Everyone knows that car accidents can result in any number of short- and long-term injuries. Sudden deceleration can cause whiplash and herniated discs, rapidly deploying airbags can cause serious frictions burns, and even seatbelts can leave welts and bruises. However, not many people know that you can incur injuries from spending too much time in your car, or even avoiding a collision for that matter. There are a number of “overlooked” injuries that car crash victims are at risk of developing.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. According to the National Institute of Health, “Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The result may be pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm.” Carpal tunnel can be caused by repeated trauma to the wrist (as in frequent, sudden stops) or by the constant stress of holding your steering wheel for hours at a time.
- Foot fractures. Foot fractures can have devastating complications. The many small bones of the foot are delicate, and even the simple act of stepping too hard on the brake pedal to avoid an accident can cause a fracture. Once fractured, pain can be intermittent and misdiagnosed, which can lead to more damage over time if the foot heals improperly. In diabetics, the consequences can be disastrous. A minor fracture can result in Charcot foot, a condition wherein the fractured foot bones fuse and twist. Charcot foot can and often does result in amputation.
- Shoulder injuries. Shoulder injuries can be particularly insidious. They can be difficult to diagnose without an MRI and cause different types of pain that can reduce both strength and range of motion. When the shoulder is compromised, other activities can exacerbate the damage and result in full tears requiring surgery to correct. Labrum tears and rotator cuff injuries can be the result of near miss accidents or avoidance maneuvers while driving. The shoulder is a complicated joint; the labrum serves many functions, but a tear of this type of cartilage can result in shoulder dislocations and severe pain. The rotator cuff refers to the various parts of the should joint that can all be injured in various ways, not least of which are sudden shocks from abrupt stops or extreme movement (as in avoidance maneuvers).
As our vehicles get smarter, it’s important to remember that all the bells and whistles in the world can’t protect everyone all of the time. In many cases, after a collision there is often a period of time immediately following the wreck where individuals that have been hit do not know they are actually injured due to the high amount of adrenaline being produced by the body. If you have suffered a latent injury or an injury which has evolved over time as result of a sudden impact of a vehicle wreck or any other injury in your vehicle, please contact us for a free consultation.