The knee is one of the most frequently injured joints. Traumatic injuries to the knee often occur due to sports. But there are also other causes including falls, assaults and motor vehicle crashes.
According to research published in the Journal of Accidents Analysis & Prevention, in the United States, about 30,000 knee injuries occurred in frontal motor vehicle crashes each year. It’s common to smash the knee into the dashboard due to a head-on collision.
Traumatic knee injuries often vary in severity. Symptoms of a traumatic knee injury include pain, swelling, and inability to straighten the leg. In some cases, knee injuries can lead to lasting damage and have permanent consequences.
Types of Traumatic Knee Injuries
There are several types of traumatic knee injuries. In some cases, trauma to the knee will involve more than one type of injury. Below are the most common injuries to the knee.
Fractures: The patella is the most frequently fractured bone around the knee. The patella protects the knee joint. When it is fractured, it may be impossible to walk. Direct force to the front of the knee, such as in a motor vehicle crash, is a common cause of a fractured patella.
Meniscus tear: The meniscus is the cartilage in the knee joint. If pressure or force twists or rotates the knee, it can lead to a meniscus tear.
Anterior cruciate ligament injury: The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the most common ligaments injured in the knee. Damage to the ACL can occur with a direct blow to the knee. Although an ACL injury is often associated with sports, it can also have other causes, such as falls.
Dislocation: Dislocation of the knee occurs when the bones are partially or completely knocked out of place. For example, the kneecap can slip out of correct alignment. Knee dislocations most often occur due to high impact trauma, such as a motor vehicle crash or fall.
Treatment for traumatic knee injuries can vary depending on the severity and the specific part of the knee hurt. It’s vital that a correct diagnosis is made and an injury is not missed. Getting proper treatment is crucial to decrease the chances of complications. Treatment for a traumatic knee injury may include:
- Physical therapy
Permanent Damage and Consequences of Knee Injuries
After a traumatic knee injury, it’s possible to have permanent consequences. Lasting damage can occur for a few different reasons. In some cases, the severity of the injury is significant enough to cause permanent damage. In other instances, an injury may have been misdiagnosed, or inadequate treatment may have been provided. Lasting consequences of a traumatic knee injury may include:
Chronic pain: Ongoing pain due to a traumatic knee injury can be debilitating. Chronic pain is sometimes difficult to treat. Although pain medication is often prescribed, it can be habit-forming and lead to additional problems.
Decreased range of motion: Knee injuries can lead to decreased range of motion, such as the inability to bend the knee or completely straighten it out. Decreased range of motion in the knee can make walking, sitting and rising from a chair difficult.
Instability: It’s not uncommon for a knee injury to lead to instability. It may feel as if your knee will give out and cannot support your body.
Post-Traumatic Arthritis: Post-traumatic osteoarthritis is a common permanent consequence of trauma to any joint, especially the knee. Post-traumatic arthritis can cause fluid accumulation in the knee, pain, and difficulty walking.
Functional impairment: Injuries to the knee make participating in sports and exercise difficult. But a traumatic knee injury can also affect performing day to day activities. For example, knee injuries can make going up and down stairs impossible.
It can take a long time to heal from a traumatic knee injury. In some instances, pain and long-term consequences can occur. Lost wages and treatment costs can lead to additional problems. Quality of life can also be negatively affected.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic knee injury due to the fault or negligence of someone else, we may be able to help. Please call our office at 312-698-3694 for a free consultation with one of our top-rated attorneys.