Knees are the largest joint in the body. They are a complex joint made up of many components such as bone, cartilage, ligaments, and fluid. With all of these components working together, the knee is often vulnerable to a variety of injuries. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOC), around 10.4 million people visited the doctor due to knee injuries in 2010 alone.
When a knee is injured, it can be especially painful and debilitating. Injuries often involve multiple forms of medical treatment such as surgeries or physical therapy. Even with the best treatment available, knee injuries are often slow to heal. Some of the common symptoms of knee injuries include: tingling, popping, stiffness, pain, swelling, numbness and decreased range of motion.
Each of the knee’s components are vulnerable to injuries such as fractures or dislocations. A study published in 2012 found the most common diagnoses of knee injuries from people seeking emergency care were strains and sprains, contusions, abrasions, lacerations and punctures.
One of the most heavily used joints in the body is the shoulder. Injuries can occur from everyday activities such as lifting heavy objects or excessive and repetitive overhead motion. Unfortunately, this makes shoulder injuries are one of the most frequently seen workers’ compensation claims.
Types of Shoulder Injuries
The majority of shoulder issues involve the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, as opposed to the bones. These injuries typically happen in one of two ways: repetitive use or specific trauma. Repeating the same task over and over again, such as moving, lifting, or reaching, can put unnecessary strain on the joint and muscles. A shoulder can also be injured by a specific trauma such as a fall or accident. Some of the most common shoulder injuries are:
- Shoulder sprains- stretching or tearing of the ligaments
- Shoulder strains- stretching or tearing of the tendons
- Rotator Cuff Injury- the rotator cuff is the group of muscles and tendons that allow a person to lift their arm and reach overhead. An injury typically occurs from repetitive motion
- Dislocated shoulder- the upper arm bone popping out of the shoulder socket
- Brachial plexus injury- the compressing, tearing, or stretching of the network of nerves that transmits signals from the spine to the shoulder
- Tendinitis of the shoulder- irritation or inflammation of the tendons
- Shoulder fractures- the breaking of the clavicle, scapula, or humerus bones
A burn is one of the most painful injuries that someone can experience. It is estimated that 450,000 serious burn injuries receive medical treatment each year. Some of the common causes of burns are:
- Chemical exposure
- Extreme temperatures (both hot and cold)
When skin is burned, the nerve endings are damaged which causes intense feelings of pain. A serious burn becomes more complex; it can affect muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and bones. A serious burn can damage the respiratory system leading to airway construction, respiratory arrest, and respiratory failure. When skin is injured, this also affects the body’s temperature, thermal regulation, fluid/electrolyte balance, joint function, manual dexterity, and most noticeably the physical appearance. While the physical damages may be the most noticeable, the psychological and emotional trauma can often last a lifetime.
Each year around 7,800 people are affected by a serious injury to their spinal cord. Spinal cord injuries leave the brain unable to properly communicate with other parts of the body. As a result, many of these individuals have some degree of paralysis. The farther up the spinal cord the injury occurs, and the more severe the injury, the worse the damage. Unfortunately, many of these accidents could have been prevented.
The severity of a spinal cord injury (SCI) depends on two factors: the location of the injury and the severity of the injury to the spinal cord. Injuries to the neck may result in quadriplegia (being paralyzed from the shoulders down). Whereas an injury that happens lower down the spinal cord may cause paraplegia (being paralyzed from the waist down). Of these two types of paralysis, some are complete injuries (total loss of function and sensation below the injury level) and others are incomplete (the person still retains some level of function and sensation).
Some major causes of paralysis are:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Major falls
- Acts of violence
- Sports (especially diving)
Potential Complications with Spinal Cord Injuries
People’s lives change dramatically after suffering such a major injury. Most will lose a great deal of their independence. Unfortunately, paralysis, especially quadriplegia, often leads to further complications requiring even more care. Bladder or bowel control may be lost. Pressure sores can develop over the paralyzed person’s body. Since blood circulation slows down, quadriplegics are at a much higher risk of developing blood clots. Respiratory problems are also a common and serious side effect of paralysis. For many people affected by paralysis, the overall quality of life decreases.
What Can You Do?
If you or a loved one was paralyzed because of somebody’s negligence, consult an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney will investigate the facts and assess whether there is another party liable (or at fault). They will be able to evaluate the situation and help you fight for compensation for the injury.
For example, if you or a loved one suffers a SCI through faulty seatbelts in a car accident, you may have a claim against the car manufacturer, the other driver(s), or the seatbelt manufacturer. An attorney will be able to investigate the facts of the case and determine which party or parties are at fault. In addition, the initial hospital stay after such a life-changing accident can last anywhere from a few days to a few months. An attorney can help you pursue compensation for the medical bills, along with any lost wages or future care costs over a lifetime.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are roughly 120,000 people each year that sustain a whiplash injury. On average, 13 people each hour suffer a whiplash injury. Whiplash injuries occur when the head is snapped forward and backward in a whip-like motion due to a sudden impact or collision, such as a car accident. This sudden movement can damage muscles, tendons, and soft tissues within the neck. Milder whiplash injuries may take a few months to heal whereas more severe or serious injuries can cause permanent damage.
Symptoms of whiplash
If you or a loved one is in a car accident, you may be unsure of how to tell if you have been injured. Whiplash symptoms may not show immediately and will usually develop within 24 hours of the injury. Below are some of the most common whiplash symptoms according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Headaches, most often radiating from the base of the skull
- Neck pain with movement
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Tenderness or pain in the shoulder, arm, or upper back
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
Diagnosis and treatment of whiplash
Whiplash is often diagnosed using a physical examination, obtaining information about the incident, and a variety of imaging tests. The imaging tests are run mainly to rule out any other causes of the symptoms. Some of the imaging tests doctors may use are x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans.
The treatment for whiplash will depend on the severity of the injury. Doctors may also combine a variety of treatments in order to most effectively treat the injury. Below are some of the most common treatments for whiplash:
- Icing or applying heat to the affected areas
- Over the counter pain medication
- Prescription pain medication
- Physical therapy
- Immobilization by using foam collars
Causes of Whiplash Injuries
Whiplash injuries occur when a person’s head is quickly thrust forward and backward in a whip-like motion. While this type of injury is frequently caused by an auto accident, they can be caused by a variety of injuries such as: car accidents, workplace accidents, motorcycle accidents, trucking accidents, pedestrian accidents and bicycling accidents.
There are 27 bones that make up a person’s hand and wrist. Each of these bones work together with muscles, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage to allow us to complete our everyday activities. Unfortunately, hand and wrist injuries are all too common and occur from falls, repetitive motions, sudden trauma, and many other seemingly harmless activities.
Injuries to the hand or wrist can be devastating. With so many components, even “small” injuries can be very painful and disruptive. Depending on the severity of the injury, surgery, casts, or physical therapy may be required. In some cases a hand or wrist injury may result in a lifelong disability.
Types of Hand and Wrist Injuries
Within the hand there are a number of fragile components that may be injured. Some of the most common types of hand or wrist injuries are:
- Fractures- the breaking of any bone within the hand or wrist
- Amputations- the removal of a thumb, finger, or the hand, often due to trauma
- Burns- an injury to the skin or soft tissues caused by heat, electricity, chemical, friction, or radiation
- Sprains- tearing of the connective tissue (ligaments) within the hand or wrist
- Dislocations- displacing or separating the bones in hand or wrist
- Lacerations- a cut or wound that is caused by sharp object
A person’s feet and ankles work together to help provide support and mobility to the rest of their body. Unfortunately, foot and ankle injuries are very common and can occur in a variety of ways, such as falls, twisting, bending, jerking, or jamming. Injuries can occur to the bones or the soft tissue in the feet or ankles.
Foot and ankle injuries can be painful and crippling. When an injury does occur, there can be sudden and severe pain, or swelling and bruising may occur at a later time. Depending on the severity of the injuries, surgeries, extensive medical treatment, and physical therapy may be required. Some cases may even result in permanent disabilities such as limited movement or constant pain.
Types of Foot or Ankle Injuries
There are a few different types of foot or ankle injuries that can occur. For example, a bone can be fractured in a car crash or the ligament can be sprained in an unsafe premises fall. Some of the most common foot or ankle injuries are:
- Fractures- also known as broken bones
- Strains- the overstretching of muscles that causes the muscle fibers to tear
- Sprains- the stretching or tearing of ligaments that connect bones and joints
- Contusions- a deep bruise to the foot caused by internal bleeding
- Crushing injuries- tissues are damaged by being squeezed or compressed causing bleeding into the tissues and swelling
- Puncture wounds- an open cut or wound caused by a sharp or pointed object. Puncture wounds can lead to infections if not properly treated
- Dislocations- an injury to a joint (where at least two or more bones come together) which the ends of the bones are forced from their normal positions
Soft tissue injuries can be caused by almost any type of accident, from a fall at work to a minor car accident. These injuries can cause long-term pain and suffering, effect your ability to work, and even your everyday lifestyle. Soft tissue injuries can affect most parts of the body such as neck, back, arms, and legs.
Types of Soft Tissue Injuries
A soft tissue injury occurs when muscles, ligaments, or tendons are damaged. There are two basic types of soft tissue injury: intrinsic and extrinsic trauma. Intrinsic trauma is generally caused by over-contracting, over-stretching, or uncontrolled internal stress. Extrinsic trauma involves contact with a blunt object that causes closed damage to the tissue or a sharp object that causes open damage to the tissue. Below are some of the types of soft tissue injuries:
- Strains- caused by the overuse of a muscle or a tendon
- Whiplash– a sprain, strain, or hyper-extension injury caused by a sudden whip-like movement,usually specific to the neck
- Sprains- are classified as damage to a ligament that is caused by joint over-extension
- Contusions- internal bleeding, also known as bruises
Some of the most common symptoms that are associated with soft tissue injuries are chronic pain, bruising, and swelling.