9 Common Knee Injuries in Car Accidents - Symptom/Treatment (2023)


If you've been in a car accident, your kneesinjuries are common. You may have minor injuries such as bruises, cuts and scrapes. Or, you could suffer more serious knee injuries that require immediate medical attention, including a dislocated knee or severe ligament damage.

The knee joint is an important part of the body that connects various bones in the leg. Is frequently injured by a car accident. The sudden external force of a car accident can cause a variety of potentially serious injuries.

The consequences of a knee injury vary greatly depending on the age and physical condition of the victim and the severity of the injury. Some injuries heal well over time after initial medical treatment. However, others can lead to chronic pain and prevent the victim from returning to the same quality of life.

9 Common Knee Injuries in Car Accidents - Symptom/Treatment (1)


  • Common knee injuries from car accidents
    • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
    • Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)
    • Medial collateral ligament (MCL)
    • kneecap fracture
    • tibial plateau fracture
    • knieluxation
    • muscle injuries
    • cartilage injuries
  • Consequences of poorly treated knee injuries
  • Symptoms of a knee injury
  • Personal injury lawyers are ready to help after a car accident


(Video) How to Tell if Knee Pain is Meniscus or Ligament Injury

Common knee injuries from car accidents

Car accidents often causeacute knee injury– even if the accident occurs at low speed. Let's take a closer look at the range of knee injuries that most commonly occur in car accident victims.

  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
  • Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)
  • Medial collateral ligament (MCL)
  • kneecap fracture
  • tibial plateau fracture
  • knieluxation
  • muscle injuries
  • cartilage injuries

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)

The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of the four major ligaments in the knee. It is designed to prevent the upper and lower leg from colliding and plays an important role in the rotational stability of the knee.

A cruciate ligament injury is the most common knee injury that occurs in a car accident. It is the result of sudden and extreme hyperextension of the knee and leg during the accident.

(Video) Is your knee pain coming from an ACL tear or Meniscus injury? How to tell.

Ligament injuries are serious and require treatment. For a small tear, doctors may recommend anti-inflammatory medications, a knee brace, and physical therapy to restore function.

If profuse tears are present, surgery is required. Rehabilitation after ACL surgery takes four to six months.

9 Common Knee Injuries in Car Accidents - Symptom/Treatment (2)

Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)

The Posterior Cruciate Ligament, or PCL, is located at the back of the knee. This prevents the tibia (shin bone) from moving too far back. It's stronger than the ACL and doesn't get injured as often.

A cruciate ligament PCL injury most commonly occurs when a bent knee hits the dashboard in a car accident.

Depending on the severity of the sprain, you will be advised to rest your knee for six to eight weeks. It is advisable to immobilize the knee with an orthosis. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy.

A complete tear of the cruciate ligament may require immediate surgery, especially if other knee injuries are present. Full recovery takes six to twelve months. It may take months before it is possible to return to an office job.

Medial collateral ligament (MCL)

The medial collateral ligament is another connection between the thigh bone (femur) and tibia. This is another common injury when the knee comes into contact with the dashboard or other solid object. In most cases, MCL tears do not require surgery.

An MCL collateral ligament injury may be minor if there is only a small tear. However, as with other torn ligaments, you are advised to rest and elevate your knee. Recovery may only take a few weeks, but it can take up to a few months.

kneecap fracture

Also known as kneecap fracture or kneecap fracture, it is a fracture of the kneecap bone. This is the movable bone at the front of the knee that protects the joint. If the kneecap has not dislocated, you only need to wear a cast for a couple of weeks. However, when pieces of bone are out of place, surgery is required. The fractured patella should heal within six to eight weeks. However, pain and swelling can persist for several months.

tibial plateau fracture

The shin is at the bottom of the knee. The tibial plateau is the part of the knee joint that supports your weight during movement. This type of injury is common when your leg is pinched or crushed in the car after an accident. The injury involves damage to the muscles, ligaments, cartilage and tendons in the knee.

If the x-rays or MRIs show that the fracture is small and has no alignment issues, then you probably won't have surgery to repair the injury. However, if the bones in the knee are misaligned, sticking out of the skin, or unstable, surgery is the only way to fix them.

If this fracture does not heal properly, there is a high risk of developing arthritis.

9 Common Knee Injuries in Car Accidents - Symptom/Treatment (3)


This is an extremely painful and serious knee injury that requires immediate medical attention. The doctor must first put the knee back in position. Surgery may be needed if the arteries are damaged.

The entire knee joint is immobilized to prevent it from bending as it heals. Even after the knee heals, it won't be exactly the same as before. He is at greater risk of developing arthritis and no longer absorbs stress as he did before the injury.

(Video) Post-whiplash symptoms can worsen over time

muscle injuries

The sudden effects of car accidents can also lead to minor knee injuries. Muscle injuries are among the most common. This injury occurs when trauma strains the tendons that connect the knee muscles to the bones or strains the muscles themselves. As a result, pain, muscle spasms, bruising, swelling, and limited range of motion can occur.

You can treat minor injuries at home with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), along with anti-inflammatory medications. Heavier loads like B. a ruptured tendon, may require surgery and physical therapy.

cartilage injuries

Your knee contains two pieces of cartilage known as the medial meniscus and the lateral meniscus. They provide padding between the femur and tibia to prevent chafing and joint damage.

A meniscus injury usually occurs when the knee is forcibly rotated or twisted. When you have a meniscus tear, you may experience pain, swelling, stiffness, and difficulty moving. Many cartilage tears can be treated with RICE, although more severe tears may require surgical repair.

Consequences of poorly treated knee injuries

If you suffer a knee injury that is not treated or treated properly, you could set yourself up for a lifetime of pain and reduced function. It can take weeks to months to fully recover. As a result, you will lose income and may even lose the ability to do the same job you did before the accident.

An improperly treated knee injury affects more than just your ability to work. They are more likely to struggle with chronic pain. You will find it easier to get hurt again if you fall. Nerve or artery damage, additional instability of the knee joint, and arthritis may occur.

Symptoms of a knee injury

Symptoms of a knee injury vary depending on the type and severity of the knee injury.car accident. You're more likely to sustain knee injuries in a car accident if the impact puts your body in an awkward position or if your knee hits the dashboard.

Symptoms of a knee injury include:

  • bruises
  • swelling
  • Knee pain (severe pain associated with more serious injuries)
  • Inability to put weight on the affected knee

The most serious knee injuries are usually accompanied by immediate pain. However, soft tissue injuries may not appear immediately. This is one of the reasons why it's so important to see a doctor, even if you're feeling fine after a car accident.

Personal injury lawyers are ready to help after a car accident

If you suspect you have injured your knee in a car accident, contact ourcar accident lawyerToday. You may be entitled to compensation for lost wages and medical bills. Our law firm offers a free case evaluation and you only pay if we win.



What is the most common knee injury from a car accident? ›

Fractures. A kneecap fracture is a common knee injury from a car accident. The force of impact may cause the knee to slam against the dashboard with enough force to partially or entirely break the kneecap bone, called the patella.

What are 5 symptoms of a knee injury? ›

  • Swelling and stiffness.
  • Redness and warmth to the touch.
  • Weakness or instability.
  • Popping or crunching noises.
  • Inability to fully straighten the knee.
Jan 25, 2023

How do you treat a knee injury from a car accident? ›

Doctors usually use a conservative treatment method called RICE for minor knee injuries. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, (gentle) Compression, and Elevation. If this conservative treatment method fails, a doctor may recommend physical therapy for some weeks or months.

What are the symptoms of a torn ligament in your knee? ›

  • A loud pop or a "popping" sensation in the knee.
  • Severe pain and inability to continue activity.
  • Rapid swelling.
  • Loss of range of motion.
  • A feeling of instability or "giving way" with weight bearing.
Dec 1, 2022

What are 3 common knee injuries? ›

The most common knee injuries include fractures around the knee, dislocation, and sprains and tears of soft tissues, like ligaments. In many cases, injuries involve more than one structure in the knee. Pain and swelling are the most common signs of knee injury.

What is the common cause of a knee injury? ›

Awkward movements, falls and collisions, sudden twists, excessive force or overuse can result in a range of injuries to the knee joint and the structures supporting it. Common knee injuries include ligament, tendon and cartilage tears, and patello-femoral pain syndrome.

What are the symptoms of soft tissue damage in the knee? ›

Symptoms of Soft Tissue Knee Injury
  • Immediate pain along with immediate or delayed swelling.
  • Instability or a feeling that the knee may “give out”
  • Difficulty straightening the knee.
  • Pain in surrounding bony structures.
  • Stiffness.
  • Bruising.

What are the five most common knee problems? ›

Below are the most common types of injuries.
  • Knee Fracture. Your patella, or your knee cap, protects your knee joints from injuries or further damage. ...
  • Knee Dislocation. A knee dislocation occurs when the knee bones come out of place. ...
  • Knee Ligament Injury. ...
  • Meniscus Tear. ...
  • Knee Tendon Tear.
Mar 4, 2021

What are 4 causes of knee pain? ›

The most common causes of knee pain are related to aging, injury or repeated stress on the knee. Common knee problems include sprained or strained ligaments, cartilage tears, tendonitis and arthritis.

How do you treat a knee injury without surgery? ›

Recommended Non-Surgical Treatment Options
  1. Bracing. We may suggest a knee brace to provide external stability to the knee joint. ...
  2. Injections and Infusions. Some medications can be injected directly into the knee to treat your pain. ...
  3. Lifestyle Modifications. ...
  4. Nutraceuticals. ...
  5. Pain Medications. ...
  6. Physical and Occupational Therapy.

Can car accident cause torn meniscus? ›

Any type of excessively forceful rotation or twisting of the knee while it's under stress can result in a torn meniscus. This is why a torn meniscus is a very common injury suffered in car accidents.

Can a knee injury repair itself? ›

No matter the cause, cartilage damage is challenging, because cartilage doesn't have its own blood supply. Therefore, it can't heal itself. Once cartilage is damaged, without treatment the damage stays the same or gets larger over time.

What is the most painful ligament to tear in your knee? ›

The quick answer is that the ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is most likely to be considered the worst ligament in the knee to tear.

Would you be able to walk with a torn ligament in your knee? ›

In most cases, the injured person can still walk with the torn knee ligament. But the movement will be severely limited, not to mention painful. Surgery may be the best route to a pain-free life, with amazing success rates. If someone suspects a damaged ACL or MCL seek immediate medical attention.

Can you walk with knee ligament damage? ›

The short answer is yes. After the pain and swelling subsides and if there is no other injury to your knee, you may be able to walk in straight lines, go up and down stairs and even potentially jog in a straight line. The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is an important ligament that provides stability to the knee.

How can I treat a knee injury at home? ›

Self-care measures for an injured knee include:
  1. Rest. Take a break from your normal activities to reduce repetitive strain on your knee, give the injury time to heal and help prevent further damage. ...
  2. Ice. Ice reduces both pain and inflammation. ...
  3. Heat. ...
  4. Compression. ...
  5. Elevation.

What are simple knee injuries? ›

Some of the most common knee injuries include sprains, ligament tears, fractures, and dislocations. Many knee injuries can be successfully treated with simple measures, such as bracing and rehabilitation exercises. Other injuries may require surgery to correct.

What are the two most commonly injured ligaments of the knee? ›

The medial collateral ligament is injured more often than the lateral collateral ligament. Stretch and tear injuries to the collateral ligaments are usually caused by a blow to the outer side of the knee, such as when playing hockey or football.

What is the most common knee problem? ›

Tendonitis of the patellar tendon is called jumper's knee. This often occurs with sports such as basketball, where the force of hitting the ground after a jump strains the tendon. Learn more about tendonitis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis that affects the knee.

How do doctors check for soft tissue damage? ›

MRI can show soft tissues, which are not usually visible on x-rays. MRI thus helps detect injury to tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and muscle. CT or MRI may be done to check for subtle fractures, which may accompany a soft-tissue injury.

How painful can soft tissue damage be? ›

When soft tissue is damaged, there is usually immediate pain along with immediate or delayed swelling (excessive swelling can slow the healing process – see treatment below). Stiffness is also very common as a result of the trauma and swelling.

Can an xray show soft tissue damage in a knee? ›

Can an X-ray show torn ligaments in the knee? X-rays don't clearly and accurately show your soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons and meniscus. To diagnose a tear in your ligaments, tendons or meniscus, your healthcare provider will order a computed tomography (CT) scan or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.

What are the red flags for knee pain? ›

Red flags in physical examination

For those who are symptomatic can present with discoloration, pain, warmth, swelling, and tenderness of the affected extremity (11). Homan's sign also has been widely used since the 1940s as an indicator for the presence of DVT in an extremity (12).

What kind of knee pain is serious? ›

Make an appointment with your doctor if your knee pain was caused by a particularly forceful impact or if it's accompanied by: Significant swelling. Redness. Tenderness and warmth around the joint.

What is the best remedy for pain in the knee? ›

Do use "RICE." Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) is good for knee pain caused by a minor injury or an arthritis flare. Give your knee some rest, apply ice to reduce swelling, wear a compressive bandage, and keep your knee elevated.

Can sitting cause knee pain? ›

Sitting for long periods of time

When you're inactive for an extended period, you may experience knee pain. Sitting for a certain length of time can cause your muscles and tendons to stiffen, and this can cause discomfort. Many people find themselves sitting for a long time at: work.

How do I know if I tore my meniscus? ›

Swelling or stiffness. Pain, especially when twisting or rotating your knee. Difficulty straightening your knee fully. Feeling as though your knee is locked in place when you try to move it.

Is there anything better than knee replacement? ›

Regenerative Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell knee therapy is becoming a popular alternative to knee replacement surgery. Through a method known as autologous transplantation, the cells are extracted from the patient's bone marrow or fatty tissue, processed, and immediately injected into the damaged knee.

How long does a knee injury take to heal without surgery? ›

A minor knee sprain may take up to 6 weeks to heal, while a severe sprain may take months. Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems.

What is the newest treatment for knee pain? ›

Cooled radiofrequency treatment seeks to deactivate the nerves that transmit pain signals to the brain. A radiofrequency generator transmits a small current of energy through an insulated electrode or probe inserted into the target area.

What are three signs symptoms of a meniscus tear? ›

Symptoms and signs of a meniscus tear:
  • A popping sensation when the injury occurs.
  • Swelling or stiffness.
  • Pain, especially when twisting or rotating the knee.
  • Difficulty fully straightening the knee.
  • "Locked" feeling when trying to move the knee.

Can you walk with meniscus damage? ›

Pain. A torn meniscus usually produces well-localized pain in the knee. The pain often is worse during twisting or squatting motions. Unless the torn meniscus has locked the knee, many people with a torn meniscus can walk, stand, sit, and sleep without pain.

What is the average meniscus settlement? ›

The average settlement value for a torn meniscus in workers compensation claims is around $15,000 to $90,000. While some meniscus tears heal completely within one year, others result in lifelong pain and complications.

Is walking good for knee injury recovery? ›

Walking builds your muscles so they can take the pressure off your joints and handle more of the weight themselves. That means less pain for your knees.

How long should you let a knee injury heal? ›

How Long Does a Knee Injury Take to Heal? For knee sprains or strains, the healing time is typically 2 to 4 weeks. For major injuries as a result of trauma, it can take from 4 up to 12 months. Of course, this healing time would be dependent on the treatment being administered and the lifestyle of the patient.

What will an orthopedic doctor do for knee pain? ›

Although orthopedic surgeons do perform surgery on the musculoskeletal system when needed, they will first try to administer nonsurgical treatments for your knee pain if appropriate, such as pain-relief injections or physical therapy.

Can you still bend your knee with a torn ligament? ›

Grade 3: A grade 3 injury is a complete tear or rupture of the knee ligament. Grade 3 injuries often involve more than one knee ligament. With this level of injury, you will experience severe bruising, swelling and pain. You won't be able to put weight on the leg or bend the knee.

What happens if a torn ligament in knee goes untreated? ›

If left untreated, a small ACL tear will increase in size, causing more pain and increasing the laxity in the knee. Without a properly functioning ACL, the other structures of the knee experience greater strain, which causes further injuries to tissues in the knee.

How do you test for knee ligament injury? ›

Knee ligament tests involve a healthcare provider manually putting pressure on the four major ligaments of the knee to help determine if knee pain could be due to sprain or tear. Such tests include the anterior drawer test, the posterior drawer test, the valgus stress test, and the varus stress test.

What does it mean when the back of your leg hurts behind the knee? ›

Most common soft tissue injuries that cause posterior knee pain include sprains, ligament injuries (ACL, MCL, PCL, etc.), hamstring injury, patellar tendonitis, calf strain and meniscal tear. Longstanding arthritis (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis) is also linked to knee pain.

What are the signs and symptoms of a torn ligament in your knee? ›

  • A loud pop or a "popping" sensation in the knee.
  • Severe pain and inability to continue activity.
  • Rapid swelling.
  • Loss of range of motion.
  • A feeling of instability or "giving way" with weight bearing.
Dec 1, 2022

Will a knee brace help with ligament damage? ›

Knee braces are commonly used in the treatment of knee ligament injuries; they offer pain relief, joint protection, support and can aid the rehabilitation process. There are many different types of knee braces designed to offer different levels of support.

Should I wear a knee brace all the time? ›

If your orthopedist recommends it, you can wear your brace all day. However, improper use of a knee brace can worsen your pain or cause further damage to the knee. If you are using a brace that immobilizes your knee, the joint can weaken.

What type of knee injuries may result to worst? ›

Kneecap fractures are a common yet serious injury that usually requires immobilization or in some cases surgery to correct. Knee dislocations occur when the knee bones become out of place. This can occur after a major trauma such as a fall, car crash, or high-speed impact.

What is the hardest knee injury to recover from? ›

Torn patellar tendon

It attaches the bottom of the kneecap to the top of the shinbone, and a complete tear separates the tendon from the kneecap. The leg should be able to handle full body weight once again four to six weeks following surgery, but it could take up to six months for a player to return to game action.

Will an MCL tear heal on its own? ›

Can an MCL tear heal on its own? A grade 1 MCL tear (minor tear) can usually heal on its own with rest within one to three weeks. Grade 2 and grade 3 MCL tears, which are more severe, need proper treatment in order to heal, which can include resting, wearing a knee brace and doing physical therapy.

Why does the inside of my knee hurt after a car accident? ›

Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Injury: This injury also results from an impact. It normally accompanies other ligament injuries and limits range of motion. Pain from an MCL tear localizes to the interior of your leg in the knee area, while ACL and PCL injuries create pain in the kneecap area.

What is the second most common knee injury? ›

2. ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) Injury. This common knee injury happens when the ACL is either sprained or torn. It happens most often while playing sports that have sudden starts, stops, and movement changes, such as football or soccer.

How many days does it take to recover from a knee injury? ›

A minor knee sprain may take up to 6 weeks to heal, while a severe sprain may take months. Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems.

What makes a knee injury worse? ›

But high-impact activities can make knee pain worse. Exercise like running, kickboxing, or high intensity interval training (HIIT) can jar your joints and make your knee pain worse. Some stretching exercises, like squats and lunges, can put extra pressure on your knees as well.


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