If your most serious injury in a car crash was to your knee, you might consider yourself lucky. Indeed, you could have suffered a worse fate. However, knee injuries in crashes can have severe, long-term consequences.
That’s particularly true if they’re not diagnosed and treated properly. Depending on the type and severity of the injury, treatment can involve anything from a cast or brace to surgery. Physical therapy is often required to help a knee injury fully heal and restore mobility.
The most common crash-related knee injuries
Below are some of the most commonly occurring injuries to victims’ knees in a collision.
- Fractures: The three types of knee fractures (from least to most serious) are stable, displaced and comminuted. A comminuted fracture involves the shattering of a bone in to multiple pieces. A kneecap fracture can be particularly debilitating. A broken kneecap can make it difficult to put any weight on your leg or even straighten it.
- Dislocations: When the kneecap dislocates, it usually slides over to the outside of the leg. It’s usually visible just by looking at it. If the kneecap itself isn’t damaged, it will typically heal with the help of a brace or cast. Then physical therapy is typically required. If the kneecap is damaged, surgery might be necessary.
- Ligament sprains: This is when one of the four ligaments in the knee is stretched or torn. The severity of the sprain is graded from one (a slight stretching) to three (a complete tear). A tear may require surgery and then extensive recovery time.
- Ruptured patellar tendon: This is a severe injury that occurs when the tendon that attaches to the shinbone and the kneecap is torn – making it difficult to walk or straighten your leg. This type of injury typically requires surgery as soon as possible.