The knee is one of the most complex joints in the human body — and it’s also very often the location of an injury. Our knees are responsible for bearing a great deal of our weight while having a fairly small range of motion (much smaller than the shoulder joint, for example). If you’ve suffered injuries from an accident, you might be facing a knee injury. Here are just a few of the more common types of knee injuries that are often tied to personal injury claims:
- Tendon Tears and Ruptures
As a chiropractor can explain, there are two primary tendons around the knee that can be injured: the patellar tendon, which connects to the upper tibia, and the quadriceps tendon, which attaches to the quadriceps muscle. These two tendons can tear very easily and surgery may be necessary.
When there is a fracture in the knee, it most often affects the kneecap or patella. Other knee-related fractures may involve the tibia, fibula, and femur bones. Motor vehicle accidents and falls are two common causes of knee fractures; both of these accidents can put substantial stress on the front of the knee.
Fractures of the patella, which are much more common, are grouped into four categories: stable, displaced, comminuted, and open.
- Stable fractures The bone sections on either side of the fracture are not displaced. This type of patellar fracture usually heals with rest and immobilization.
- Displaced fractures The bone sections are no longer in alignment, and there may be a considerable gap between the fractured pieces. These injuries usually require surgery to repair and there may be associated tendon and/or ligament damage.
- Comminuted fractures These occur when the patella is broken into 3 or more pieces. These fractures are unstable and always requires surgery.
- Open fractures Also known as compound fractures, they involve exposure of the bone fragments through breaks in the skin. Open fractures will always require surgery and often lead to instability of the knee well after healing is complete.
- Meniscal Injuries
In between the femur and tibia bones are wedge-shaped bands of tissue called meniscus cartilage. These fibrous tissues are often called “shock absorbers” and they play a crucial role in allowing the knee joint to move freely. A tear in the meniscus can be either partial or complete; partial tears may heal with splinting, but complete tears may require surgery.
- Collateral Ligament Injuries
The collateral ligaments lie on either side of the knee, with the medial collaterals lying along the inside of the joint and the lateral collaterals along the outside of the joint. These injuries are usually caused by direct contact force applied to the lateral (outside) aspect of the knee during athletics, but are also common in motor vehicle/pedestrian accidents. In the latter type of trauma, there are usually fractures associated with the ligament injuries and recovery can take several months.
- Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Injuries
The posterior cruciate (“cross-shaped”) ligament lies at the back of the knee and helps connect the tibia and femur. It also is most commonly injured in motor vehicle accidents or falls that involve a twisting movement. PCL injuries are usually incomplete tears that respond well to rest and immobilization in a cast or splint.
If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be entitled to compensation. Knee injuries can range from mild to severe — but even small knee injuries can require substantial medical treatment. Financial compensation could help you pay for the diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing medical care that you may need. For more information, contact a personal injury lawyer today.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Pain & Arthritis Relief Center for their insight into knee injuries common to personal injury claims.