Your knees are two of the most important joints in your body. They allow you to walk, lift, and change direction. They support your weight and allow you to push yourself off the ground as you move your body.
When you suffer a knee injury, you could lose your ability to work. You might also need help with many of your daily activities, from showering to driving.
Below, you will learn about the causes of knee injuries and the injury compensation to which you may be entitled.
What is the Structure and Function of Your Knees?
Your knees bring together four bones, five ligaments, and two of the largest muscles in your body. Your knees provide flexibility to your legs so you can move forward, backward, and sideways. But they also provide stability. They can hold your leg bones in alignment so you can stand or carry loads.
The knee is the joint between the femur, tibia, and fibula. These three bones provide your leg’s strength and leverage. The patella sits over the joint to protect the internal structure of your knee.
Ligaments hold these bones together. Sports fans will recognize these five ligaments because athletic knee injuries often involve them.
The five knee ligaments include:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL)
- Lateral collateral ligament (LCL)
- Patellar ligament
These ligaments provide stability and flexibility. They hold the bones together while allowing them to move in a structured way when you bend and extend your knee.
The calf muscles attach to the femur and run down the back of your lower leg to your Achilles tendon. The thigh muscles attach to your pelvis and run down the front and back of your femur. They attach to your patella and tibia through tendons. These muscles give your legs their strength and movement.
Inside the knee, cartilage covers the bones. Articular cartilage covers the lower end of the femur. The meniscus covers the upper end of the tibia. Together, these layers of cartilage cushion the knee against shocks. They also provide a smooth surface for the bones to move against each other without grinding.
How Does a Knee Injury Happen?
Almost any type of accident can cause a knee injury. Some of the common ways accident victims sustain knee injuries include:
When your knee gets bent or pulled further than normal, you can stretch or tear the ligaments, muscles, tendons, and cartilage that come together in your knee. This can happen in a slip and fall accident. You can hyperextend your knee even when you do not hit the ground but instead stress your knee as you catch yourself from falling.
Blunt Force Injury
Blunt force injuries happen when your knee gets hit by a force that does not penetrate the skin. If you bang your knee on the dashboard during a car accident, you have a blunt force injury. These injuries can break bones and stretch soft tissue. They also place additional stress on the joint that can tear cartilage.
Penetrating injuries happen when something pierces the skin of your knee. The breach in your skin creates a risk of infection. The object that penetrates your knee can also sever tendons, ligaments, muscles, and cartilage.
These injuries often happen when you get into an accident with your knees exposed. For example, during a motorcycle accident, your knee could be shredded by the asphalt, broken glass, and metal from the accident.
What Are Some Types of Knee Injuries?
Knee injuries often fall into a few broad categories. The type of injury you sustain will often tell you the severity and duration of your symptoms.
Knee Strain or Sprain
A knee strain happens when you stretch or tear the tendons or muscles in your knee.
Symptoms of a knee strain include:
- Knee stiffness
- Muscle spasms
A knee sprain happens when you stretch or tear the knee ligaments.
Symptoms of a sprained knee include:
- Knee stiffness
- Knee instability
- Popping sound or feeling at the time of the injury
Mild sprains or strains usually heal in four to six weeks. A torn ligament or tendon may require surgery to repair.
When you damage the cartilage in your knee, you can experience symptoms such as:
- Hearing or feeling a “click” in your knee
- Knee stiffness
Cartilage heals, but it takes time. While your cartilage heals, you will likely need rest. Your doctor may also immobilize your knee to avoid worsening the injury.
In some cases, a loose fragment or flap of cartilage may float inside the knee. Doctors may recommend trimming or removing it surgically so that it does not get caught inside the joint.
Damaged cartilage takes so long to heal that you may need to curtail your activities for months or even years after your injury. Worse yet, the damaged cartilage cannot protect the joint, and you may develop arthritis in the knee after the injury.
A fractured knee often refers to the patella. An impact on the knee can shatter the patella. If the patella fractures into large pieces, doctors might try to reconstruct it. If it fractures into too many pieces, doctors may recommend removing some or all of the patella.
How Much Compensation Can You Get for a Knee Injury?
When you suffer a knee injury due to someone else’s actions, you may seek injury compensation. This compensation will cover your economic and non-economic damages.
Your economic damages will include your medical bills for examinations, surgeries, and physical therapy sessions. They will also cover your lost wages from missing work due to your knee disability.
Your non-economic damages will cover the intangible impact of your injuries on your life. These losses can include pain, suffering, inconvenience, inability to perform activities, and diminished enjoyment of life.
Contact a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer for Help Recovering Compensation for a Knee Injury
Knee injuries often leave you with chronic aches and pains for the rest of your life. They can interfere with your ability to work and your enjoyment of life.