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Knee injury, pops on the knee cap, sharp pain. Walking making it worse. Use crutches again?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
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I fell on my knee about 3 weeks ago. I went to the doctor and told him how it felt. It feels like it is going to give out, my knee pops around the knee cap. I have sharp pain when walking up or down the stairs. Also, it hurts when I stand for a while and when I pivot. He sent me for a x-ray and said come back in 2 weeks.

I called back for the results and the nurse said everything was fine. I asked what was wrong with it, she said I sprained it. She said to stay off it and use crutches till it didn’t hurt to walk on it.

I used them for a week and then starting walking on it again. The first couple of days I wasn’t on the crutches was fine and it didn’t even hurt. Then after a couple days later when I walked on it, it began to hurt again like it didn’t heal all the way.

I went back to the doctor and told him how the crutches helped so much and I didn’t have pain till a couple days after not using them. He said maybe I should get a MRI. I said do I have to I thought it was just sprained. He said you can wait a couple weeks. I said ok. I said should I just rest it and he said yes and maybe take ibuprofen and the whole thing might go away. I told him I walk all the time. I asked him should I use the crutches again for a little because they helped and when I stopped using them my knee felt almost healed, like I didn’t use them long enough before, otherwise it would be healed by now. He said if you can walk on it walk on it.

I don’t understand why he said just walk on it when it still hurts and the crutches almost healed my knee. And since it didn’t heal all the way why should I keep walking on it and make it worse. It just doesn’t make sense and he is only in the room for 5 minutes and leaves. He didn’t even look at it. Being on the crutches makes sense. I also have read normally with a knee sprain you are on the crutches for about 2 weeks.

My question is should I use the crutches again and if so for how long?

Posted Sun, 29 Apr 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 4 hours later

Thanks for posting your query.

It seems that you have suffered a minor soft tissue injury around your knee.

Since you are feeling pain and discomfort on walking without crutches, it suggests that the knee injury has not healed completely and your knee needs some further rest.

1. Give enough rest to your knee - use a knee brace.
2. Take mild pain killers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
3. Stronger prescription NSAIDS (Non Steroidal Anti- Inflammatory Drugs) with muscle relaxants may help if simple analgesics do not help.
4. Hot compresses to your knee will be useful pain relieving measure. You may apply a local analgesic gel on that area.
5. Calf and hamstring stretches can be helpful under the guidance of a physiotherapist after the acute pain subsides completely.

Yes, you can use the crutches again, may be upto 6 months till you get symptom-free.

In case the mild discomfort is persistent, then investigations like MRI (Magnetic Resonant Imaging) may be required to rule out meniscus tear or injury.
I hope this answers your query effectively.

In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.

Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.

Wishing you good health.

Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Knee injury, pops on the knee cap, sharp pain. Walking making it worse. Use crutches again? 4 days later
Thank you for your advice.

In the last email I said that I went off the crutches after one week and started walking on it again and it started to get worse after 3 days of being off them.

I have now been using crutches for a little less than a week now. I do still walk on it a little so it doesn’t get stiff. I was thinking about using the crutches for about 2 or 3 weeks longer. They are really helping and I think using them for that much longer will help and heal it. Or at least give it time so I can walk on it and not have it get worse. The popping that I was feeling is not happening as much as before and the pain has got a little better. I feel like it is healing but not all the way yet. I am almost positive that I didn’t tear anything. I don’t want to injure it more by walking on it if there is still some pain. I also have been told to follow what your body tells you.

I know you said it can take a while to heal also. I don’t think it helped that I waited to go to the doctor the first time because I was walking on it for about a week and a half. I think it slowed the healing process.

I just wanted to know if it is ok to use the crutches for that time or should I use them longer than that? I will still walk on it a little to make sure it doesn’t get stiff or to weak.
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 5 hours later
Thanks for writing again.
It is alright to use crutches for longer since you are feeling discomfort on walking without them.
While you are walking on crutches, do not worry about making your legs weak. You will regain your strength in 2 weeks after the injury is healed and you stop using them.
Using a support while walking will take off the pressure of weight bearing from your knee and will help in healing.
You can use the crutches as long as walking without them is painful.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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