Did you know that, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 17,250 car crashes occur every day in the United States? It’s true, and most of these accidents cause a lot more than damage to the cars involved. From whiplash to fractures, internal injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), low back disc damage, and more, car accidents are to blame for injuries of many types.
Two parts of the human body that are injured frequently during a car accident are the knees and shoulders, which often take the brunt of the accident’s force. If you or someone you love was recently in a car accident and is suffering from lingering, nagging, or intense pain in their shoulders or knees, read on. Below is valuable, actionable information about the most common type of knee injury auto accident and the most common type of shoulder injury car accident.
The Most Common Types of Shoulder Injury Car Accident
Shoulders are the most commonly injured joints in the human body. That’s not good news because the shoulder is a complex joint with an incredible range of motion. This gives the shoulder the ability to do fantastic things but also leaves it prone to injury.
Torn Rotator Cuff
Depending on the speed and direction of the car accident, a torn rotator cuff could be the result. This “cuff” is a grouping of four different muscles attaching the humerus to the shoulder blade. More specifically, the rotator cuff muscles lift the arm and allow you to rotate it. Symptoms that someone is suffering a torn rotator cuff include:
- Pain when moving the shoulder
- Weakness when either raising or rotating the arm.
- Pain and throbbing when lying on the side of the injured shoulder
- A popping or cracking noise when moving the arm and shoulder
Fracture of the Clavicle or Humerus
The clavicle, aka collarbone, and the humerus can both be fractured in a severe accident. Fracturing the former will severely limit a person’s ability to move their shoulder. Fracturing the latter can cause severe pain and limited range of motion (ROM).
Dislocation of the Shoulder Joint
Another common shoulder injury after an auto accident is dislocation. Not only can a shoulder dislocation cause severe pain, but it can also, without proper treatment, lead to chronic pain conditions due to lasting muscle damage.
Damage to the Soft Tissue of the Shoulder
The most common type of injury after a car accident is soft tissue injury to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Soft tissue injuries can also, on occasion, include the cartilage that surrounds the shoulder joint. In fact, a SLAP tear is when the ring of cartilage around the shoulder, or labrum, gets torn.
The Most Common Types of Knee Injury Auto Accident
One of the most complex joints in the human body, the knee, is held together by four different bones as well as ligaments, tendons, and cartilage, all working together. Not only does this amazing joint support your body weight, but it also bends and rotates on its axis (which is pretty amazing).
The meniscus of the knee, made from cartilage, is the shock absorber for the knee joint. During an accident, the force can violently push the knee out of place, tearing the meniscus. Clicking and severe pain are typically the results.
Three different ligaments hold the knee together, including the medial, posterior, and anterior cruciate ligament. The most commonly injured is the posterior cruciate ligament or PCL. Doctors often refer to this as “dashboard knee” since the ligament gets torn by the dashboard during an accident. Surgery is often needed to restore full mobility to a torn PCL.
The patella (aka kneecap) can, during a violent car accident, be dislocated. It can also be fractured, which would typically cause intense pain and an inability to flex or extend the leg.
Tendon ruptures can be extremely painful. During an auto accident, they happen when the patella is violently shoved into either the quadriceps or patellar tendon. Most ruptures of either tendon need to repaired with surgery.
Shoulder and knee injuries can lead to severe and chronic pain if not treated correctly (and swiftly) after an automobile accident. Both of these joints are highly complex, with many moving parts. Every part must be healthy for either joint to work perfectly.
If you believe you or someone you love injured their shoulder or knee during an automobile accident, please leave your name and number below, and a patient advocate from Stridewell will get back to you within 24 hours.read article