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Dr. Darris GentryMar 14, 2016 3:18:00 PM7 min read

Knee Injuries After A Car Accident

Being involved in a Car Accident may cause the victim's knees to receive direct, blunt impact from the car door, steering wheel, or another solid object.

Knee injuries are particularly common and can have lasting impacts on a person's mobility and quality of life.

If you've been injured in a car accident, you need to contact a Car Accident Chiropractor.

Understanding the types of injuries that can occur during motor vehicle accidents is crucial for timely diagnosis and effective treatment.

Table of Contents 

Common Types of Knee Injuries in a Car Accident

1. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries

The ACL is a key ligament that helps stabilize the knee joint. In an auto accident, the sudden impact and forceful movements that occur can lead to a tear or sprain in the ACL.

This type of injury is typically characterized by:

  • A loud popping sound at the moment of injury
  • Severe pain and inability to continue activity
  • Swelling within a few hours
  • Loss of range of motion
  • A feeling of instability in the knee

ACL injuries often require surgical intervention followed by extensive physical therapy to regain full function.

2. Meniscus Tears

The meniscus is a piece of cartilage that acts as a cushion between the thigh bone and shin bone.

Sudden twisting motions or direct impact during a motor vehicle collision can cause cartilage tears in the meniscus.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain in the knee, particularly when twisting or rotating it
  • Swelling and stiffness
  • Difficulty straightening the knee fully
  • A sensation of the knee being locked or unable to move properly

A torn meniscus might be managed conservatively with rest, ice, and physical therapy, but severe cases could necessitate surgical repair.

3. Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Injuries

The PCL is less commonly injured compared to the ACL, but it can still be damaged in high-impact collisions.

A PCL injury often results from a direct blow to the front of the knee while it is bent, which can happen in a motor vehicle collision when the knee sustains direct trauma such as hitting the dashboard.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain and swelling in the knee
  • Difficulty walking or bearing weight on the knee
  • A feeling of instability or wobbliness

Medical care for PCL injuries ranges from physical therapy to, in severe cases, surgical reconstruction.

Common Knee Injuries after a Car Accident

4. Patellar (Kneecap) Injuries

The kneecap, or patella, can suffer fractures or dislocations in a vehicle accident, especially if the knee strikes the dashboard.

Patellar tendon injuries are quite painful and are accompanied by:

  • Intense pain and swelling
  • Inability to straighten the knee or walk
  • Visible deformity if the kneecap is dislocated

Depending on the severity, medical treatment can involve immobilization, physical therapy, or surgery to repair the fractured or dislocated patella.

5. Collateral Ligament Injuries

The collateral ligaments, which include the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL), provide stability to the sides of the knee.

These ligaments can be injured in a car accident due to direct impact or extreme sideward force.

Some common symptoms include:

  • Pain along the inner or outer side of the knee
  • Swelling and tenderness
  • Instability or a feeling of the knee giving way

These injuries often heal with conservative treatments like rest, bracing, and physical therapy, though severe cases might require surgical intervention.

6. Knee Contusions

A contusion is essentially a bruise caused by direct trauma, which can damage the underlying muscle and tissues without fracturing the bone.

These types of knee injury symptoms may include: 

  • Discoloration and swelling
  • Tenderness or pain in the affected area
  • Stiffness and limited range of motion

Most contusions heal with rest, ice, compression, and elevation, but severe cases might require medical attention to rule out more serious damage.

How Can a Chiropractor Help with a Knee Injury?

While many people associate chiropractors primarily with back and neck issues, chiropractic care can also play a significant role in treating knee damage. 

Chiropractors offer a holistic approach to healing that addresses not only the symptoms but also the underlying causes of pain and dysfunction.

Here’s how a chiropractor can help with a knee injury.

1. Accurate Diagnosis

The first step in effective treatment is an accurate diagnosis.

Chiropractors are trained to perform comprehensive evaluations, including taking a detailed medical history, conducting physical examinations, and using imaging tests such as X-rays or MRI scans to rule out broken bones and determine the severity of the injury. 

This thorough assessment helps identify the specific nature of a wide range of knee injuries, whether it’s severe tears, a meniscus injury, problems with knee ligaments, patellar misalignment, knee dislocation, or another issue.

2. Manual Adjustments

One of the primary techniques used by chiropractors is manual adjustment. For knee injuries, adjustments can help to:

  • Realign the knee joint: Proper alignment can reduce pain, improve function, and prevent further injury.
  • Improve mobility: Adjustments can help restore the normal range of motion to the knee joint, which is often restricted following an injury.
  • Reduce inflammation: By correcting misalignments and ensuring proper joint function, inflammation and associated acute pain can be minimized.

Manual Adjustments for Knee Injuries

3. Soft Tissue Therapy

Chiropractors are experts at treating soft tissue injuries and often use soft tissue therapies to complement joint adjustments.

Techniques such as myofascial release, trigger point therapy, and massage can help to:

  • Relieve muscle tension: Reducing tension in the muscles surrounding the knee can alleviate pain and improve function.
  • Enhance circulation: Better blood flow promotes healing by delivering oxygen and nutrients to the injured area.
  • Break down scar tissue: Soft tissue therapy can help break down adhesions and scar tissue that may be causing limited movement and pain. 

4. Rehabilitation Exercises

Rehabilitation exercises are a crucial component of chiropractic care for knee injuries.

Chiropractors design personalized exercise programs to:

  • Strengthen supporting muscles: Strong muscles around the knee joint provide better support and stability, reducing the risk of further injury.
  • Improve flexibility: Stretching exercises help maintain or improve flexibility in the knee joint and surrounding tissues.
  • Enhance balance and coordination: Exercises that focus on balance and coordination can prevent falls and other injuries during recovery.

5. Nutritional and Lifestyle Advice

Healing from a knee injury is not just about physical therapy. Chiropractors often provide nutritional and lifestyle advice to support overall health and accelerate recovery.

This can include:

  • Anti-inflammatory diet: Recommendations for foods and supplements that can reduce inflammation and support healing.
  • Weight management: Maintaining a healthy weight reduces stress on the injured knee. 
  • Posture and gait training: Proper posture and walking techniques can alleviate knee pain and prevent future injuries.

6. Holistic Approach to Pain Management

Chiropractors focus on natural, non-invasive methods to manage pain.

This can include:

  • Cold and Heat Therapy: Alternating cold and heat can reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Electrical Stimulation: Techniques like TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) can provide pain relief.

Chiropractors provide professional care that offers a multifaceted approach to treating knee injuries that goes beyond simply addressing symptoms.

Chiropractors can help patients recover more quickly and effectively from knee injuries by combining manual adjustments, soft tissue therapy, personalized exercise programs, and holistic health advice.

If you’re dealing with knee pain or a knee injury, consider consulting a chiropractor to explore these comprehensive treatment options and start your journey to recovery. 

Contact Arrowhead Clinic for a Free Consultation

Our knees are crucial for mobility and comfort during our day-to-day activities. That being said, even the most minor knee injuries may cause extreme pain or discomfort, which is why you should not hesitate to have your injuries checked out as soon as possible.

Arrowhead Clinic has an expert team of Chiropractors who have been specializing in treating victims of Car Accidents who are suffering from Knee Pain for over 40 years.

If you or a loved one has suffered a Knee Injury due to a Car Accident, let our Chiropractic Doctors help you on your road to recovery.

Free Injury Consultation

Next Blog: 14 Unbelievable Car Accident Facts you Didn't Know About


Dr. Darris Gentry

Dr. Darris Gentry is Arrowhead Clinic’s Duluth Chiropractor. He specializes in treating accident victims as well as people suffering from chronic pain conditions. With the use of manual and hands-on spinal adjustments, he is able to help restore proper function and mobility to patients’ bodies. Dr. Gentry has been a practicing chiropractor for over 20 years. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga and Life University, one of the country's top chiropractic schools. He enjoys treating patients who have back pain, neck pain, sciatica pain, and spinal trauma from all sorts of accidents. His main goal is to help his patients physically improve and reduce and manage their pain. Dr. Gentry is a motivated individual who enjoys helping others reach their goals. Healthcare, in all aspects, remains his main interest. He loves being a chiropractor and having the ability to help others. One of Dr. Gentry’s recent patients stated, “The staff is so welcoming, and Dr. Darris Gentry is amazing. He helped me throughout my treatment.” Dr. Gentry provides free, same-day consultations to all potential patients. He is available Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. During the consultation, Dr. Gentry will ask questions regarding medical history and a person’s current physical condition, and the type of symptoms they are experiencing. He takes the time to thoroughly examine and diagnose each patient’s condition before coming up with an individualized treatment plan that is tailored to their particular recovery needs.