Leg Injuries Car Accidents and Crashes
Individuals drive to jobs, to school, run errands, take road trips, spending a lot of time on the road. Accidents and crashes happen more frequently with all kinds of injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Commission has found that 37% of car accidents and crashes involve leg injuries and damage. Chiropractic physical rehabilitation and functional medicine can help heal injuries getting the individual back to everyday life.
Common leg injuries include:
Bruising and Cuts
Bruising and cuts are typical from the impact and the body getting slammed around. Lacerations can be noticed right away, but bruising comes from blood pooling underneath the skin and can take time to present, possibly 24 to 48 hours. Most bruises and cuts heal independently from home first aid care. A standard recovery used to take care of bruising is R.I.C.E or rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This helps the healing process; however, if the injury/s are more severe, chiropractic can help with therapeutic massage to relieve pain and strengthen the injured muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
The femur or thigh bone has several bands of tissue connecting it to the patella or kneecap and tibia or shin bone. One of the bands is the anterior cruciate ligament or ACL. Injuries to this band of tissue are common in sports. Car accidents and crashes are another common cause, specifically tearing the ligament. Individuals experiencing a tear may notice some or all of the following symptoms:
- A cracking or popping sound when the accident or crash took place.
- Swelling in and around the knee.
- Severe pain in and around the knee.
- Unstable and unsteady when walking or standing.
- Reduced range of motion that makes walking or moving difficult.
A chiropractor can help treat the injury and help correct any muscular imbalances.
Tears to the meniscus are also common in car accidents and crashes. The meniscus is a part of the knee. Two wedge-shaped pieces of cartilage provide a cushion where the femur and tibia meet to absorb shock. The wedges are called menisci.
- When the meniscus tears, individuals might feel or hear a pop and could feel the leg suddenly give out.
- Swelling in the knee.
- Some pain but still be able to walk.
- The knee will be stiff for the next few days.
- More difficulty bearing weight or walking.
The RICE method is a recommended method of self-care. Many meniscus tears do not require surgery to improve knee function. Mild to moderate meniscus tears can be successfully treated with chiropractic techniques like soft tissue work, corrective stretches, and exercises. Surgery could eventually be necessary for severe cases to repair the meniscus to prevent long-term complications.
Broken Crushed Bones
From the hips to the toes, the bottom half of the body bones are vulnerable to fractures. Physical trauma from prolonged pressure on the body can cause bones to get shattered from a crush injury. Crush injuries affect the bones, soft tissues, and other leg areas. Different forms of fractures range in severity. There are partial fractures that do not cause the bone to separate and complete fractures that break apart and open fractures that pierce the skin. Some fractures are hard to detect for up to several days.
Chiropractic care can help the body heal and recover from a bone fracture. A patient’s bone density is evaluated and tested with an individualized treatment plan to help regain and maintain optimal bone strength. The treatments strengthen the muscles, reduce stiffness, improve nutrition, and relieve pain. Manipulation adjustments, rehabilitation, relaxation techniques, and dietary health coaching help individuals heal faster and strengthen their bones. The objective is to help regain increased mobility and range of motion.
Car accidents and crashes are one instance where the spine can be damaged enough to bring on sciatic pain where no back problems were present before. The impact from a car accident can cause the discs to be knocked out of place, damaged, and/or rupture around the surrounding tissue. Any of these results can pinch the sciatic nerve, leading to pain and other sciatica symptoms. Chiropractic can realign the spine and relieve pressure from the nerve/s.
DOC Spinal Decompression Table
Non-Surgical Path To Pain-Free Living
Atkinson, T, and P Atkinson. “Knee injuries in motor vehicle collisions: a study of the National Accident Sampling System database for the years 1979-1995.” Accident; analysis and prevention vol. 32,6 (2000): 779-86. doi:10.1016/s0001-4575(99)00131-1
Foulk, David M, and Brian H Mullis. “Hip dislocation: evaluation and management.” The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons vol. 18,4 (2010): 199-209. doi:10.5435/00124635-201004000-00003
Reynolds, April. “The fractured femur.” Radiologic technology vol. 84,3 (2013): 273-91; quiz p.292-4.
Wilson, L S Jr et al. “Foot and ankle injuries in motor vehicle accidents.” Foot & ankle international vol. 22,8 (2001): 649-52. doi:10.1177/107110070102200806
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