Q. I injured my knee while playing and cannot walk without crutches or bend it backward. Why?

Answered by
Dr. Atul Prakash
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 22, 2019

Hello doctor,

I am a 25-year-old male. I am a soccer player, and I have some wear and tear on my knees and ankles because of it, although I never had a significant injury. About a week and a half ago I injured my knee while playing soccer. My foot was not planted when I injured my knee, so I do not think it is ACL, but it has been a week and a half and my knee is not getting better. Two days after it had happened I could not walk without crutches because it hurts my knee too much, but since then I am able to walk without too much pain, only for shorter distances. I am a college student so after getting home from school my knee is very sore from the walking. I have a very limited range of motion right now as well. I can straighten my knee with some difficulty, but I cannot bend it backward. When bending it backwards, I can get it to about 90 degrees, but at that point, I have to stop because it feels like my knee is going to explode from the pressure. In the few instances where I have caught my foot on something causing my leg to bend back past 90 degrees, there is a pretty intense pain that shoots through my knee. Also, I have some minor visible swelling, but it feels like it is swollen from inside. I am wondering if I should consult a doctor immediately, or if I should wait a few weeks to see if it gets better on its own. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



Welcome to

I will recommend that you do see your doctor as the markers of a significant injury are there, immediate pain and swelling, inability to bear weight, persisting swelling, etc. Even if we over-diagnose and nothing came out of the investigation like an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) then two things will still happen that will help you.

You will be sure that the joint is fine including the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), MCL (medial collateral ligament), etc., as MCL injury can occur in your described mechanism and you will have the confidence to return to soccer without a hitch. You will then undergo supervised physiotherapy that will help you rehabilitate better.

If there is a ligament injury then that is the last thing that may lead you to give up soccer if missed. In the meantime ice the knee, give rest to it, elevate it when resting and put a compression bandage to get rid of the swelling. I suggest taking Diclofenac 75 mg twice a day after meals for a week.

I hope this helps.

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