Knee injuries suffered due to car accidents might not be as common as back related injuries, but they are not uncommon and have the potential to be very serious and costly injuries. Knee injuries often occur as a result of head-on and side-impact collisions. The most common types of knee injuries cause kneecap damage or ligament damage.
Kneecap injuries often occur when parts of the vehicle cave in on drivers and passengers. It is not uncommon for side doors and windows to cave in and crush drivers or passengers knees. This can lead to a fractured knee cap, which requires open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) surgery. During this surgery, the knee is reconstructed while fractured pieces that cannot be repaired on removed. After surgery, therapy usually lasts from 6 to 9 months. In total, the cost for the surgery and therapy can reach $12,000.
Ligament damage occurs when the car accident damages tendons and muscles in the knees. The ligament damage that takes place is normally determined by the force of the impact and the degree to which the tendons and muscles are stretched or twisted beyond their normal intended capacity. Most car accident knee injuries are to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The purpose of the ACL is to give the knee flexibility. The ACL usually returns to form when stretched, but twisted too forcefully, it can become strained or even torn. While a strain results in mild to moderate pain, a tear can cause excruciating pain. Other less common knee ligament injuries from car accidents include damage to the medial collateral ligament (MCL), lateral collateral ligament (LCL) or posterior collateral ligament (PCL).
When your knees are hurt in a car accident, it is important to pay attention to your symptoms for both medical purposes and for making a personal injury claim. If you are experiencing pain, discomfort, and/or swelling, you should seek immediate medical attention. Doctors can determine the extent of your injury using X-rays or a MRI. An ACL sprain can usually heal with rest and therapy, with therapy usually lasting between 3 to 6 months. A bad tear could require arthroscopic surgery and 6 to 9 months of recovery time.