Knee injuries are among the most common bone and joint injuries among athletes. Fortunately, some of them are not serious and get better quickly. Others might involve ligament or meniscus damage and could need surgery. How can you know? If you’re thinking, “I can’t bend my knee at all” after you suffer a knee injury, then watch my latest Ask Dr. Geier video.

I can’t bend my knee. Should I be worried?

One of the most popular articles I’ve ever written on my site is one titled, “Signs your knee injury is serious.” In it, I share 5 or 6 signs and symptoms that could suggest that you might have broken or torn something in your knee. Difficulty bending your knee is one of those signs.

To be fair, your knee might feel a little stiff after you aggravate it in some way. If you can’t get your knee bent past 30 or 40 degrees, though, there could be more going on.

"Doctor, I can't bend my knee and it hurts!"

Likewise, if you struggle to get your knee fully straight, it could represent a serious injury.

Sometimes difficulty bending your knee is caused by a torn meniscus that is blocking motion of the knee. It could also represent a ligament injury, like a torn ACL, that causes the knee to be extremely swollen and painful.

If you can’t bend your knee at all, or you can’t bend it more than a few degrees, it could be worthwhile to see a doctor and find out what your injury is. In this video, I discuss some of the possible scenarios.

Also read:
How do I know if I have a serious knee injury?
Is my knee giving out a sign of an ACL injury?

Please remember, while I appreciate your questions, I cannot and will not offer specific medical advice by email, on my website, on my podcast, or in social media. My responses are meant to provide general medical information and education. Please consult your physician or health care provider for your specific medical concerns.

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