Dashboard knee injuries are one of the most common injuries people suffer when they are involved in a car accident. Whether as the driver or as a passenger and no matter which direction the impact comes from, those sitting in the front seat often experience at least some contact between their knees and the dashboard of the car. Injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to severe trauma requiring complex surgery and long-term treatment.
Symptoms that indicate you should seek medical attention for a car accident knee injury include:
- Pain that lasts more than a few days
- Unusual swelling
- Popping sounds when you bend your knee or walk
- Feeling like your knee is locking
- Walking with a limp
- Feeling like your knee is too weak to support your weight
Common Dashboard Knee Injuries Caused By Car Accidents
The knee is the largest joint in the body and therefore susceptible to many different types of injuries. If your knee is injured in an auto accident, you may experience a fracture, a dislocation, a torn ligament, a torn tendon, or any combination of all of these. Treatment for any of them will depend on the severity of the injury. A doctor may recommend rest, physical therapy, surgery, or all three.
There are two menisci in each knee. They are pieces of cartilage that act as a cushion between the tibia (shin bone) and the femur (thigh bone). The meniscus can tear during an accident if the knee is twisted, hyper-extended, or lacerated. This type of knee injury can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, or the inability to fully extend your knee. Treatment could require a knee brace or surgery in more severe cases.
When the knee suffers a direct blow from the dashboard, car accidents can cause fractures in the patella (knee cap) or at the end of the tibia or femur. This type of injury is most common in head-on or side-impact collisions. A simple fracture will normally be treated with a cast and require crutches, followed by some physical therapy.
It is also possible to suffer what is called a displaced fracture. With this type of knee injury, muscles pull the fractured pieces of the bone apart and surgery is often required to bring the pieces back together so they can heal properly. It also raises the chances that you will develop arthritis in the joint.
The anterior cruciate ligament—commonly known as the ACL—is something that most people have heard mentioned in the context of sports injuries. The ACL is the ligament that connects the tibia and femur. An ACL tear occurs when the ligament tears away from the knee joint. It can be extremely painful and often requires surgery to correct.
The PCL—posterior cruciate ligament—has the same basic function as the ACL but is located at the back of the knee. A partial tear may be treatable with physical therapy, but this type of injury will often require surgery to correct. Both ACL and PCL injuries also raise your chances for developing arthritis.
The medial collateral ligament connects the thigh bone to the fibula (the thin bone in the lower leg behind your shin bone). The fibula plays a significant part in stabilizing the ankle and muscles in the lower leg. A torn or sprained MCL can result in mild to severe pain, stiffness, and swelling. Severe tears will require surgery.
Dislocated Knee Injury
A dislocation occurs when the knee cap moves out of place or the tibia and femur become misaligned, or both. Of course, in a situation where your legs hit the dashboard during a car crash, there’s a very good chance that something can be forced out of alignment.
Dislocations in the knee can be particularly complex injuries, often involving torn ligaments or cartilage as well as the dislocation itself. It’s also possible that the misaligned bones can cause more severe problems such as an arterial blockage.
Speak With An Experienced Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Philadelphia or anywhere else in Pennsylvania, the law firm of Solnick & Associates can help. If your injuries are the result of the carelessness or negligence of someone else, you may be entitled to compensation to help you deal with things like medical bills, wages lost from work, and pain and suffering.
Our team has the experience and expertise to stand up for you, fight against the insurance companies, and protect your rights. A consultation is free and confidential. Call us today at (877) 415-6495 or contact us online anytime to schedule an appointment. We’ll be happy to go over the details of your personal injury claim and discuss exactly what we can do to help you.