Knee Injury

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Knee injuries can occur in several different ways in car accidents, depending on the nature of the crash, such as a side-impact, rear-ender, or rollover.  The knee can strike the dashboard, window, or any interior part of the vehicle (such as the roof in a rollover) resulting in a direct blow to the knee, or an injury to the knee caused by twisting or hyperextension of the leg.  Knee pain can arise from the knee itself, or be referred from problems with the lower back, hip or ankle.

Common knee injuries after a car accident may involve:

The ACL is an important ligament that stabilizes your knee in an extended position.  An ACL tear can result when your leg is hyperextended.  Symptoms of an ACL injury may include a popping sound, swelling, and knee joint instability.  Treatment of an ACL injury depends on the severity of the tear, and may range from several months of rehabilitation (small tear) to reconstructive surgery (severe tear).

The PCL is a strong ligament in the back of the knee that is required for posterior knee stability.  When a knee strikes a dashboard hard, the force may be hard enough to cause a PCL tear.  Symptoms of a PCL injury may include knee tenderness, swelling, pain, and knee joint instability.  Treatment of a PCL tear will range from physical therapy to reconstructive surgery depending on your age and level of physical activity.  You may require surgery if you are an athlete, or more conservative treatment such as a knee cast or braces.

The MCL is a ligament that is required for stability by preventing over-widening of the inside of the knee joint.  Symptoms of an MCL injury may include pain, swelling and keen joint instability.  Treatment of an MCL injury will usually involve rest, bracing, and physical therapy.  Surgery may be required in certain cases.

Depending on the severity of the knee injury, the recovery period can range from 4 weeks (Grade 1) to 3 months or longer (Grade 3) before a return to unrestricted activity.  If knee injuries are left untreated, or treated improperly, complications such as chronic pain, tendency for re-injury, artery or nerve damage, continued knee joint instability, knee degeneration, and increased risk of arthritis (osteoarthritis and post-traumatic arthritis) may develop.  A lawyer can direct you to the necessary treatment professionals such as physical therapy, knee specialists, or an orthopedic surgeon.  We can also arrange for other diagnostic procedures such as a CT scan or MRI.

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