ARM AND LEG INJURIES

Our arms and legs are made up of bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels. An injury to any of these body parts can lead to serious complications.

BROKEN BONES

Broken bones and fractures are serious.  Bones typically break when enough force is applied, such as when you hit the dashboard of a vehicle during an accident.  We also see people with broken bones after car wrecks, workplace accidents, serious falls, and physical assaults.  Some fractures require surgery.  During surgery, an orthopedic surgeon may use metal plates, pins, or rods to stabilize the bone and help it heal properly.

There are several types of fractures, some more serious than others.  With a stable fracture, the broken ends of the bone remain in alignment.  Transverse fractures produce horizontal fracture lines, while oblique fractures result in an angled pattern.  Comminuted fractures and open compound fractures are more serious than the other types.  When someone sustains a comminuted fracture, the bone shatters into several pieces.  An open, compound fracture results in damage to the skin over the broken bone.  In some cases, the bone pierces the skin, causing additional damage.

It may take several months for a fracture to heal.  During this time, an injured person often cannot use the affected limb, making it very difficult to work, participate in his or her favorite activities, or perform simple daily activities we take for granted (which doctors often call the “activities of daily living”).  In addition to the medical bills that mount up, you may need to pay for help with basic tasks such as washing clothes, preparing meals, or taking care of your home.  When someone else’s negligence causes the injury, the law allows the injured person to receive compensation for the bills, the pain, and the changes to his or her life.

ROTATOR CUFF INJURIES

The rotator cuff helps keep your upper arm bone anchored in your shoulder socket.  It also helps you move your shoulder.  Rotator cuff tears often require surgical treatment to relieve pain and restore function.

  • Arthroscopic repair involves the use of a scope connected to a video monitor. The surgeon inserts the scope through a small incision, views the inside of the shoulder, and makes repairs as needed.
  • During an open repair, the surgeon makes an incision and moves the deltoid muscle out of the way. It takes longer to recover from an open surgery than it does to recover from an arthroscopic repair.
  • Mini-open repair is a combination of the arthroscopic and open procedures. The surgeon uses an arthroscope to remove damaged tissue before making an incision to repair the rotator cuff injury.

After rotator cuff surgery, the arm must be immobilized for four to six weeks, making it difficult to perform normal activities—even mundane tasks like getting dressed in the morning.

DISLOCATED JOINTS

A joint is the connection between two bones.  When the bones separate, doctors often say that a “dislocation” has occurred.  We often see people with dislocated joints after serious falls or accidents.

Dislocations cause intense pain, especially if you put weight on the affected joint.  Swelling, bruising, limited movement, numbness and tingling, and discoloration of the skin are some of the other symptoms of a dislocation.  This type of injury is sometimes treated with a procedure called reduction, which is when a doctor manipulates the bones back into place.  Reduction is extremely painful, so it is usually done under sedation or anesthesia.

NERVE DAMAGE

Several nerves control movement and sensation in the arms and legs:

  • Brachial plexus nerve
  • Ulnar nerve
  • Sciatic nerve
  • Median nerve
  • Radial nerve
  • Femoral nerve
  • Lateral femoral cutaneous nerve
  • Tibial nerve
  • Spinal accessory nerve

Damage to any of these nerves makes it difficult to move the affected limb.  Such nerve damage can cause increased sensitivity to touch, tingling or prickling sensations, burning, numbness, pain, or reduced sensation.  Severe damage can make it difficult to walk, sense temperatures and textures, or maintain normal body position.

In some cases, nerve damage is treated with surgery.  During the procedure, a surgeon sews the insulation found at both ends of the damaged nerve.  This allows new nerve fibers to grow.  Although the surgery is helpful for many patients, it may take up to a year for feeling to return to the injured area.  Nerve grafting, which is when a surgeon removes a piece of nerve from another part of the body and grafts it to the injured nerve, may be necessary in cases of severe damage.

AMPUTATIONS

An amputation is the loss of one or more body parts in an accident.  This injury has devastating consequences.

After an amputation, the victim may need surgery to stop blood loss and preserve the remaining tissue.  The recovery process is difficult, as an amputee must adjust to the realities of losing an arm or leg.  Some people even experience phantom limb pain, which is a painful sensation that feels like it is coming from the missing part of the limb.

MENISCUS TEARS

Each of your knees has two menisci, which are rubbery discs that keep the knee steady.  An injury to the menisci can cause difficulty walking and maintaining your balance.  If conservative treatment methods don’t work, surgery may be the best option.  During a meniscus repair, a surgeon repairs the tear by sewing it.  If meniscus repair doesn’t work, the accident victim may need a partial meniscectomy or total meniscectomy, which is when the surgeon removes part or all of the torn meniscus.  Total meniscectomy is usually done as a last resort because removal of the meniscus increases the risk of arthritis in the joint.

ULNAR NERVE ENTRAPMENT

The ulnar nerve runs near the ulna, which is one of the bones in the forearm.  If the nerve is constricted, the resulting numbness and tingling in the fingers can make it difficult to perform simple tasks.  During cubital tunnel release, the surgeon cuts part of the ligament covering the cubital tunnel, which is the channel where the ulnar nerve travels over the elbow.  This makes the tunnel bigger, relieving pressure on the ulnar nerve.

PHYSICAL THERAPY AND REHABILITATION

All of the injuries and surgeries we’ve just described are painful in themselves.  But once the surgery is complete, intense and painful physical therapy comes next.

MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS

Motor vehicle accidents are another common cause of arm and leg injuries.  Many wrecks occur when careless drivers disregard Georgia’s traffic laws.  Our firm has extensive experience going after careless drivers who leave seriously injured people in their wake.

There’s no way to turn back the clock and erase your injury, but we can help you get what you need to pay your medical bills, make up for lost wages, compensate you for your pain and suffering, and ensure your future needs are met.  Our firm is prepared to fight for your rights every step of the way.

WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS

Many arm and leg injuries are the result of workplace accidents.  Machines with sharp blades can cause serious damage.  Any job involving scaffolding or suspended walkways comes with an increased risk of broken bones or dislocated joints due to falls.  Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers must provide safe working environments for their employees.

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