If you’ve suffered multiple injuries in a car crash, your knee pain may not be your biggest concern. However, a knee injury – no matter how it’s suffered – can haunt you for the rest of your life. You may need surgery at some point. It can cause arthritis as you get older. A crash-related knee injury can exacerbate an old knee injury as well.
That’s why it’s essential to make sure that you seek experienced medical care if you’re suffering knee pain after a crash. The sooner a knee injury is properly diagnosed and treatment is begun, the better your chances are that it won’t get worse as time goes on.
Common crash-related knee injuries
It’s not uncommon to suffer knee injuries in a crash. An airbag can protect your head and upper torso, but your knees can slam into the dashboard. Some of the most common crash-related knee injuries include:
- Fractures: The break is usually in the kneecap (patella)
- Dislocation: This is when the kneecap moves to one side of the leg
- Sprained ligaments: There are four ligaments in the knee. It’s not uncommon for one or more of them to stretch or tear in a crash.
- Ruptured patellar tendons: These are the tendons that attach the shinbone to the kneecap, so this is a very serious injury.
If you’re experiencing symptoms like bruising, swelling, pain, tenderness and difficulty bending your knee or walking, it’s essential to have a doctor thoroughly examine the area as soon as possible. They’ll likely do an MRI and/or x-rays.
Treatment for knee injuries can vary extensively
If a knee injury isn’t serious, a doctor may simply recommend rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). However, you may need a cast or brace to keep the knee in place as it heals. Physical therapy (PT) is often recommended.
In some cases, particularly with serious tears, surgery is necessary to correct the damage that’s been done. Even then, there may be an extended recovery time. A long course of PT may be needed to get back to your normal physical activities.
If you’ve suffered a knee injury in a crash caused by another driver, it’s essential to make sure that you have an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan before you accept any settlement from an insurance company or the at-fault party. An experienced attorney can help you protect your rights to compensation.