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Suffering from arthritis. Fell down on knee. Noticed swelling around joints. What should I do?

Feb 2014
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Answered by

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 5930 Questions
Hi, I am a 64 yr old very active woman who tripped on a step and fell hard on my right knee. My knee already has arthritis and I am afraid that I may have damaged the cartilage. I can do a straight leg raise, without pain. However when I walk the pain is awful. It goes away if I just stand still. Just minor swelling around the whole joint. Have been icing and putting cortisone cream ( script strength ) and wearing a knee sleeve. When will the pain go away I walk about 6 miles a day, and I am afraid I damaged my knee where I will need a total knee replacement because I was told that before this accident. I have articulating cartilage on the lateral side of my knee only How long should I wait before I go see my Ortho Dr.? Do you think I hurt the cartilage, or maybe a hairline fx, how long before the pain goes away? I have to walk alot because my other leg has neuropathy from failed back surgery, and also atrophy. If I walk even though my knee hurts, will I damage it more? What about use the heated pool, will that help me? Pls answer all my questions. Thanks so much
Posted Sat, 17 Nov 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta 3 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.

According to your description, it seems to be soft tissue injury . So do not worry too much.

Soft tissue injury over knee generally heals in 10-15 days.

But as your knee is already osteoarthritic & osteoporotic there might be chance of a fracture. So you need a x-ray to rule out any fracture or joint damage.

I suggest you to consult an orthopaedician nearby for a detailed examination , if it hurts even after two weeks from injury.

Avoid putting weight and rest well till it heals. You may have to stop your walk for a while to assist healing. Hot fomentation after one week might be helpful.

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: Suffering from arthritis. Fell down on knee. Noticed swelling around joints. What should I do? 19 hours later
Thank you for your reply. I have been resting my knee and icing it. I do note that it seems to be improving. Would a stress fx cause pain when standing, or just with movement or both? What could be done with a stress fx other than what I am doing now? I am going to go in a heated pool tomorrow because my left leg with the sciatica hurts, and exercise helps with the pain.

Thanks for your time and courtesy XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta 6 hours later

Thanks again.

Stress fracture would cause pain both in standing and with movement. They heal like any other fracture i.e. rest, no weight bearing, braces for support, analgesics and icing. I see you are doing all these.

Please continue. And as I said, if symptoms do not improve after 2 weeks, then consult an orthopedic.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if you have any more concerns.
If all your queries are answered, please close this discussion.

Wishing you good health...

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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