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Have severe pain and numbness in knee. How to get rid of these symptoms?

Feb 2014
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Answered by

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 5930 Questions
A month ago I woke up with terrible, unbearable pain in my left knee/hip (see my last question). After 2 weeks, the pain began to subside with the application of heat and 3 ibuprofins every few hours.

A few days before the original pain started, I took some glucosamine chondroitin. I suspect that could have contributed in some way by 'lubricating' my joints. It's also possible I slept on the wrong way, as I recall sleeping about 14 hours the night before.

After 2 - 3 weeks, I feel I noticed some slippage in my knee cap, which possibly had been dislocated, and my knee started to feel better. It was still somewhat painful. About a week after that, I felt my hip joint slip into place, which might have also been dislocated.

Now, while the pain has completely subsided, I have residual numbness in my knee and about 6 inches above and below my knee. Is the numbness likely to be dangerous? Is there something I can do to get rid of the numbness?
Posted Sun, 2 Dec 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta 2 hours later

Thanks for posting your query.

This residual numbness in your knee might develop after overstretched muscle / nerves during subluxation of patella (Knee cap). In this instance, the knee numbness will generally disappear as the injury heals which may take as long as few weeks (6 weeks). You can start methylcobalamin tablets (vitamin B12 supplement) after discussing with doctor. I will be concerned if the numbness progress to involve other areas of the leg and if there is weakness of limb.

If the numbness persists or aggravates (as mentioned above), I suggest you to consult an orthopaedic surgeon to determine whether or not this injury is extensive.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if you have any more concerns.

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

Wishing you good health...
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have severe pain and numbness in knee. How to get rid of these symptoms? 22 hours later
I have had some weakness. About 2 weeks after the onset of the pain, I tried to walk down the front steps. Despite the fact that I was holding on the railing, I almost fell down the stairs. My left leg was so weak, it was as if I didn't even have a leg. I could not support nor balance myself at all.

I can now go down the stairs if the railing is on the left side. If it is on the right side, I have to turn around and go down backward. It’s much safer that way. To me, this seems to be an improvement in the situation.

I suspect some of the weakness might have been from my left hip. I had 3 hip operations on the right side because the first 2 failed. The lack of support and balance I experienced on my left leg recently were very similar to the ongoing lack of balance I have in my right leg due to the hip surgeries. Thus, I suspect my left hip may have contributed to recent weakness in my left leg. I felt a smooth, dull thud, which shook my skeleton, which I assumed was my left hip going back into the socket. There was some improvement in my strength after that.

Before my hip slipped into place, my knee cap seemed to slip into place, but it was accompanied with a clicking sound – not a smooth thud like my hip. Most of the pain subsided after that.

The initial pain of this whole mess was so bad, I wasn’t sure that it would go away, but it did. I wish I knew what happened, but I was sleeping when the problem developed. I assume the whole problem is getting better overall, but the numbness above and below my knee does worry me.

What kind of complications could develop if the injury is more extensive and I don’t go to the doctor? I don’t have insurance and I am not working. The x-rays, MRIs, tests, referrals, and evaluations will cost many thousands of dollars. Surgery, if needed, will cost many tens of thousands of dollars. It’s simply out of the question. There is no point in getting the tests done that will break me financially for many years if surgery is not remotely possible.

My friend sent me some knee exercises. Do you suggest I do knee exercises now or later?

Should I continue to apply hot or cold compresses at this time?

Thank you.
Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta 6 hours later

Thanks for posting your query.

After reading further description ,it seems that you might be having osteoarthritic hip and knee, which causes some instability in your hip and knee. This causes weakness , lack of support and balance in your left lower limb.

As I had already said, the numbness in your knee might develop after overstretched muscle / nerves during instability of your knee.

I would advise you to give some rest to your knee. You can use knee brace for knee support. Take methylcobalamin tablets for this knee numbness.

I would also advise you to do hip and knee exercises to strengthen the muscle around it, after giving rest to your knee for few days.

You can continue to apply hot or cold compresses.

Hope I was able to address your concern. Let me know if you need any more help.

Please accept my answer if you do not have further query.

Wishing you good health....
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