Accident victims often feel lucky if they walk away from a crash with only minor injuries. However, some may mistakenly believe they escaped serious trauma only to suffer amputation of an arm or leg just hours after the crash.
Victims who have suffered crush injuries in an accident are at high risk of developing compartment syndrome, a condition that can cause nerve damage, blood flow clots, and even the loss of a limb.
Symptoms and Side Effects of Compartment Syndrome
All muscle groups throughout the body are covered by layers of tissue, known as fascia. The fascia separates different muscle tissues, blood vessels, and nerves into a confined space called a compartment.
Although muscles contract and expand, fascial tissue does not, so any swelling in a compartment places pressure on the tissues inside it. If not corrected, the pressure will permanently halt blood flow to the compartment, effectively killing the muscles and nerves inside.
Compartment syndrome commonly occurs in the forearms and calves, but can affect any of the extremities. Patients who have sustained crushing injuries should be aware of the risks of compartment syndrome, including:
- Symptoms. Common symptoms of compartment syndrome include severe pain, pale skin over the area, and eventual weakness or numbness in the limb.
- Treatment. The earlier a patient is treated, the more likely he or she is to recover from compartment syndrome with no lasting effects. Doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy as nonsurgical options. If these aren't effective, a patient may need surgery called a fasciotomy to cut into the tissues and relieve the pressure.
- Amputation. If the pressure in the affected limb cannot be controlled with any other method, doctors may amputate the limb to save the patient’s life. Common effects of amputation include muscle death, costly hospital bills, months off of work, and acute mental and emotional trauma.
- Disability. Depending on the extent of their injuries, patients may suffer chronic pain, regular hospital visits, daily medications, and other effects that can severely limit their mobility and earning capacity.
If you suffered severe injury and emotional trauma as a result of an accident, we can help you get compensation for your medical bills and other costs. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page today to schedule your free case evaluation.