Leg Pain After a Car Accident: Causes and Solutions

There are many ways to sustain injuries in a car accident that result in leg pain.

With some injuries, pain and other symptoms can be felt right away. Others may take days to weeks to develop. You may think you walked away from your car accident scot-free only to discover that your leg hurts when you put weight on it a week later.

In this guide, we will break down the potential causes of leg pain sustained after a car accident and the treatment options that are available to you.

Table of Contents

can you hurt your leg after a car accident

Can You Hurt Your Leg in a Car Accident?

Leg injuries are a common type of injury caused by car accidents, especially in frontal car collisions. The U.S Department of Transportation states that 37% of frontal car collisions result in leg injuries.

Typical leg injuries caused by car accidents include:

  • Ligament injuries: These types of injuries can involve muscles, tendons, or nerves being pinched or severed.
  • Crush injuries: These types of injuries can involve the splintering of bones and blood vessel hemorrhages.
  • Soft tissue injuries and nerve damage: These types of injuries can involve bruising, torn tissues, nerve damage, and damaged internal organs.
  • Amputations: These types of injuries involve the complete severing of a limb or extensive damage that requires removal of a limb.
  • Fractures: These types of injuries can involve broken bones in the legs.

4 Most Common Car Accident Injuries That Cause Leg Pain

If you’re experiencing leg pain after being in a car accident, it could be possible that you don’t have a leg injury per se, but an injury that causes leg pain. For example, certain injuries in the lower back and hips can cause leg pain even though there is no injury present in the legs. This is known as referred pain.

This is why it is so important to see a chiropractor as soon as possible following your car accident so you can get a proper diagnosis and begin treating the source of your leg pain. The sooner you can begin treatment, the better chances you have of making a full recovery without long-term pain and symptoms.

Let’s go over four of the most common car accident injuries that can lead to leg pain.

leg pain after car accident

#1: Hip Strain or Sprain

Hip strains and sprains are common car accident injuries when a driver is braking at the time of the collision or a passenger is bracing for impact. Restrictive forces against the hip can lead to strained muscles or sprained ligaments that support the hip joint. The severity of the injury can vary depending on the collision speed. This can cause:

  • Hip/leg pain when moving
  • Reduced range of motion in the hip
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Difficulty sleeping from pain
  • And more

#2: Sciatica

Ever since you were in a car accident, you’ve noticed shooting pains, numbness, and tingling in your legs. You may be convinced that you’re suffering from a leg injury.

More than likely, the symptoms you are experiencing could be triggered by sciatica.

The sciatic nerve originates in the lower spine and extends down to the feet. A car accident can result in a pinched sciatic nerve, which can cause leg pain and numbness.

#3: Knee Injury

Your knees are actually the largest joint in your body — and the most susceptible to injury. So it’s no surprise that knee injuries are common when it comes to injuries sustained from car accidents.

 Some of the most notable knee injuries caused by car accidents include: 

  • Contusions
  • Torn meniscus; and 
  • Torn ACL

Let’s go into more detail on each of these injuries below.


Knee contusions can happen in a car accident when your knees make forceful contact with the dashboard, console, or car door. 

Knee contusions typically happen when a person’s knees are too close to the dashboard. This may be the case if the passenger/driver is particularly tall or has their seat pushed forward.

Torn Meniscus

When you think of meniscus injuries, your mind may immediately jump to thinking of sports injuries. However, a car accident can also result in a torn meniscus. 

This type of injury typically happens when:

  • The vehicle is small
  • The injured person is very large/tall; or
  • Both scenarios apply

How does one tear their meniscus in a car accident? The force of a collision can cause the femur bone to move forward while the tibia bone moves backward. This motion can result in meniscus tears.

Torn ACL

A torn ACL is another injury that likely makes you think of sports injuries.

The ACL can become torn in a car accident when the passenger/driver brace for impact. The hyperextension of the knee and force of impact can result in an ACL tear.

leg pain after caraccident

#4: Foot and Ankle Injury

Foot and ankle injuries can occur from the stress of pressing on the break and being jolted during a car accident. 

Foot and ankle injuries are most common with head-on collisions and T-bone accidents. According to the National Center for Biotechnology, 75% of all foot and ankle injuries sustained in car accidents are caused by head-on collisions.

Some common foot and ankle injuries caused by car accidents include:

  • Contusions
  • Strains and sprains
  • Fractures
  • And more

What Does Leg Pain After a Car Accident Feel Like?

The severity of leg pain and symptoms after a car accident can vary depending on the type of injury causing the leg pain. Some common sensations and symptoms you may experience along with leg pain after a car accident include: 

  • Instability in the leg. It may feel uncomfortable or impossible to bear weight on your leg. You may find walking difficult.
  • Popping and clicking sounds. This can be an indicator that you have sustained joint damage in a car accident.
  • Numbness and tingling sensations. Along with pain, you can experience numbness and tingling in your legs if you have pinched or damaged a nerve.
  • Stiffness. Leg stiffness can happen when the muscles tense upon impact in a car accident. Ongoing stiffness could be an indicator that the joints have been damaged.
  • Tenderness. Bruises, cuts, and hematomas could cause tenderness in the legs.
  • And more.
leg injuries from car accidents

4 Ways Cascade Spine & Injury Center Can Treat Your Leg Injuries From Car Accidents

If you’ve been in a car accident in the Portland area, come see us at Cascade Spine & Injury Center. At our Portland chiropractic clinic, we focus on optimizing the body’s natural ability to heal through the use of holistic healing modalities. Some modalities that may be incorporated into your customized treatment plan include:

  • Chiropractic
  • Massage therapy
  • Acupuncture; and
  • Rehabilitation exercise

#1: Chiropractic Care

Dr. McClaren is a certified Accident Reconstructionist with years of experience treating car accident injuries, including injuries that result in leg pain. At Cascade Spine & Injury Center, chiropractic care is individualized. Your treatment plan is tailored to:

  • Your specific injury
  • The severity of your injury
  • Your treatment progress; and
  • Your treatment goals

Based on the underlying issue causing your leg pain, Dr. McClaren will use chiropractic techniques that help:

  • Reduce any existing pressure on nerves
  • Relieve leg pain
  • Restore range of motion 
  • And more

#2: Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is a great compliment to other healing modalities such as chiropractic care and acupuncture when addressing leg pain after a car accident. Massage therapy treatment for leg pain can vary depending on the underlying injury causing your leg pain and the severity of your injury and symptoms.

Massage therapy can help:

  • Alleviate pain caused by muscle and soft tissue injuries in the leg
  • Increase circulation in the leg, which can help promote healing
  • Reduce inflammation in the leg, which can help relieve pain
  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Increase joint mobility
  • And more

#3: Acupuncture

Another healing modality that compliments chiropractic care well is acupuncture. Acupuncture can help address your leg pain by: 

  • Releasing tension in tight muscles
  • Reducing inflammation that can cause pain
  • Inhibiting the body’s natural healing process
  • And more

As an added bonus, many patients feel relaxed and revitalized after an acupuncture session.

Our licensed acupuncturists ensure that patients are comfortable during acupuncture sessions and tailor treatment based on the location and severity of injuries sustained.

#4: Rehab Exercises

Many injuries that cause leg pain after a car accident can benefit from rehabilitation exercises. These exercises can help:

  • Relieve tense muscles
  • Strengthen weakened muscles
  • Improve joint stability and range of motion
  • Decrease inflammation
  • And more

Your exercise plan is 100% tailored to:

  • The type of injury you are diagnosed with
  • The severity of your injury
  • Your personal treatment goals
  • And more

As a licensed rehab and exercise therapy clinic in Portland, we offer supervised guidance on how to properly perform exercises and monitor your progress for success and make adjustments as needed throughout your recovery.

Contact Cascade Spine & Injury Center for Help With Your Leg Pain After a Car Accident

If you are experiencing leg pain after a car accident, don’t delay in seeking treatment. The sooner the cause of your leg pain can be diagnosed and treated, the better chances you have of a smooth recovery. 

Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our Portland chiropractic clinic and begin experiencing pain relief today.

leg pain after car accident

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