Leg pain is very common after a car accident, but it can have many causes. Unfortunately, many crash survivors assume that their pain is “just bumps and bruises” and that it will go away on its own. However, that dull or shooting pain may be a sign of a severe injury, like a herniated disc or a knee or hip injury. Understanding your leg pain’s cause is essential to both your personal injury case and your overall health.
In this post, our experienced personal injury attorneys will discuss common causes of post-accident leg pain and what you can do to minimize it. We’ll also provide tips on how working with a personal injury lawyer can help you secure fair compensation for your injuries.
Common Causes of Leg Pain After an Accident
Leg pain can be up in your hips, down in your feet, or anywhere in between. A crash can easily cause leg, ankle, hip, and knee injuries because our lower body contains many complex joints and supports most of our weight. The following are some of the most common causes of leg pain after a car crash:
Bruises, Cuts, and Hematomas
A car crash’s trauma can cause lacerations (cuts) and bruises (hematomas) in your legs and other body parts. While a cut will be obvious, deeper bruises may take a few days to fully appear. While most bruises and cuts heal on their own, some require stitches, surgeries, and medication.
If you suffer a deep laceration or develop dark, widespread bruising, see your doctor. These injuries likely need medical attention.
You have more than 60 bones from your hips to your toes, and any of them can break in a car accident. Bones in the hips, legs, knees, and feet can have small fractures, clean breaks, or be shattered. Any broken bone should be examined by a medical professional.
Serious breaks tend to be obvious due to pain and, in some cases, being visibly misplaced. Tiny hairline fractures are less easily detected, and are sometimes mistaken for soft tissue injuries. However, with time and stress, these small fractures can become more serious.
Small fractures can often heal on their own as long as the bone isn’t forced to bear too much weight or activity. Large and complicated breaks require more healing time and intervention, perhaps pins, screws, plates, wires, rods, or even joint replacements.
Left untreated, broken bones can lead to chronic pain or cause long-term difficulties with walking and balance.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Injuries involving muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage (sometimes called “soft tissue injuries”) are common in and around the knees, hips, and ankles after a car crash. Symptoms of these injuries can include swelling, a popping sound, pain, weakness, and stiffness.
Sprains and strains, where your muscles and ligaments either stretch or tear, are incredibly common during car and truck crashes. While many of these injuries heal with medication, rest, and time, some require physical therapy and more intensive care. However, sprains and strains aren’t the only soft tissue injuries that you can suffer during a wreck.
Severe injuries to your leg’s ligaments and other structures can lead to surgery and cause long-term problems. If you’re experiencing severe pain and decreased mobility in your leg, your doctor may check you for a variety of soft injuries:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries: the ACL stretches between the shinbone and the thigh bone and can be damaged when the knee is impacted. This injury inhibits your ability to twist and pivot your leg.
- Torn meniscus: the meniscus is knee cartilage that absorbs shock. If it’s torn in a crash, your knee will be very painful and won’t be able to bear weight. This knee injury often requires surgery.
- Posterior collateral ligament (PCL) injuries: the PCL stretches between the back of the leg and the thigh bone. Like the ACL, it can be damaged with an impact to the knee. This injury tends to be less common and less serious than an ACL injury, but it can still cause significant pain and inhibit movement.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
DVT is a blood clot deep within the body. Trauma to the leg, as well as surgery performed to treat that trauma, can cause deep vein thrombosis. In addition to leg pain, you may experience swelling and discoloration that isn’t due to the trauma itself.
If you have any of these unexplained symptoms, talk to a medical professional. Untreated DVT can lead to a pulmonary embolism—a potentially fatal blood clot in the lung.
Compressed Nerves and Herniated Discs
Sometimes, a car accident’s forces will stretch and pull at the discs in your back. If one of these discs rips or bulges, doctors call it a herniated disc— and it can press on the nerves in your spine, causing a kind of leg pain called radiculopathy or sciatica. Typically, the pain will start in the lower back and shoot down into the leg. You may also experience numbness and weakness in your leg.
You should talk to a doctor to ensure that a serious injury, like a herniated disc, isn’t causing your shooting leg pain. Medications, injections that reduce swelling, physical therapy, and even surgery may be needed—so don’t delay calling your physician.
If a bone comes loose from its joint, it’s dislocated. Hips and knees are among the most common bones to become dislocated during a car wreck. While you might not detect a dislocation visually, someone experiencing it will have extreme pain and have a hard time moving the joint.
More than causing pain, dislocations can damage the surrounding tissues. X-rays, MRIs, and other imaging will be able to see the extent of this damage, and treatment might include immobilization, surgery, and rehabilitation.
What Should I Do if I Have Leg Pain After a Crash?
Sometimes, leg pain is a sign of a serious, life-changing injury. You should never ignore your lower extremity pain—especially if you’re also experiencing muscle weakness or bladder or bowel issues. Instead, go to the ER or schedule an appointment with your doctor. Prompt medical care may help you make a fuller and faster recovery.
You should never ignore your lower extremity pain—especially if you’re also experiencing muscle weakness or bladder or bowel issues. Instead, go to the ER or schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Next, document your financial and emotional losses. That means you should hold onto evidence that supports your claims, including:
- Your medical records and discharge slips
- Crash reports
- Letters from the insurance companies
- Pictures you took at the crash scene or of your injuries
- Medical bills, including bills for any medical devices (like crutches or a wheelchair)
- Estimates for your vehicle repairs
This information will help your lawyer understand your losses and calculate the full extent of your damages.
Finally, before you speak with the insurance company or start negotiating a settlement, consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. An attorney can help you avoid mistakes that damage your claims, give you peace of mind, and ensure that you get a fair settlement.
Crosley Law: San Antonio’s Trusted Personal Injury Law Firm
Crosley Law focuses its practice on serious car crash claims, including those involving leg pain. If you or a loved one suffered life-changing injuries in a wreck, we want to help you rebuild. Our personal injury lawyers use cutting-edge tactics and have a track record of success. Call 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or complete our contact form to schedule your free consultation today.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
Related ArticlesView All Blog Articles
How to Prove Negligence in a Personal Injury ClaimApr 19, 2021
Life can feel chaotic after a car accident or another catastrophic injury. You’re trying to balance doctor’s appointments, manage your growing pile of bills, and dealing with your family’s pain, fear, and loss. It’s no surprise that collecting evidence and strengthening your personal injury claims isn’t a top priority. However, you won’t get fair compensation […]
Parking Lot Crashes: Who Has the Right of Way (and Who Is to Blame)?Apr 06, 2021
All parking lot car accidents are minor fender benders, right? Think again. Pedestrians and other vulnerable road users are often injured in parking lot crashes when a distracted or reckless driver breaks the rules. Unfortunately, many people don’t take parking lot safety seriously—or mistakenly think that Texas’ rules of the road don’t apply in parking garages and lots. Our injury lawyers have helped many crash […]
How Do I Prepare for an “Independent Medical Examination?”Apr 05, 2021
If you’re involved in a car accident lawsuit or another personal injury claim, the insurance company might schedule an “independent medical examination” (IME) for you. However, these exams are rarely independent or neutral. Instead, the adjuster is scheduling your exam with a doctor they trust—one whose reports consistently favor the insurer and might weaken your […]
Who Is at Fault in a T-Bone Car Accident?Mar 22, 2021
T-bone car accidents are dramatic, dangerous, and common — which is why they are so often depicted in films and television. Yet, while these crashes can make for good entertainment, no one ever wants to experience one in real life. Common injuries from T-bone accidents include brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, crushed and amputated limbs, […]
Car Accidents and Broken Bones: How Much Is My Case Worth?Mar 02, 2021
Broken bones are common during car accidents. The forces during a collision can shatter bones in our back, legs, pelvis, and other areas, causing pain and severe limitations. And while some broken bones heal relatively quickly, these injuries can also become complicated and lead to permanent disability. Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers helps […]
Can I Get Compensation for a Knee Injury from a Car Accident?Mar 02, 2021
Knee injuries from car accidents are one of the most common reasons people file personal injury lawsuits. There are three main reasons for this: Our knees are especially susceptible to injuries in a car accident because they rest underneath or against the dashboard. Knee injuries are often more severe than other injuries and can seriously impact our mobility. Knee injuries often worsen over time and can even turn into life-altering […]
Will a Back Surgery Affect My Car Accident Settlement?Feb 11, 2021
Car accident injuries that require surgery often increase the chances of securing a settlement in a personal injury claim. In particular, back surgeries not only increase the chances of securing a car accident settlement, but also significantly improve the average monetary value of the settlement. To be clear, we’re not advocating for you or our […]
What’s Causing My Hip Pain After a Car AccidentFeb 11, 2021
Injuries sustained to your hip in a car accident can be debilitating. Even if you feel fine after a crash, it’s important not to ignore minor aches and pains that may arise hours, days or even weeks later because they potentially could have a severe impact on both your overall long-term health and a personal […]
How Do I Get a Texas Accident Report?Feb 11, 2021
There are a lot of things that you need to do after your car accident. In addition to getting immediate medical attention, you also need to call the police and file a report. A Texas peace officer crash report will be filled out by the responding officer, and it’s important to get a copy of […]
What Does an Insurance Adjuster Do?Feb 11, 2021
If you’ve been in a car accident, you know how overwhelming and traumatic the process can be. Recovering from your injuries and dealing with lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages is a lot to deal with. Making sure that you do everything right to file a successful claim can seem impossible. […]
Do you or a family member
need legal advice?
Crosley Law Firm, PC is a professional corporation of trial lawyers focused on representing individuals and families who have suffered serious personal injuries or wrongful death. If you’ve been injured, fill out the form for a free consultation, or call 210-LAW-3000.