Broken Bones After Car Accidents
Broken bones after car accidents, along with fractures, are an injury we treat in our offices frequently. In fact, fractures occur in car accidents in central Florida every day.
The team of Sterling Medical Group is here help you auto accident victims heal after the trauma of broken bones. Our medical treatment is top-notch. We have a team of neurosurgeons, orthopedic specialists, pain management providers, and bi-lingual case workers to craft an individual treatment plan to speed up the recovery process for you.
We want to provide you with some detailed information broken bones after car accidents, so you know where to start.
What is the Difference Between a Fracture and Broken Bone?
A fracture is any break in the structure of a bone. While you may have thought that a fracture and break were two different things, they are really one in the same. It’s a common misconception.
What Causes Broken Bones During a Car Accident?
There are a number of ways that people walk away with broken bones after car accidents. This is a list of the forces that cause the largest number of fractures during a collision.
- Being ejected from a vehicle during a collision while not wearing a seatbelt.
- Striking the pavement when ejected from a motorcycle
- Crushing forces such as collision with a tractor trailer or the weight of a motorcycle on top of the body.
- Reaching forward to avoid or brace for impact or in an instinctive effort to protect the face.
- Being struck by the air bag or loose items tossed around the car.
- Slamming forward into the seat restraint.
Types of Broken Bones
When you find yourself with broken bones after car accidents, you have a lot of questions and uncertainties. But you know one thing for sure--it was one forceful accident. In fact, an adult who weighs just 175 pounds, traveling at only 25 mph, wearing a seat belt will crash with the equivalent of being hit with 2.785 tons of bricks.
When you see this math, you can see how easily bones break in a car wreck.
The more commonly sustained broken bones after car accidents are as follows:
- Spinal vertebrae of the back or neck. These break during rear-end or head-on collisions as the force of your body is impacted by your seat restraint or air bags. Vertebral fractures are the most serious and can even be fatal in the worst cases.
- The clavicle. This runs across the top of your rib cage and is the most fragile bone in the human body. Its thin in density and is often fractured in auto collisions.
- Pelvic bone. This is more likely to happen in a motorcycle accident, but it can also happen in a severe accident. Pelvic bone fractures are often thought to be the most common broken bones after car accidents.
- Fibula (lower leg), and Femur (upper leg). Broken legs are surprisingly common. They usually are strong bones but can break when the force of a wreck crushes the car into the leg with great force.
- Cranial (skull). Cranial fractures are treated rapidly because there is also sometimes damage to the brain. This is caused when the victim hits their head on the dashboard, window, or steering wheel. Sometimes, this can go undetected immediately as there might be no visible sign of damage. The patient will begin to exhibit stroke-like symptoms that trigger the need for treatment.
- Facial bones. The strike of an airbag or the force with which a face meets the dashboard or steering wheel frequently causes broken noses, jaws, cheekbones, and orbital bones (around the eyes). These bones are very susceptible to fracture during a collision.
- The sternum (breastbone) and ribs take up a lot of space in your midsection. These sturdy bones are responsible for protecting your heart, lungs, and part of your guts from impacts like the violent force of a car accident. These bones are most frequently broken by lurching forward sharply into your seat belt.
What Are the Types of Broken Bones From Car Accident?
A few of the more common types of broken bones after car accidents are as follows:
- Avulsion: These are extremely painful fractures that occur at the point where the bone separates from the tendons and ligaments. An avulsion is likely to result in a surgical repair by an orthopedic surgeon.
- Buckle: Buckles are common fractures in the still growing bones of young children. This happens when the bone begins to break but instead bends or buckles. The treatment for this is normally immobilization with a splint or a cast for several weeks.
- Comminuted: This is a fracture of the bone into at least 3 pieces, but it can result in more than 3. The great force that causes this kind or break will often cause destruction beyond repair. Unfortunately, a comminuted fracture frequently leaves no treatment option but amputation.
- Compound: A compound fracture is the type in which the bone actually pokes through the skin. This break most often requires surgery within 24 hours. In addition, the doctor will treat this patient with antibiotics to prevent bacterial infections and update the victim’s Tetanus shot.
- Hairline: Hairline fractures are small breaks, but here is the danger. Victims might not realize that they have a fracture and attribute the pain to bruising from the car accident. Therefore, the crack will continue to run until they seek treatment. The hairline fracture will usually be immobilized with a boot, splint, or cast for several weeks.
- Oblique: An oblique fracture runs a diagonal course. While they are not common in general, they do happen most frequently in auto collisions as the bone gets pinched into place then twisted during the impact. The oblique fracture normally requires surgical procedures to reset the bone as well as screws to hold the bone in place as it mends.
- Stress: These are similar to buckle fractures. Stress fractures also occur with young children with still forming bones. However, in the case of a stress fracture, one side of the bone will bend, and the other side will fracture. This normally requires immobilization with a splint, boot, or cast.
- Transverse: This fracture breaks the bones into two pieces. They will most often break at a right angle position. The transverse fracture requires immobilization. In addition, surgical intervention might be needed.
Please keep in mind that fractures from car accidents will vary from person to person. The treatments listed here are not comprehensive. Your doctor will tailor a treatment plan based on the location of the break, the severity of your other injuries, and your overall health.
In addition to helping your bones mend, the doctors will make recommendations for pain management and at-home care.
Diagnosing Broken Bones After Car Accidents
Doctors use a variety of proven clinical methods to diagnose broken bones and craft a treatment plan specifically for each victim’s injuries.
They will do a consultation with the patient and conduct a thorough examination of the victim for visible symptoms of fractures.
- Bone poking through the skin
- Swelling and inflammation
- Deformed appearance
- Extreme pain
X-Rays will be taken to provide visible images so that the doctors know what’s going on inside. In addition, the doctors might order a CT Scan if they strongly suspect a break, but it doesn’t show up on X-rays (it happens!)
The orthopedic specialists at Sterling Medical Group are experienced, respected physicians. They draw on their years of experience to deliver the most comprehensive patient care to help you heal.
Don’t Wait to See a Doctor After an Accident
People are sometimes scared to go to the doctor after an accident. Whether you have injuries or not, it’s always a safe bet to let a doctor clear you.
We have seen patients many times who declined treatment because they felt just a tiny bit sore so were embarrassed to make a fuss. After they got home, these patients developed problems like headaches, pain, or swelling that they didn’t see coming.
Unfortunately, once you’ve said you sustained no injuries, your insurance company will fight you if you later seek medical care. You’ll also have a difficult time pursuing the at-fault party for personal injury claims that they owe you. This can leave you with long-term injuries and medical bills that are unfair to you. Therefore, seeing a doctor immediately after an accident is a way to protect yourself in case that an unforeseen injury does arise.
Book Your Consultation with Sterling Medical Group
If you or a loved one has been in a car crash, don’t wait to book your consultation with Sterling Medical Group. Our team of caring and dedicated professionals is here to help you. We have 13 central Florida office locations. Book online or call your nearest office today.
We look forward to partnering with you.