Car crashes put you at risk for a variety of injuries, depending on how the crash happens and how your body is affected. If your hands or wrists hit something or get stretched too far, you could suffer various injuries that could affect you for a long time.
While these types of injuries may be considered minor in comparison to injuries like concussions or spinal cord injuries, hand and wrist injuries can be quite significant. You need your hands, fingers and wrists for various tasks each day, which means pain or limited movement could be highly disruptive to your everyday life.
Below, we discuss hand and wrist injuries that could be caused by a car crash and how they could affect you each day. Our experienced Harrisburg auto accident attorneys are prepared to help you seek compensation for your car crash injuries, at no upfront cost to you.
Wrist Fractures and Dislocations
You could suffer injuries to the bones in your hands and wrists and/or injuries to the soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc.). However, sometimes a bone injury is accompanied by soft-tissue damage. Even though you could break up hand and wrist injuries into bone injuries and soft-tissue injuries, they may appear together.
How a Car Crash Could Break a Bone or Cause a Dislocation
Typically, bones are broken because of blunt force trauma. For example, you could hit your hand or wrist on the steering wheel or dashboard and break a bone. In a catastrophic crash, your hand or wrist could get stuck between two things and you could suffer a crush injury. This includes broken bones and soft-tissue damage.
The fingers on each of your hands have 14 bones, which are called phalanges. Your fingers are connected to your palm by metacarpal bones. You also have eight carpal bones that connect your wrist to your hand. Those bones then connect to the radius and ulna.
Any of these bones could be fractured in a car crash. You could sustain a complete or partial break. A scaphoid fracture, which is a break in the wrist, is a common car crash wrist injury. The scaphoid bone is the smallest bone in your wrist, which is why it has the highest risk of breaking when it suffers trauma.
Some crash victims may suffer what is called a distal radius fracture, which is a fracture of the large bone in the forearm.
Sometimes the bones themselves do not break but become dislocated. One of the joints in your wrist, fingers or hands could move out of place. If the joint only becomes partially separated it is known as a subluxation. The complete separation of a joint is known as luxation.
It is important to note if a dislocated joint is not treated properly, you may have permanent damage to your hand.
Soft-Tissue Damage from a Crash
Soft-tissue injuries occur for a variety of reasons. Often, crash victims tense up before and during a collision, which helps channel the energy from the collision directly into soft tissues. This can result in sprains, strains and tears to muscles, ligaments or tendons.
For example, tensing up and strengthening your grip on the steering wheel could lead to a sprained or strained wrist. If your wrist is moved too far in one direction, you could suffer a torn ligament. Often, you need surgery to repair a torn ligament.
Ligaments are often damaged when a joint is dislocated. If the ligament is in your wrist, a tear could result in severe inflammation. If the ligament presses on the median nerve, you could develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Common signs of carpal tunnel include tingling or numbness in your fingers or hands. The pain often shoots up your arm.
Tendinitis could develop after a car crash wrist injury because of inflammation caused by a fracture. Tendinitis refers to severe inflammation that can severely restrict range of motion. This is often accompanied by significant pain.
Sprains are also common wrist injuries. They affect muscles and ligaments in the hands. They range in severity from grade one to grade three, with grade three being the most severe. A grade three sprain is when there is a complete tear. Sometimes the tear carries small pieces of bone, which is known as an avulsion fracture. If you suffer this injury, you probably need surgery.
A grade two sprain refers to a partial tear that may not need surgery. It is often best to keep the area immobilized to allow it to heal on its own.
While a grade one sprain is the least severe, you could still have significant inflammation. You should be able to treat it with ice and heat.
Minor Injuries That Accompany Wrist and Hand Injuries
Hand and wrist injuries may be accompanied by lacerations, puncture wounds, bruises, abrasions and minor cuts. However, a laceration can be quite severe, depending on how deep the cut goes.
It is important to seek treatment immediately and not assume an injury is minor. Allow a doctor to determine the severity of an injury.
What are the Common Symptoms of a Wrist Injury?
There are numerous symptoms of a wrist injury to watch for following a car crash. Pain is one of the most obvious ones. If you feel significant pain, you may have broken a bone. If you have pain that seems to limit range of motion, you may have a sprain or strain.
Other hand or wrist injury symptoms may include:
- Tingling sensation
- Trouble grabbing things
- Stiffness in your joints
- Tender to the touch
- Having trouble straightening your fingers, wrists or hands
- Burning sensation
- Warm sensation in your wrists or hands
Crash victims often downplay the severity of their symptoms. They may think the pain will probably go away in a few days. However, sometimes symptoms take a few hours or days to get worse. If you wait for treatment, symptoms could worsen, and your injuries may be more difficult to treat.
Another problem with waiting to seek treatment is it could become more difficult to link your injury to the crash. You need to prove your injury was caused by the crash to recover compensation for medical treatment and other damages.
Medical imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans and/or MRIs may be necessary to confirm the injury.
Call Schmidt Kramer for Legal Help After a Crash
For more than three decades our firm has been assisting car crash victims and victims of other types of accidents. We have obtained millions on behalf of our clients and are ready to help you secure full compensation for your damages.
An initial consultation with one of our experienced lawyers is free of charge and you are not obligated to hire our firm afterward.
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