When you are involved in a car accident, there are a variety of injuries that can occur depending on the severity, where in the car you are, and if you’re wearing a seatbelt. After any accident, you’ll want to seek care from an orthopedic doctor to evaluate you for any injuries, obvious or hidden. One of the most common side effects of a car accident can be broken bones. With over 200 bones in the body, breaks and fractures can appear in a variety of ways, some more severe than others. Below we will talk about the ten most common bones that can be broken in a car accident and the treatment options.
As a collision occurs, a person may try and brace themselves by instinctually putting their arms out in front of them. When they move due to the impact, this can cause any bones in the arm to break. Arms a very common area for broken bones and typically heal well with a cast.
Your wrist is composed of many fragile bones that can be broken easily. This often occurs during bracing, or when the wrist is caught in the wrong place and is crushed in some way. Because wrists break easily, they also heal more easily than many other bones.
The legs are particularly susceptible to injury when part of the car caves in, trapping the legs in the area between the floor and the dashboard. Severity can vary depending on the impact on the leg, but these fractures can heal with casts and in some instances physical therapy or surgery.
The femur, or the thigh bone, is one of the strongest bones in the body and yet is still commonly fractured in a car accident. This can occur due to the car crumpling or the action of bracing oneself for impact. Because the bone is thick, healing can take longer on the femur than other bones.
More commonly known as the collarbone, your clavicle is a fragile bone and can be broken easily. The clavicle is also near the seatbelt on many people, which can cause pressure that leads to breaks. Unlike extremities, a clavicle can’t be neatly put into a cast. The arm may be put into a cast to avoid movement and physical therapy will be a large component of healing.
Rib fractures can be caused by seatbelts as well as the impact of airbags. Like clavicles, ribs can’t be put into a cast and treatment will rely on rest and careful movement as the bones heal. Severe cases can also be treated with surgery.
In rear-end and head-on collisions, the thrashing of a body commonly causes fractured discs. This occurs when an individual disc is compressed. The majority of these fractures heal with rest, a back brace, and physical therapy. Sometimes surgery may be needed, in which case an orthopedic specialist will repair the bones for optimal healing and long-term health.
The hip is a joint that connects the thigh bone to the pelvis and is critical to our ability to move. Hips are also very commonly fractured, both in car accidents and through falls and other occurrences. Because of the complexity in the hip, healing may require screws, plates, and rods to stabilize the area and return full mobility.
While this can occur in a car accident, it’s actually more commonly an injury sustained by a motorcycle accident. When sustained, a pelvis fracture will require bed rest, physical therapy, and possibly the assistance of crutches to fully heal.
The most common cause of this injury is someone not wearing a seatbelt, allowing their head to strike the windshield on impact. Many of these fractures will heal on their own with time and pain management, though severe skull fractures can lead to complications or even brain damage.
If you have been in a car accident and sustained any fractured or broken bone, you will need to seek care from trusted orthopedic specialists. At AICI Orthopedics, our multidisciplinary team can evaluate your injuries and provide the best way to approach recovery. Using a holistic approach, AICA strives to address your injuries in the safest and most effective way possible. Contact us today for a consultation or full examination.