Car crashes can cause serious injures to your knee. Knee injures are more likely to occur in a side-impact collision, rollover, or head-on collision. The following will help you to understand the different types of knee injuries that can happen in a car accident.
In a car crash, the door, window, and even the roof can cave in and crush your knee. If this happens, your kneecap can fracture. Your kneecap (patella) protects the ligaments and tendons in your knee. These ligaments and tendons surround the quadricep muscle running up the front of your thigh.
Surgery may be required to repair a fractured kneecap. During the surgery the doctor will reconstruct the kneecap with wire, pins, and screws, removing the pieces of the kneecap that are too small to repair. If the damage is too severe, the doctor will have to do a full or partial patellectomy, partially or completely removing the broken kneecap.
A car crash can damage ligaments in the knee. This is especially true in a side-impact crash. The tendons can twist or pull far beyond their radius depending on how severe the impact of the crash was. More than 70% of knee injuries from car crashes are to the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). It is one of the four ligaments that have the job of giving the knee flexibility. It contains the soft tissues that connect the lower and upper joints of the knee. The ACL is like a group of rubber bands. As the knee moves, the ACL turns and moves with the knee. But just like a rubber band, if the ACL is twisted too forcefully or too far it can become sprained or torn. A sprain causes mild to moderate pain. If the ACL is torn, the pain is excruciating and debilitating.
A sprained or torn ACL can be diagnosed with an x-ray or MRI. Depending on the severity of your injury, your ACL may heal itself with rest and therapy. This can take six months or longer. If your ACL is torn, arthroscopic surgery will be your only option.
MCL, LCL, and PCL Injury
Other injuries to the knee that can be caused by a car crash is an injury to the MCL (medial collateral ligament), the LCL (lateral collateral ligament), or the PCL (posterior collateral ligament). Even though injuries to these ligaments are less common, they do happen.
The meniscus is a disc-like mass of soft tissue and cartilage located behind the knee. You have two in each knee. In a car crash, the force of impact can tear or rupture a meniscus. A slight tear comes with moderate pain and discomfort. A ruptured meniscus is very painful and debilitating. You may have swelling and hear a “popping” sound at the time of injury. You may also feel your knee lock up. Your doctor will order an MRI to diagnose the extent of your injury.
Anti-inflammatory medication and muscle relaxers, followed by physical therapy, are the usual treatments for a slight meniscus tear. If your meniscus is ruptured, arthroscopic surgery will be necessary. The doctor will sew the torn areas of the meniscus back together. If the surgeon finds that parts of the meniscus moved into the surrounding tissue they will need to be removed. In more severe cases, if the meniscus is beyond repair, the surgeon will remove it and replace it with a prosthetic. This is what is called a total meniscectomy.
St. Louis Car Crash Attorney
If you have been injured in a car crash it is best not to deal with the insurance company alone. You need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side.