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Leg pain after a car accident? Here are some possible explanations

Leg Pain After Car Accident
3 minutes, 53 seconds

The impact of a car collision can cause a variety of injuries to your legs, ranging from minor sprains and strains to more serious fractures and nerve damage. These injuries can be related to the direct impact of the collision, or by forces of the accident such as whiplash

Your leg pain symptoms after a car accident can vary depending on the type, location, and severity of your leg injury, but some common symptoms can include:

  • Sudden, severe pain.
  • Dull or aching pain.
  • Swelling.
  • Bruising or discoloration.
  • Limping or difficulty walking.
  • Numbness or tingling.
  • Weakness.
  • Stiffness.

It is important to note that some of these symptoms may not appear immediately after your accident, even taking up to days or weeks to appear. You should seek medical attention if you are experiencing any leg pain symptoms following a car accident, as some injuries may require prompt treatment to prevent long-term complications. 

Your doctor may recommend physical therapy after examining your legs post-accident. Physical therapists can be vital resources for your recovery process, as they can introduce you to exercises, stretches, and types of manual therapy that can reduce your pain and improve your range of motion.

4 reasons why you may have leg pain after a car accident 

Car accidents can be a traumatic experience, and it's not uncommon for individuals to experience pain and discomfort in various parts of their body, including the legs. Whether you're experiencing a mild ache or severe pain, it's essential to understand what's causing your leg pain and how to manage it effectively. The following injuries could be behind your leg pain after a car accident: 

  1. Fractured bones — A car accident can cause fractures in the legs in several ways, originating from complications like direct impact, ejection, compression, and twisting or bending. A direct impact to the legs, such as hitting the dashboard or steering wheel, can cause fractures in the bones of the legs. It's important to note that fractures can range from simple to complex — occurring in bones such as the tibia, fibula and femur — and some fractures may require surgery and an extended recovery period.
  2. Sprains and strains — An accident can suddenly stretch or tear your ligaments, tendons, and muscles, leading to instant pain and inflammation. As a result of these soft tissue injuries, you may notice bruising, tenderness or discoloration around the area of your leg injury.
  3. Nerve damage — Car accidents can cause injuries to the nerves in your legs. An object may fall on a major nerve and compress it, or a soft tissue injury can lead to inflammation that pinches a nearby nerve. If you’ve experienced a nerve injury in your leg, you will most likely feel tingling and numbing sensations. 
  4. Blood vessel or artery damage — Car accidents can cause injuries to the blood vessels or arteries in your legs, which can then lead to pain, swelling and discoloration. If you suspect that you have internal bleeding in your legs as a result of a car accident, you should seek medical attention immediately. 

How can physical therapy help ease your leg pain after a car accident? 

Physical therapy can help ease leg pain after a car accident by treating your specific symptoms and underlying conditions that are causing the pain. Physical therapists can work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that may include a combination of the following techniques:

  • Stretching and strengthening exercises — Physical therapists can teach you exercises that help stretch and strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your legs. These exercises can help reduce your pain, improve your range of motion and promote healing.
  • Manual therapy — Physical therapists may use hands-on techniques such as massage, soft tissue mobilization, and manipulation to help reduce pain and restore normal movement patterns in the legs. Manual therapy can also help you restore your balance and gait if they were altered after your accident.
  • Modalities — Physical therapists may use modalities such as aquatic therapy to gently strengthen your legs and increase mobility after a car accident. Aquatic therapy also provides natural compression so that inflammation like swelling can be reduced. 
  • Education — Physical therapists can educate you on how to properly care for your injuries and prevent future injuries. They can also provide guidance on how to make ergonomic adjustments to daily activities to reduce the risk of further injuring your leg while it heals.

Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT for leg pain after a car accident

If you’ve experienced a car accident and have had leg pain since, physical therapy can help you reduce your pain. At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. 

Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you address leg pain related to an auto injury

Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform. 

Come find help for your injury today!


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