closer look and professional help. You won’t know the proper method for dealing with your knee without seeing someone about it first.

At the Noyes Knee Institute, we specialize in sports medicine and orthopedic treatments. If you experience any issues with your knee, make an appointment with us immediately.