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Car accidents and compartment syndrome

Many different injuries can result from car accidents. People tend to think about the common injuries like broken bones or head injuries, but those aren't the only injuries that a person might face if they are in a bad crash.

One injury that's not necessarily uncommon is compartment syndrome. This condition impacts the muscles and can turn from exquisitely painful to life-threatening quickly. When you are involved in an accident, you need to pay attention to how your muscles feel so that you might be able to spot a potential issue. Here are some features of compartment syndrome of which you should be aware:

Impact to the compartment

A compartment is the space beneath the fascia that contains muscles, blood vessels and nerves in the arms and legs. When there is bleeding or swelling within the compartment, there isn't anywhere for it to go because the fascia doesn't expand. It remains rigid since it is meant to keep these structures in place. As the pressure builds, the blood supply to the nerves and vessels in the compartment decreases. This lack of blood supply means that the muscles and nerves aren't getting the oxygen and nutrients that they need.

Symptoms of compartment syndrome

The primary symptom of compartment syndrome is extreme pain. This is much worse than what you would expect from only the injury. You might feel like the muscle is full or like your skin is tingling. The symptoms might worsen when you have to use the muscle. If the injury is allowed to progress, there is a chance that you will feel numbness. This is a sign that permanent injury has occurred. If you suspect that you're suffering from this condition, you should immediately head to the emergency room to have your arm or leg evaluated.

Emergency treatment

You will need emergency treatment if you have compartment syndrome. In many cases, surgery is necessary to relieve the pressure within the compartment. Even if you do get prompt medical care, there is a chance that you will still suffer from long-lasting impacts on your body. There is the possibility of prolonged nerve damage and muscle deterioration that come from this condition being left untreated too long. On top of these long-lasting impacts, you also have to face the recovery from the surgery and the aftermath that comes along with rehabilitation.

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