Car accidents are a frequent occurrence worldwide, and unfortunately, many wrecks cause severe injuries to the drivers involved. Victims of car wrecks often report knee injuries because of the vulnerable position of passengers’ knees in the cabin. During a collision, a passenger’s knees can slam into the steering wheel or dashboard. The treatment and recovery plan for a car accident knee injury varies depending on the severity of the damage. Here are some of the most common forms of knee injuries and the treatment options.
The Common Types of Knee Injuries
Compared to other parts of the leg, the knee joint is more complicated and vulnerable to injuries. It’s a joint that not only supports your body weight but can bend and rotate on its axis. The knee’s complex movement is made possible by four bones, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons working in tandem. If you experience knee pain after a car accident, it can be related to one or more injuries.
The menisci in your knee are cartilage that acts as a cushion or shock absorber to protect the joint. A car wreck can cause the knee to shift abruptly and tear the meniscus. Swelling often occurs after the meniscus tears, and the injury can also cause the joint to lock up or make a clicking sound when extended. Surgery is one of the only effective treatment options for a torn meniscus.
A violent jolt from an accident can also dislocate the patella (kneecap). When the kneecap is dislocated, you may have problems extending and flexing the joint. A physician X-rays the knee to ensure the patella is only dislocated and not fractured. After repositioning the kneecap, a doctor recommends exercises to keep the patella in position for a full recovery.
A patellar tendon or quadriceps tendon can rupture after an accident and cause extreme pain. This can occur after the patella dislocates and shifts towards the quadriceps tendon or patellar tendon. Most tendon ruptures are treated with surgical procedures.
An injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), or posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) can occur after a wreck, but PCL injuries are the most common. The term “dashboard knee” typically refers to a PCL injury. Most patients who want to restore their mobility after a ligament injury elect to have surgical procedures to repair the damage.
A substantial impact from an accident can do more than tear ligaments or tendons. It can damage nerves and arteries and cause discoloration to the knee. Circulation can be compromised with damaged roadways, and immediate medical help is required to reduce discoloration and restore circulation.
Treatments for Knee Injuries
After a thorough physical exam, a doctor orders X-rays and sometimes MRIs to locate minor fractures in the knee joint. For ligament tears, tendon ruptures, fractures, and torn meniscus, surgery is recommended. However, for less severe conditions, a doctor may suggest a cortisone injection or home recovery plan that includes:
- Rest: Bedrest can aid recovery substantially. Restricting your knee’s movement can give it time to heal.
- Elevation: Elevating your injured knee above your heart can help reduce swelling and improve circulation. Fluid buildup in the knee can also dissipate when the knee is elevated.
- Over the Counter Medication: Pain relievers such as Tylenol, Aleve,, and Advil can reduce inflammation and relieve knee pain.
- Compression: A tight wrap or knee brace can help decrease swelling and stabilize the patella after a dislocation.
- Icing: An ice pack placed on the knee for 30 minutes can reduce swelling and numb the pain.
Trust the Professionals
Don’t wait to treat your knee pain, whether you need a cortisone injection knee in Brooklyn, NY, or orthopedic surgery. At Metro Healthcare Partners, we provide orthopedic, pain management, neurology, chiropractic, and physical therapy treatment options for your knee injuries. Schedule an appointment today.