Leg Injury After Slipping on Ice

Patient

Q: I slipped on some ice last Sunday while walking my dog. Ever since I have been having severe pain in my lower leg, from my knee to my ankle on my left leg. If I touch the bottom left area below my knee it is very painful, if a twist my leg it is also very painful. Walking up and down stairs is when the pain is worst, but it is there all the time. There was no bruising or swelling. Should I see a doctor or is it something that I must endure until it heals?

Doctor

A:   Acute knee pain after an injury and related symptoms may be caused by damage to one or more of the soft tissue structures that stabilize and cushion the knee joint (including the ligaments, muscles, tendons, and menisci).
One of the most common causes of acute knee pain are sprains after injury, and these involve the stretching or tearing of non contractile structures, such as the ligaments or the joint capsule itself, also a strain refers to stretching or severing along the course of muscles or tendons, this seems to be your particular case in the view of your description.
An uncomplicated knee injury that with conservative treatment has a great chance to improve, anyways if you notice one or more of the following symptoms: inflammation, remarkable limitation on flexion-extension movements, locking of the knee, or instability, the next step would be an evaluation by an Orthopedic Surgeon. But if this is not the case, the suggested strategy would be: protection (avoid activities or movements that reproduce the pain), rest, local ice packs for periods no more than 15 minutes each time the first 24 hours, and after, local hot compresses, and anti-inflammatory medication (i.e.: “Aleve”, “Advil”). The healing time is different for each patient but generally there is a progressive improvement during the next 4-6 weeks after the injury.

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