The Law Office of Doug Goyen represents people as a Dallas auto accident attorney. Thousands of auto accident cases have been settled for millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. We provide our clients with strong, experienced, and aggressive representation. If you need a Dallas knee injury accident lawyer, please call us at (972) 599 4100.
Types of Knee Injuries Caused in Auto Accidents
The Law Office of Doug Goyen represents victims of car accidents and other forms of negligence. Our law firm has successfully prosecuted cases for clients who suffered severe knee injuries as a result of the negligence of others.
Our attorneys are available to answer any legal questions you may have about receiving the monetary compensation you deserve if your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence. If you have any further questions, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights.
Many car accident victims sustain knee injuries that include damage to soft tissue, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and the joint. A collision impact can cause a fracture, dislocation, cartilage tear, sprain, or strain due to the blunt force trauma or twisting.
These injuries can occur as a result of a rear-end collision, a side impact accident, or a rollover. When the accident is the fault of the other driver, the victim has the right to seek financial compensation to recover their losses.
→Bone injury/fractures in the knee – including the femur, tibia, and patella.
→Fracture of the femur in the knee. A broken bone is referred to as a fracture. Distal femur fractures are thighbone fractures that occur just above the knee joint. The distal femur is the part of the femur where the bone flares out like an upside-down funnel.
Distal femur fractures are most common in older people whose bones are weak, or in younger people who have high energy injuries, such as those sustained in a car accident. The breaks may extend into the knee joint and shatter the bone into many pieces in both the elderly and the young.
→Fracture of the tibia in the knee. A proximal tibia fracture is a fracture or a break in the shinbone just below the knee. The proximal tibia is the upper part of the bone that widens to form the knee joint.
Soft tissues (skin, muscle, nerves, blood vessels, and ligaments) may be injured in addition to the broken bone at the time of the fracture. The broken bone, as well as any soft-tissue injuries, must be treated concurrently. In many cases, surgery is required to restore the leg’s strength, motion, and stability while also lowering the risk of arthritis.
→Fracture of the patella in the knee. A patellar fracture is a break in the patella, or kneecap, which is the small bone in front of your knee. Because the patella acts as a shield for your knee joint, it is prone to fracture if you fall on it or hit it against the dashboard in a car accident. A patellar fracture is a serious injury that can make straightening your knee or walking difficult, if not impossible.
Wearing a cast or splint until the bone heals can be used to treat some simple patellar fractures. However, in most patellar fractures, the bone fragments move out of place as a result of the injury. Surgery is required for these more complicated fractures in order to restore and stabilize the kneecap and allow for the return of function.
Soft tissue injuries to the knee include the following:
→Articular cartilage injury. Articular cartilage can be perplexing because the body contains three types of cartilage: articular or hyaline cartilage (covers joint surfaces), fibrocartilage (knee meniscus, vertebral disk), and elastic cartilage (outer ear). The structure, elasticity, and strength of these various cartilages distinguish them.
Articular cartilage is a complex tissue that lines the bony surface of joints. Its purpose is to provide a low friction surface that allows the joint to withstand weight bearing through the range of motion required to perform daily activities. Walking, stair climbing and work-related activities are examples of daily activities. Articular cartilage acts as a thin shock absorber.
Injuries to the articular cartilage can occur as a result of trauma such as a car accident. A direct blow or other trauma can injure the articular cartilage. It is sometimes possible for the articular cartilage cells to heal, depending on the extent of the damage and the location of the injury. Because articular cartilage lacks a direct blood supply, it has little or no ability to repair itself.
→Meniscus injury. In each knee, there are two menisci. The medial (inner) and lateral (outer) meniscus are located between the femur (thigh bone) and the shin bones (tibia). The entire meniscus has a blood supply during the first decade of life, but as the menisci mature, the blood supply recedes and is limited to the outer third. The nerve supply to the meniscus follows the blood supply and may provide information to the nervous system about the position of the knee joint or proprioception.
A traumatic meniscus tear is defined by the history of a sudden onset of joint-line pain, which is usually associated with a sufficient knee injury. Vertical tears, such as longitudinal, radial, flap, and most posterolateral root tears, fall into this category. A traumatic tear can be classified as ‘stable’ or ‘unstable’ based on its mobility.
→Tendon injury in the knee including quadriceps and patellar injuries:
→Quadriceps tendon injury. The quadriceps tendon is a powerful tendon that attaches to the top of the patella (knee cap). The quadriceps tendon is formed by the confluence (joining) of the four muscles that extend the knee. The four muscles are as follows: vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, vastus lateralis, and rectus femoris. These are the powerful muscles on the anterior (front) side of the femur (thigh bone). Their primary movement is to extend the knee and leg. All four of these muscles connect to form a strong, thick tendon just above the patella. The quadriceps tendon is essential because it allows the knee to extend. When the quadriceps tendon is injured, the patient is unable to extend their knee.
The quadriceps tendon is most commonly injured as a result of a forced eccentric contraction (contracting while lengthening) against an external force. This can occur during high-energy accidents such as car accidents and sporting activities, as well as low-energy injuries such as falls from a standing position.
→Patellar tendon injury. The quadriceps muscle connects the femur to the kneecap (known as the patella) above the knee via the quadriceps tendon. The patellar tendon connects the patella to the tibia, also known as the shin bone, the larger of the two bones that make up the lower leg, just below the knee. These muscles and tendons work together during movement to allow us to extend the lower leg and straighten the limb. The patellar tendon also holds the patella in place during activity, preventing injury to the joint.
There are numerous patellar tendon tear causes, the majority of which involve a direct, blunt blow to the front of the knee. A significant fall onto the knee, for example, will subject the tendon to tremendous force, potentially resulting in a partial patellar tendon tear or a complete rupture. Car accidents can also cause this type of immediate, direct trauma.
→Types of dislocations in the knee area:
→Femur and tibia dislocation. Knee dislocations are extremely traumatic injuries that can result in limb loss. Knee dislocations are considered one of the most serious knee injuries, despite being one of the rarest, due to the potential neurovascular damage associated with this injury. The true frequency of knee dislocations is unknown due to spontaneous reductions. Unreduced dislocations have a clear deformity, but spontaneously reduced dislocations can cause the examiner to underestimate the severity of the injury, putting the limb at risk. Following a knee dislocation, the patient must undergo a lengthy and difficult rehabilitation program that must focus on a full range of motion and strength in order to achieve functional recovery.
A sudden, extremely violent force, such as a car accident, is commonly responsible for high-velocity dislocations. High-velocity dislocations cause extensive damage to the knee complex’s structures, including disruption of soft tissues such as the joint capsule, popliteal tendon, menisci, and cartilage. They are also more likely to be associated with neurovascular damage.
Forced hyperextension is the most common mechanism of injury for an anterior dislocation. This type of hypertension is common in car accidents.
A direct force on the tibia while the knee is flexed, forcing the tibia posteriorly on the femur, is the most common for posterior knee dislocation. This is primarily caused when the tibia collides with the dashboard.
→Patella dislocation. When the patella (kneecap) that sits over the front of the knee comes out of its groove at the end of the thigh bone (femur), it comes to rest on the outside of the knee joint, this is referred to as a dislocated kneecap. The supporting ligaments and tendons may be stretched or torn as a result of this. When you bend or straighten your leg, the kneecap normally glides smoothly over a groove in the joint; however, if the kneecap is dislocated, you may be unable to bend or straighten your leg. A dislocated kneecap is a common injury that can take up to 6 weeks to recover from. If you have previously dislocated your kneecap, it is far more likely to dislocate again in the future.
Trauma, including a direct blow to the knee, which is common in car accidents—is a common cause of a dislocated kneecap.
→ACL Injury to the knee. ACL tears are severe knee injuries. It is one of the four major ligaments in the knee. It runs diagonally down the middle of the knee, separating the upper and lower legs (keeping the lower leg from sliding out from the femur). It also provides rotational stability to the knee.
ACL tears occur as a result of a sudden extreme twisting or hyper-extending of the leg/knee during an auto accident. The most common knee injury sustained in a car accident is a sprain, strain, or broken ACL.
→PCL Injury to the knee. The posterior cruciate ligament keeps the shinbone from moving too far backward. A dashboard knee injury is a term for a posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injury. The PCL is one of four ligaments that help stabilize your knee. A dashboard knee injury is typically caused by a traumatic or impactful incident, such as when your knee is thrown into the dashboard during a car accident.
The PCL is a thicker, stronger ligament than the ACL, so PCL injuries are less common, but dashboard knee injuries still account for about 20% of all knee ligament injuries.
→Medial Collateral ligament knee injury. The medial aspect of the knee is the most commonly injured part of the knee. The medial collateral ligament, or MCL, is located on the inside of the knee joint and extends from the end of the femur (thigh bone) to the top of the tibia (shin bone). The superficial medial collateral ligament is the largest and strongest of the three major anatomic structures on the medial side of the knee.
The posterior oblique and deep medial collateral ligaments are the other major structures. It is important to note that an MCL injury affects the entire medial knee structure. This ligament can stretch and tear in a car accident, causing pain and limiting your knee’s range of motion.
→Lateral Collateral ligament knee injury. An injury to the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) is an injury to the ligament on the outside of the knee. The ligament can be stretched, partially torn, or completely torn. The lateral collateral ligament (LCL), also known as the fibular collateral ligament, is one of the major stabilizers of the knee joint. Its primary function is to prevent excessive varus and posterior-lateral rotation of the knee.
A lateral collateral ligament (LCL) injury to the knee is most commonly seen after a high-energy blow to the anteromedial knee that combines hyperextension and extreme varus force. The LCL is usually injured as a result of pressure or an injury that pushes the knee joint from the inside, causing stress on the outside of the joint.
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