Knee problem from fall

Hello. Three weeks ago, I was running out to my car, tripped over myself (I guess), and fell flat on the sidewalk. My right knee was the first thing to hit and is what took the brunt of the fall. Then my left arm/elbow hit with the rest of my body following soon after. It hurt really badly, right away. There were abrasions on my knee which I treated immediately. My knee was extremely sore, but I was able to limp on it. (As a side note, my left arm could only remain around 90 degrees on that first day and was very tender and weak. Over time it has improved, and is almost 100% now. I think I sprained it. My knee is my primary concern right now, but I just wanted to give you ALL the information.)
I iced my knee most of the first day and have done so intermittently since then. I have also taken high doses of ibuprofen for inflammation. At first I couldn't fully straighten my knee, and I could hardly bend it past 45 degrees. It was very swollen and had a lot of fluid on it. It felt extremely tight as though I had an ace bandage wrapped tightly around it (though there was nothing on my knee).
Now, the swelling has decreased, and I can fully straighten and bend my knee. Yet, there is some discomfort/extra effort when I try to bend it or walk up stairs. It also still feels pretty "tight." I am able to do basic functions (walking without a limp, pedal a stationary bike, put weight on it), but it still feels like it has a long way to go.
I can't bend it deeply (i.e. squat) or kneel on it. I am able to go up stairs, but it feels awkward and is still a little slow. It's very sensitive to unexpected jarring or extension. It feels like the kneecap pops every time I extend it. When I put my hand on my knee and bend it, it feels differently (from the outside) compared to my other knee. If I bend it a lot while I sleep, it is especially sore and tight when I wake up.
SO...what I am wondering is:
1) Does this sound like a normal healing progression for such a blunt trauma? (And perhaps I'm just wanting to see progress more quickly than is realistic)
2) OR, does this process sound abnormal/serious to the point where I should visit an orthopedist? (My chiropractor looked at it, but I haven't pursued any other medical avenues because I have a high deductible health plan and do not want to have a doctor's visit if I don't have to.)
3) If everything does sound ok, what else should I do for rehab? I have been trying to rehab my knee by gently working out (i.e. walking on a treadmill, riding a stationary bike), but I'm not able to run yet. I don't want to push my knee farther than I should, but I also want to do all I can for it. I'm feeling anxious to be able to work out again, and I don't want to cause any additional permanent damage.

Any information or advice would be much appreciated. Please also let me know if you need additional information. Thanks for your help!

Posted By Emily on May 29, 2008 at 14:58:34:

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