When you are in a motor vehicle crash, you have to think about serious injuries that you might suffer. Commonly, you will have broken bones, bruises and lacerations. There are some instances in which you end up having a more serious injury like one to the spinal cord or brain.
Anyone who suffers an injury in an accident should pay close attention to how they feel. Your seemingly minor injuries could turn into something much worse. Compartment syndrome is an example of this.
Chronic versus acute
People who have heard of compartment syndrome are likely more familiar with the chronic version of this condition. This one occurs when athletes train too hard and exert their muscles too much. This isn't a medical emergency, but would require that you visit the doctor.
In the case of acute compartment syndrome, exertion has no part in it. This is a medical emergency because the effects can be permanent, severe and debilitating.
Causes and symptoms of acute compartment syndrome
Crush injuries, bruised muscle tissue and fractured bones all come with a risk of compartment syndrome. The worse your injury, the more likely you are to develop compartment syndrome.
If you feel intense pain in the region of the injury, particularly when stretching the area or using it, you might have compartment syndrome. Typically, this pain is much worse than what you would expect for the injury. You may feel pressure in the area. It might feel like it is full. It may be numb or tingle. All of these are due to the pressure that is on the muscle.
Treatment and healing
Unfortunately, there are no nonsurgical treatments for compartment syndrome. You will need surgery right away to relieve the pressure on the muscle. The doctor will cut the skin and the fascia covering the compartment. The severity of the swelling determines when the doctors will be able to close the incision.
Acute compartment syndrome can take a long time to fully heal. You might feel some effects of it, such as muscle fatigue, even after you are medically cleared to resume normal activities. This injury might make it difficult for you to work and the medical bills can be costly. For this reason, you can pursue compensation if the automobile accident was another driver's fault.