Podcast 527: Knee Dislocations - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast 527: Knee Dislocations

Contributor:  Erik Verzemnieks, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Knee dislocations are most common in high energy trauma, such as a motor vehicle accident
  • The knee may appear grossly normal on initial inspection since dislocations can spontaneously reduce – Look for such findings as hemarthrosis, instability, or ecchymosis, as clues to an occult dislocation. 
  • Knee dislocations are often associated with damage to the popliteal artery that runs behind the knee. 
  • Assess for pulse deficit on exam. If you are concerned – use the ankle-brachial index (normal >0.9). If the ABI is abnormal, evaluate with CT angiogram and a vascular surgery consult. 



Mills WJ, Barei DP, McNair P. The value of the ankle-brachial index for diagnosing arterial injury after knee dislocation: a prospective study. J Trauma. 2004 Jun;56(6):1261-5.

Steele HL, Singh A. Vascular injury after occult knee dislocation presenting as compartment syndrome. J Emerg Med 2012; 42:271.

Sillanpää PJ, Kannus P, Niemi ST, et al. Incidence of knee dislocation and concomitant vascular injury requiring surgery: a nationwide study. J Trauma Acute Care Surg 2014; 76:715.

Summarized and written by myself

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