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I was carrying my son down some steps yesterday and missed the bottom step. Because i was holding him, I was unable to use my hands to break the fall. The entire weight of the fall was on my left knee and I landed on a tile floor.
My knee isn't swollen or bruised. It's not painful to touch, but it does hurt when I walk. It's not a sharp pain. Rather, it's an intense ache and tightness at the back of my knee, enough to cause me to limp. I noticed this afternoon that there's a large soft painless lump on the side of my knee, on the lower half of the kneecap. (This is where I felt the most pain after the fall, so I believe it's the area that impacted the floor.)
Is this likely to resolve itself on it's own, or should I see my doctor?
(I didn't choose neurology, so I'm not sure how it ended up in this category-- I realize it's not a neurological issue!)
I'm sorry to hear about your fall. I am also an internist so I can help you with this question. The main things to consider are 1) did you fracture the patella (knee cap)? or 2) did you damage the internal structures of the knee (eg. meniscus, ACL). The first question can be easily assessed by x-ray, the second by exam....then MRI if needed.
If you did fracture the patella and the broken pieces have not been displaced by the trauma you may not need surgery. Splinting or casting will keep the pieces in alignment while they heal. If the patellar pieces have been pulled apart by the trauma you will likely need surgery to hold them in place.
This could require wires, screws or pins.
Are you there?
You could wait a few days, ice it, rest it, and use an anti-inflammatory for pain. If the lump does not go down, or the pain does not subside you could have it evaluated. The only advantage of waiting would be to see if it might just be post-traumatic swelling of the soft tissues or a bone bruise.
If there is a fracture waiting a few days can also help somewhat with the exam, as the swelling and pain may come down a bit and allow for more vigorous testing of the knee components.
But you should stay off of it in the meantime, if possible. I would advise using crutches.