When you're behind the wheel of your car, you probably put safety at the top of your priority list. Unfortunately, not everyone is as focused on their safety as you are. Therefore, a motor vehicle accident can happen at almost any time. Even if you feel like the car crash is relatively minor, it is still important for you to see a medical professional as quickly as possible.

There is a lot of adrenaline flowing through your system after a motor vehicle accident, and it can mask a lot of serious injuries under the surface. What are a few examples of common orthopedic injuries you might suffer in a motor vehicle accident?

Dashboard Knee

One of the most common orthopedic injuries that someone might sustain in a car accident is called dashboard knee. When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you may fly forward a few inches before your seatbelt stops you. This could be enough to strike your knee on the dashboard, leading to this injury.

Dashboard knee takes place when you suffer a sprain of your PCL. That can make it very difficult for you to walk without pain. There are some situations where this injury might even require surgical correction.

Ligament Sprains

There are numerous other ligament sprains that you might suffer in a motor vehicle accident as well. For example, you could also sprain the other ligaments in your knee, such as the ACL, MCL, or LCL. Serious accidents could even lead to a tear of these ligaments, which could require surgical repair.

You could also sprain ligaments elsewhere throughout your body. For example, you may suffer a sprain of the UCL, which is one of the most important ligaments in the elbow. If you have a ligament sprain, it could seriously impact your range of motion. That is why you need to see a doctor as quickly as possible after a motor vehicle accident.

Muscle Strains

You may also suffer a serious muscle strain as a result of an auto accident. A muscle strain takes place when you flex or extend a muscle too far. It leads to small tears in the muscle fibers, which can take a while to heal. There are a number of locations where you may suffer a muscle strain following a motor vehicle accident, but one of the most common locations is in your back.

If you are suffering from back pain after a car accident, you could be suffering from a strain of the paraspinal muscles. This pain usually shows up on the sides of your spinal column.

Compression Fractures

A car accident can also lead to compression fractures. When your chest flies forward over your knees, it causes your back to flex significantly. As a result, you could suffer fractures in one or more of the vertebrae in your back.

Your vertebrae are responsible for protecting your spinal cord, so you always need to talk to a doctor if you are experiencing back pain. You might need an x-ray to diagnose compression fractures in your back.

Wrist Fracture

It is not unusual for people to suffer a wrist fracture in a motor vehicle accident. If you see a car coming in front of you, you may extend your arms in an effort to protect yourself. By extending your arms toward the steering wheel or dashboard, you can protect your face, neck, and chest from an impact; however, you also leave your arms and wrists vulnerable.

It is possible for you to fracture either your radius or your ulna in an accident. In some situations, you may fracture both. You do not necessarily need to have surgery to repair a wrist fracture, but it will be up to the doctor to take a look at the alignment of the bones in your wrist to see if they require surgical repair.

Herniated Disc

It is not unusual to suffer a herniated disc in a motor vehicle accident. Similar to compression fractures, this is an injury that takes place when the chest flies forward. If you flex your back too far, you could place an undue amount of pressure on the discs inbetween the vertebrae. The most common location for a herniated disc is in the lumbar region of the back.

This is an injury that causes shooting pains that travel from your back down your legs. Many people who are diagnosed with a herniated disc require surgical repair.

Dislocated Shoulder

You might also suffer a dislocated shoulder in a motor vehicle accident. The shoulder can be dislocated in a number of directions including the anterior, posterior, and inferior directions. If you are hit from behind, an object could strike the shoulder from the back, causing it to dislocate.

Or, you may strike your shoulder on the steering wheel or dashboard, depending on the direction of the impact. It can also be enough to dislocate your shoulder. There are some situations where a dislocated shoulder could require surgery. It is important for you to talk to a doctor as quickly as possible to make sure this injury is accurately diagnosed and treated.


Without a doubt, whiplash is a frequent orthopedic injury for those who suffer though a motor vehicle collision. Whiplash takes place when the neck bounces around uncontrollably following a motor vehicle accident. When this happens, you can sprain the cervical ligaments in your neck, leading to serious symptoms. Some of the most common examples of whiplash symptoms include neck stiffness, soreness, and pain.


You may find that you have a very difficult time moving your head from side to side. Whiplash can also make it difficult for you to look at your phone, work at the computer, or drive a car. You need to see an orthopedic professional as quickly as possible. That way, you can make sure your whiplash injury is properly treated.

Trust the Team from Zion Medical for Help Following an Auto Accident

These are just a few of the many examples of injuries that you may sustain in a motor vehicle accident. You may focus on your safety every time you drive, but a motor vehicle accident can still occur. You should always call 911 after an accident, and then reach out to a medical professional who can help you.

At Zion Medical, we have a tremendous amount of experience working with patients following a car crash. It would be our pleasure to assist you as well. If you would like to learn more about our orthopedic treatment team, contact us today to make an appointment.

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