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Crush Injuries Create Risk of Compartment Syndrome

By Grant Law Office on February 13, 2020

person wearing bandage on injured knee

When excessive force is applied to the body, crush injuries can occur. This can happen in car accidents, construction cave-ins, and various types of accidents and injuries. Crush injuries can have many complications and may be associated with internal organ rupture, major bone fractures, and hemorrhagic shock. Among the most serious potential complications of crush injuries is compartment syndrome.

What Is Compartment Syndrome?

Groups of muscles and organs in the body are organized in areas called compartments. The walls of these compartments are composed of strong webs of connective tissue known as fascia. After crush injuries, blood and fluids may accumulate within a compartment. The tough fascia cannot easily expand, so pressure rises, preventing adequate blood flow to the area. This can cause severe tissue damage, loss of bodily function, or even death. This condition is known as compartment syndrome.

Where In the Body Does Compartment Syndrome Occur?

Compartment syndrome is found most often in the front compartment of the calf. Though, it can happen in other sections of the leg. Compartment syndrome also become a problem in the arms, hands, buttocks, abdomen, and feet.

Can Other Types of Injuries Cause Compartment Syndrome?

Crush injuries can lead to compartment syndrome. Car accidents, falls, and any accident in which the body sustains blunt force trauma can also create a risk for the syndrome. Fractures can cause this potentially life-threatening condition, due to pressure from bleeding and edema (excess watery tissue collected in the cavities or tissues of the body). Compartment syndrome can also develop with a badly bruised leg, as occurs when a motorcycle falls onto the leg of the rider. Finally, a cast or bandage which is too tight can cause compartment syndrome, particularly in young children who may not be able to communicate the severity of the pain.

What Are the Symptoms of Compartment Syndrome?

Symptoms of acute compartment syndrome may include:

  • Pain more intense than would be expected from the injury itself
  • Pain that increases with stretching or use of the muscles involved
  • Tingling or burning sensations in the skin
  • Tight or full feeling in the muscle
  • Numbness or paralysis (These are late signs of compartment syndrome that usually indicate permanent tissue injury.)

Compartment Syndrome Requires Immediate Medical Attention

Acute compartment syndrome is an emergency that requires immediate medical attention. It can develop rapidly in a matter of hours. If left untreated, compartment syndrome can cause permanent damage to muscles and nerves. The pressure must be surgically relieved quickly, or it could result in tissue death and permanent disability.

Who Is Liable for Crush Injuries and Compartment Syndrome?

If you have suffered crush injuries leading to compartment syndrome in an accident caused by the negligence of another, the at-fault party may be liable for your injuries. At Grant Law Office, we have successfully represented individuals who have suffered crush injuries and compartment syndrome. Our successes include a $5,000,000 recovery in a medical malpractice claim based on a physician’s failure to treat compartment syndrome, which resulted in permanent impairment and injury.

Call Grant Law Office at (404) 995-3955 to schedule a free consultation. Our husband and wife team of experienced Atlanta personal injury attorneys can explain your options under the law.

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