When a part of the body is caught in between two things that are being pressed together by a high pressure, the resulting capture will leave that individual with a crush injury. Frequently unexpected, crush injuries are responsible for broken bones, severe bruising, bleeding, lacerations and compartment syndrome.
Crush injuries are common in car mishaps, falls and in any scenario that can lead to a structure collapsing. But there are also varying degrees of crush injuries, from knocking a finger in a door to limbs being caught and squashed for an extended period of time.
Symptoms of Crush Injury
Depending upon the seriousness of the crush injury, the symptoms will differ. For a minor injury (i.e. a finger in a door or dropping something on a toe) there can be bruising, lacerations and moderate pain. Nevertheless, the recovery time is considerably much shorter than a significant crush injury, as is the degree of the symptoms.
When it comes to a major crush injury, there is often serious damage below the skin, including tissues, organs, muscles and bones. A crush injury will often cut off the circulation of blood in the damaged appendage, causing serious muscle and tissue damage, in addition to numbness and possible paralysis.
There is also a much greater opportunity for infection in the broken tissues and muscles. The force of the effect can likewise cause serious damage to the skin, in many cases entirely eliminating layers and leaving the injury exposed to infection and defect. Infection can cause amputation in severe cases.
While many typical in crush injuries to the legs, compartment syndrome can take place in any part of the body that is crushed and trapped in between two things for too long.
When compartment syndrome is settling in, the first sign is severe pain, followed by the tingling sensation of “pins and needles” that a limb experiences when it is “sleeping” and after that ultimately paralysis of the limb.
As soon as the paralysis has set in, the pulse will be nonexistent in the impacted limb. A visual sign of compartment syndrome is swollen skin with a shiny look.
Treatment for Crush Injury
Actions for emergency treatment of a crush injury are:
- Stop bleeding by using direct pressure.
- Cover the area with a damp fabric or bandage. Then, raise the area above the level of the heart, if possible.
- If there is suspicion of a head, neck or spine injury, debilitate those areas if possible and after that limit motion to just the crushed area.
- Call your regional emergency situation number (such as 911) or regional healthcare facility for more suggestions.
When it comes to minor crush injuries, medical attention should not be needed. Just tidy the injury with fresh water, particularly if bleeding is present, to avoid infection. Apply ice to the point of injury and keep it compressed to ease pain.
Should there be considerable swelling and minimal or no mobility in the affected extremity, medical attention might be necessary in order to obtain an X-ray and identify if there is a break. Fractures are typically a cause of compartment syndrome.
If the injury is substantially greater with moderate to heavy bleeding, immediate medical attention is required!
In serious crush injuries, where compartment syndrome has actually currently set in or is unavoidable, immediate surgery (most likely a fasciotomy) will be needed to remove the pressure on the muscles and nerves.
If the injury is not treated right away, and compartment syndrome exists for significant time, then amputation may be needed.
Numerous cases of serious crush injury will require multiple surgeries to complete nerve and tendon repair work.
Crush injuries most often need to be evaluated in a hospital emergency situation department. Surgery might be required.
Good luck! Have a nice weekend!