Why and How the Shoulder and Knee can be Affected in a Car Accident

Why and How the Shoulder and Knee can be Affected in a Car Accident

Why and How the Shoulder and Knee can be Affected in a Car Accident

Automobile accidents, even at slower rates of speed, subject the human body to an immense amount of physical force. Depending on their position at the time and the direction of the accident, a person’s shoulders or knees can both be moderate to severely injured.

Even worse is that both the shoulder and knee are highly complex joints with many different parts. The bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons that hold these intricate joints together can all be damaged during a car accident. Read on to find out why and how a shoulder injury from an auto accident and a knee injury car accident can affect your life and recovery.

How Shoulder Injury from Auto Accident Affects the Shoulder Joint

As we mentioned above, the shoulder is a complex joint with many moving parts. Three of those parts are some of the biggest and most important bones in the body, including:

  • The clavicle (aka collar bone).
  • The scapula (aka shoulder blade).
  • The humerus or upper arm bone.

All three of these essential bones are vulnerable during a car, motorcycle, or other accident. Much of the damage comes from the forces placed on them by the seat belt during an accident or from blunt force trauma. Unfortunately, these severe and rapid forces can also cause injuries to other parts of the shoulder joint, including:

  • The acromioclavicular joint. This is where the collarbone and shoulder blade come together.
  • The rotator cuff, a group of several muscles and tendons that hold the shoulder joint in place.
  • The joint capsule of the shoulder, including the ligaments.
  • The glenohumeral joint, which is where the humerus attaches to the shoulder blade.

Signs and Symptoms of a Shoulder Injury after an Accident

There are several signs and symptoms that your shoulder has been injured during a car accident. Most are rather apparent due to the pain and discomfort they cause, including:

  • Moderate to intense pain when trying to lift, rotate or turn your shoulder or arm.
  • A lack of strength when trying to perform everyday activities like holding a glass or lifting an object.
  • A popping noise or grinding sensation when moving the shoulder or arm.
  • Swelling and discoloration (“black and blue”) around the shoulder joint.

How Knee Injury Car Accident Affects the Knee Joint

The knee joint is even more complex than the shoulder joint and is responsible for supporting the entire upper body. It includes four bones, the tibia, fibula, femur, and patella, and several large muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Just as with the shoulder joint, the intense forces that occur during different accidents can damage the knee and all of its working parts. Some of the different kinds of accidents that can cause a knee injury include:

  • Side-impact, Rear-end, and Rollover accidents.
  • Damages from the knee striking the car’s dashboard.
  • Direct blows to the knee from the windshield or side window.
  • Accidents that cause twisting or hyperextension of the knee joint.

Signs and Symptoms of a Knee Injury after an Accident

If one or both of your knees have been injured during an auto accident, there are several signs and symptoms that may occur. Some of the worst include:

  • The inability to put weight on the knee (and thus incapacity to walk).
  • Not being able to straighten your leg completely.
  • Severe pain when putting weight on your knee(s).
  • Instability when trying to stand or walk.
  • Swelling around the knee joint. (This typically indicates an injury to one of the knee’s ligaments.)
  • Your knee “locks” in place.

What To Do if you Believe Your Knee or Shoulder were Injured During Car Accident

If you believe you’ve suffered a shoulder injury from an auto accident or a knee injury car accident, you should have either one (or both, if necessary) thoroughly evaluated by a knee or shoulder specialist.

Here’s the thing; both the shoulder and knee, as we mentioned earlier, are highly complex joints. They also both provide you with the ability to do many important things, like walking, picking items up, hugging your children, and running, to name just a few.

In most cases, both joints will fully recover after a car accident, but only if they’re treated promptly. If you ignore the pain and don’t get the medical treatment or therapy you need, however, both joints could suffer severe and permanent damage.

To find out more and obtain a complete evaluation of your knees and shoulders after an accident, please leave your name and contact information in the space provided. A patient advocate from Stridewell Neck and Spine Clinic will contact you to set up your appointment within 24 hours.

Read next: What Are the Most Common Knee Injuries and Shoulder Injuries After a Car Accident?

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