Knee Injuries from Motor Vehicle Accidents and Other Trauma

An injured knee can have a major impact on your life.  The pain from the injury and any medication you take for it can influence how you think and feel and limit the types of activities you can enjoy.  The injury may mean you have to stop working or work less, especially if you have a job that requires you to stand or walk a lot.  Knee injuries can also prevent you from participating in sports you enjoy and in household activities.

In short, knee injuries can diminish your quality of life.

What are knee injuries from trauma?

A knee injury from trauma specifically refers to one that is caused by a harmful event, like a hit or a twist, and not knee damage from genetic abnormalities or long-term wear and tear.  Knee injuries from trauma include breaks, sprains, tears, and dislocations of the knee joint.  The injury can be to one or both knees.

The pain can be sudden and sharp or could start as a nagging pain that develops into something more serious and noticeable over time.  The pain may be constant, whether or not you’re using the knee, or it may only be felt when you’re doing certain activities like walking or climbing stairs.  You may notice swelling or redness and may not be able to apply pressure to the injured leg.

What causes knee injuries?

Knee injuries can be caused by direct impacts, over-extension of the joint, or twisting and bending on the knee’s tendons and ligaments.  For example, you can get a knee injury in a car accident if your knee hits the front dashboard or the door of the car hits the side of your leg.  You could also get a knee injury from slipping or falling down.

Common types of knee injuries from motor vehicle accidents

Types of knee injuries from trauma vary – often depending on how your knee was injured.  It could be a direct impact injury, twisting injury, hyper-extension injury – to name a few.

The knee injury itself can stem from a single or several injured parts of your knee such the bone(s), joint, ligament, muscle, tendon, and/or cartilage.  The type of treatment you receive often depends on the type of injury and severity of injury.  Please keep in mind that this is a simplistic listing and description of knee injuries for informational purposes.  Often knee injuries involve several aspects that is best diagnosed and treated by a physician.

3 common knee injuries are:

  1. meniscus tear (also called torn cartilage),
  2. injury to the medial collateral ligament (MCL tear), and
  3. injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL tear).

What should you do if you have suffered a knee injury?

The first thing you should do if you think you have injured your knee is get medical help.  A doctor can examine your knee to find out what the damage is and set up treatment to get you on the road to recovery.

Getting medical help is also important legally.  If you think the injury is from a car accident or is otherwise someone else’s fault, the doctor’s opinion will be important if you go ahead with seeking damages.  You will need to show that your knee injury was caused by the accident as well as the extent of the injury and its impact on your activities.

Get legal advice from a personal injury lawyer if you think it was caused by an accident or someone’s careless or reckless behaviour.

What if I already had knee problems, but now it’s worse?

You should go see your doctor if the pain in your knee has changed or gotten worse, even if you had a pre-existing knee injury or condition before the traumatic event.  If the event made your condition worse or caused new injuries, you can still seek damages.

How are knee injuries treated?

Your doctor will set up a treatment plan for your knee injury.  This can include seeing other specialists like physical therapists, medication to help the pain and inflammation, protective measures like knee wraps, limitations to your work and leisure activities, and, in very serious cases, surgery.

Most knee injuries get better with treatment and you can get back to your regular activities.  How long this takes depends on the injury, but can range from days to years.  Unfortunately, in some cases the injury never heals completely and becomes a life-long problem.