Car accident knee injuries can be extremely painful and can stop a person’s life on a dime. In an accident, a person’s knee can slam into the dashboard or inside of the door and cause any of the injuries below.
Types of Knee Injuries
Patellar Tendon Injury
A patellar tendon injury involves the tearing of the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone. The tendon is susceptible to injury in a car accident if the knee comes into contact with the dashboard or vehicle's interior. These injuries can be partial or complete and treatment and recovery options vary based on their severity.
Walking up stairs or standing up from a seated position may be difficult for patients who have injured their patellar tendon. Victims may also sustain bruising, cramping, and tenderness.
To treat a patellar tendon tear, doctors may immobilize the knee or recommend physical therapy or surgery.
A torn meniscus occurs when cartilage in the knee severs, often resulting in decreased overall cartilage as well as popping and clicking from the knee joint. It can be an extremely painful condition that will need MRI or X-rays to confirm. Victims may require surgical intervention, such as a meniscectomy, meniscus repair, or meniscus transplant.
A torn meniscus may occur with an ACL injury.
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament, or ACL, is a vital part of the knee's support structure. It keeps tightness in the knee to prevent hyperextension and holds the knee securely in place. ACL injuries can include a strain, sprain, or tear and can be mild or severe. In a mild ACL injury, there may be a slight tear but the joint remains stable. If the injury to the ACL is severe, there can be a complete break or rupture that can lead to instability and permanent disability.
Pain, swelling, and bruising usually follow a suspected ACL injury but doctors must do X-rays to confirm. Treatment may include braces or other supportive rehabilitation aids, physical therapy, and/or surgical interventions depending on the severity of the injury.
MCL or LCL Injury
The Medial Collateral Ligament, or MCL, runs along the inside of the knee and protects the knee from collapsing inward. The Lateral Collateral Ligament, or LCL, serves the similar function from the outside of the knee protecting against outward motion.
A sudden movement or impact in either direction can cause the ligament to tear, resulting in pain, swelling, and loss of support function. Another common symptom is a "popping" sensation when manipulating the knee.
These injuries use a scale of one to three to define their severity with one being "minimal" and three being "major."
Treatment for an LCL or MCL injury, like an ACL injury, can range from ice to bracing the knee to surgery.
The Posterial Collateral Ligament, or PCL, keeps the lower leg bone (tibia) from moving too far forward. A PCL injury occurs when there is a sudden forceful impact to a knee in the bent position. A PCL injury can cause instability in addition to pain and swelling and make it difficult if not impossible for the injured party to walk on the leg.
An MRI or X-ray may be necessary to diagnose a PCL injury. Doctors may recommend the RICE method (rest, ice, gentle compression, and elevation), immobilization, physical therapy, or surgery.
How am I going to pay for my knee injury?
Treatment for knee injuries can set you back, especially when considering that the injury may keep you out of work for several weeks or even cause you to quit your job. But you may have options. If your accident was the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a personal injury claim for compensation.