Knumb Knee
December 19, 2010 2:00 AM   Subscribe

I have numbness after a nasty fall directly on my right knee. Saw a doc and had x-rays done (pelvis, knee, ankle). Nothing broken. Now my knee, plus half my thigh and half my calf are quite swollen and bruised. How long can I expect the numbness to last?

I slipped on some ice Friday morning (Korean time, it's now Sunday evening) and landed directly on my right knee. Luckily I was right in front of the police station when I fell, double luckily, I was directly across the street from an orthopedic hospital. The officers walked me across the street and the doc did x-rays but nothing is broken. It seems to be all soft tissue. He prescribed three days of anti-inflammatory and pain meds. My knee itself is numb. It's the weirdest feeling.

Long story short, how long can I expect this to last? No, you are not my doctor. No, this isn't medical advice. Yes I'm going back to the doctor, but I am hampered by my horrendous Korean and his less than fluent English.
posted by kathrynm to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you bend the leg? I had a similar injury with a lot of swelling around the knee and ankle a few months ago and mine took about a month before most normal use returned. Ibuprofen helped. Going to a hot springs for a weekend about two weeks after the injury for long soaks in hot water helped quite a bit too.
posted by telstar at 3:20 AM on December 19, 2010

Response by poster: Yeah. I can bend it now. Not so on Friday. Even walking is OK now. It's mostly the weird numbness that's bothering me. I'll go back to the doctor tomorrow with my Korean dictionary and see if I can explain it.
posted by kathrynm at 3:57 AM on December 19, 2010

I've had that happen, when falling while running. The numbness lasted about a week, when I assume (didn't go to the doctor) the swelling stopped blocking whatever nerve brought sensation to the knee and I could feel it again.
posted by xingcat at 4:17 AM on December 19, 2010

My wife had a similar injury a few months back. It's still numb, and she's tried physiotherapy, steroids, and a prescription cream with capsaicin to restimulate the nerves. If you try the capsaicin cream, Kathrynn, I am advised that it is very important to wear gloves before using the lavatory, even if you think you've washed the cream off your hands.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:50 AM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

I did exactly the same as you two months ago, and with the same results. Numbness lasted 10-12 days. I used arnica cream, which I'm convinced helped (because it always has done in the past - it's magic). I obviously can't tell you how long it would have lasted without arnica. I still have an ugly dark scar on the front of my knee, but it's fading very slowly. And ther's no pain or numbness left at all.
posted by aqsakal at 6:24 AM on December 19, 2010

I once received a kick to the leg that was extremely hard, and it was months before the numbness went away (almost a year, actually).

It depends on how much nerve damage has been done, and it's quite possible that the doctor won't be able to give you an answer.
posted by scrute at 6:52 AM on December 19, 2010

If you have swelling in the calf, and numbness in your foot, you will want to get that checked out sooner rather than later.

There is a situation called "compartmental syndrome" which happens when the swelling basically squeezes the nerves and causes numbness. Too much pressure, too long, and you catch permanent nerve damage - this happens sometimes to runners.

Until you see your doctor, elevate your leg, and if the bruising isn't too bad, firmly massage the calf, like you were squeezing toothpaste, pushing towards your body, to move out the swelling. Ice will also be your friend in reducing swelling.
posted by yeloson at 10:44 AM on December 19, 2010

Response by poster: As an update, the doctor wasn't too concerned and said the numbness was to be expected. He told me to come back in two weeks if it hadn't improved.

Thanks for sharing your experiences. Knowing this isn't off the wall abnormal sets my mind at rest.
posted by kathrynm at 4:51 AM on December 21, 2010

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