After the shoulder, the knee is the most complex joint in the human body. However, as any orthopedic surgeon or athletic trainer may confirm, the knee is injured much more often than the shoulder. The reasons behind this observation are that the knee is a weight-bearing joint, and the knee has less range of motion than the shoulder. In this post , we’ll take a look at the five most common type of knee injuries that are found in personal injury claims.
- Meniscal Injuries
The meniscus cartilage are wedge-shaped bands of fibrous tissue that lie between the femur and the tibia. They are often referred to as the “shock absorbers of the legs.” Tears on the menisci can be either complete or partial. The partial tears generally respond more readily to splinting and conservative management, while complete tears will require surgical repair in order to limit damage to the joint space.
The most common fracture of the knee involves the patella, or kneecap, followed by the upper portions of the tibia and fibula, and then the lower femur. Fractures are most commonly the result of motor vehicle accidents and falls in which the point of impact with the ground is 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Tendon Tears / Ruptures
Two tendons that attach to the patella are the patellar tendon, which joins the lower patella to the upper tibia, and the quadriceps tendon, which attaches the quadriceps muscle to the upper patella. These tendons may either partially tear, or rupture in response to trauma and may require surgical repair.
If you think your knee injury is the result of someone else’s negligence, you may have a right to compensation. Connect with a Couer d’Alene ID personal injury lawyer today, to discuss your potential case.