Knee injury symptoms will vary depending upon the tissue damaged. One must take into consideration that pain tolerance differs from person to person and is highly subjective. For example, I had a patient last week that was complaining of knee pain. He noted falling but stated that it really wasn’t that bad of a fall and continued working. He had always suffered with knee pain and we simply assumed that it was osteoarthritis. After taking X-rays we discovered he had fractured a bone in his leg. Now you would assume that with a fracture there would be a considerable amount of pain, swelling and an inability to move the joint. He had none of these symptoms and his pain level was not that much different from what it had been prior to the fall. My point is, one specific symptom doesn’t always mean a specific diagnosis. That having been said there are some symptoms that are most often associated with injury. These symptoms include but are certainly not limited to:
- Pain…a good indication that some type of injury is present
- Swelling…indicates inflammation of tissue
- Heat…indicates inflammation
- Redness…again inflammation
- Clicking…may indicate a meniscal tear or osteoarthritis
- Instability…may indicate ligamentous disruption, osteoarthritis, fracture, or dislocation
- Range of Motion…changes in motion may indicate a sprain or strain, muscle and or soft tissue tear, osteoarthritis, fracture or dislocation.
The bottom line is that any symptom, either those listed above or not, is indicative of something abnormal with the knee joint. Remember knee symptoms are common, they are not normal.