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Knee Injuries Caused by Slip and Fall Accidents

Some of the most debilitating injuries stem from unexpected, preventable incidents like auto accidents, physical assaults, or using dangerous or defective products. However, when it comes to impact affecting one’s lower limbs, knee injuries caused by slip and fall accidents occur at a higher frequency. Below, we’ll discuss the most common type of damage done to individuals’ knees when these incidents occur.

The Leading Types of Knee Problems Resulting from Falls

There are a few different common knee injuries that slip and fall victims suffer, including:

Knee Abrasion or Laceration

An abrasion can scrape or otherwise break the skin when it makes contact with a rough surface such as concrete or asphalt. A laceration is a cut or puncture wound, often caused by an individual falling on a sharp object, such as an exposed piece of metal that hasn’t been filed down or a nail.

The danger with either of these, aside from the obvious physical injury and discomfort associated with it, is the risk of tetanus or the wound becoming infected, resulting in potentially deadly conditions such as sepsis.

Strains and Sprains

These types of stress injuries tend to result from a person’s knee overstretching beyond its limits, especially when a sudden movement occurs. For example, a person’s leg may slide forward as they begin slipping on a wet floor. It’s commonplace for patients to experience or even hear an audible popping noise within their knee at the time the sprain occurs.

Patients who suffer sprains and strains will often experience bruising, pain, stiffness, and swelling around the injury site. In some severe cases, patients will require surgical intervention to fix their injury.

Cartlidge and Ligament Tears

There are three primary parts of the knee that can sustain tears, which may involve the following:

  • Meniscus
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
  • Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)
  • Lateral collateral ligament (LCL)
  • Medial collateral ligament (MCL)

Each of these injuries is common among sports players and can cause discomfort from swelling, significant instability, and pain when standing in place or moving. While some patients who suffer these injuries may be able to regain mobility by taking part in physical therapy, others may require surgical intervention followed by rehabilitation.

Broken Bones

It’s not uncommon for individuals to land on their knees when attempting to break a fall so that their torso or head doesn’t strike the pavement. Doing this can either fracture the actual knee joint or the kneecap (which is referred to as a patellar fracture).

Injuries like these can make it challenging or impossible for individuals to straighten their knees enough to walk on their own without the use of crutches. Given that these mobility issues are often accompanied by pain and swelling, most individuals who break a bone like this must undergo surgery to repair their injury.

Knee Dislocation

Although an extremely rare diagnosis, an injury like this is commonly associated with falls from heights but can also stem from high-impact injuries. For example, perhaps a lubricant or soapy cleaning solvent was left on the treads of an escalator, causing you to lose your footing and fall all the way down that moving staircase. You could dislocate your knee in a situation such as that. Knee injuries like these need to be treated by doctors immediately after they occur.

How To Know If Your Knee Injury Is Serious

Most of us would seek immediate medical attention if we were to suffer slip and fall accidents and find ourselves unable to stand up or walk afterward, and that is certainly one indicator a knee injury is serious.

However, according to Yale Medicine, one key indicator that a knee injury is serious is if swelling occurs rapidly, especially among what they refer to as “younger patients.” They contrast this population with an older one that may already be arthritic and thus regularly experience swelling around their knee joint.

The concern is that if there’s significant swelling around the knee within a matter of hours after an injury occurs, this could indicate that not only is there a tear but also a severed blood vessel needing repair. So, if you’re considering “sleeping on” your injury to see if the pain, bruising, and swelling subside overnight, be cautious about doing so.

Aside from the aforementioned, other signs that may indicate that your knee injury is serious and thus you should get help include knee weakness and locking.

Your Prognosis After Hurting Your Knee During a Fall

Soft tissue knee injuries that cause swelling and stiffness may take as long as 6-12 weeks to fully heal with rest and elevation, depending on its severity. However, more severe injuries involving fractures or surgical repairs may take much longer. In addition, patients may need to perform regular physical therapy to regain prior functionality of their affected knee.

There are some rare instances in which knee injuries cause irreparable harm, in which case patients may experience lasting impacts such as circulatory issues, mobility and growth issues, persistent pain, amputations, and more.

Holding a Responsible Party Liable for Your Injury and Its Impact on Your Life

If you’ve suffered enough harm that it’s led to you needing to undergo surgery followed by extensive rehab, caused you to miss significant work, or left you with a permanent disability, then you likely have amassed significant medical bills and lost wages and endured pain and suffering, mental anguish, and other impacts from what happened. Fortunately, Pennsylvania law allows most victims who suffer harm due to others’ negligence to seek compensation for what they’ve been through.

Our legal team at Shrager, Sachs, & Blanco fights aggressively for the rights of our clients, and we want to do the same for you. Call or write our law firm if you’ve suffered a knee injury in or around Philadelphia, and we’ll put you in contact with one of our slip and fall attorneys to advise you of the rights Pennsylvania law affords you. It costs you nothing to meet with a lawyer to discuss what led to you suffering a preventable injury like this.


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