Orthopedic injuries—injuries to the bones and muscles—are common in people who are very active or who may be getting older. These types of injuries can be a result of a person’s lifestyle, such as an injury from sports, or the result of an accident, such as a slip and fall.
Orthopedic injuries in Maryland may resolve with rest and time, but others require surgical interventions and the use of prosthetic implants to fix the damage and relieve pain. Surgery and prosthetics can put people at increased risks for additional complications. When complications occur because of a defective medical device or negligence, a patient may choose to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor, hospital, or medical device manufacturer.
Possible Causes of Orthopedic Injuries
Many factors can cause injuries to the bones, muscles, tendons, and joints. Lifestyle and everyday activities such as exercise, contact sports, accidents or accidental falls can put someone at risk for injury. Orthopedic injuries cause pain and sometimes require surgery, increasing a person’s risk for additional complications and health problems.
Common orthopedic injuries are no exception and are often caused by everyday life and activities. Wrist fractures can be caused by a simple fall on an outstretched hand, and activities like contact sports can put a person at risk for a myriad of orthopedic injuries, like knee dislocations, ankle and foot sprains, meniscus tears, and more.
Even though everyday activities put the body at risk of orthopedic trauma, that shouldn’t stop you from getting up and getting moving. Exercising helps build strong bones and muscles that can prevent injuries from happening in the first place. If you’re thinking of starting a new exercise regimen, you should first speak with your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough for exercise.
Most Common Orthopedic Injuries
Just like there are many different bones, muscles, tendons, and joints in the body, there are many different kinds of orthopedic injuries. But some of these injuries are more common than others.
The most common injuries include:
- Stress Fractures
- Foot And Ankle Sprains
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Shoulder Dislocation
- Rotator Cuff Tear
- ACL Tear
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Tennis Elbow
Stress fractures are small cracks in the bone caused by overused muscles. When muscles become fatigued and are no longer able to absorb shock, they may transfer that shock to the bone and cause small cracks or fractures. Stress fractures are typically treated with rest and sometimes surgery.
Foot and ankle sprains
Sprains happen when the ligaments are wrenched or twisted hard enough to cause pain and swelling but not a break. Foot and ankle sprains are extremely common, with an estimated 2 million people spraining their ankle every year. Usually, rest and compression are enough to heal the sprain, but some may require surgery.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome can happen when the main nerve in the hand is squeezed and compressed, causing pain, numbness, and tingling. Carpal tunnel is typical in people who work long hours typing at a computer or who make repetitive motions with their hands like on an assembly line.
A shoulder can become dislocated from its joint causing acute pain and swelling. It is often the result of a sports injury or other trauma. When a shoulder is dislocated once, it is more likely to happen again.
Rotator cuff tears
The rotator cuff helps the shoulder move in circular motions. When too much stress is put on the rotator cuff, it increases the risk of tears. A rotator cuff tear causes pain and limited mobility. Depending on how severe the injury is, rest and a shoulder brace may be enough to heal the tear. Some tears, however, do require surgery.
ACL tears happen when the anterior cruciate ligament—the main ligament in the knee—tears as a result of sudden or abrupt movements. These types of injuries are common among athletes and sometimes require surgery.
The plantar fascia is the ligament that runs through the toes and heel and can cause severe pain and swelling when stressed. Plantar fasciitis is the primary cause of heel pain, and rest, better shoes, and decreased activity are typically the first line of treatment used to address the problem.
Tennis elbow is a colloquial term for an injury caused to the tendons around the elbow. When these tendons are stressed by repetitive, weight-bearing motions of the wrist and arm, a person can experience tennis elbow. Rest is typically the best method of treatment.
Treatment Options and Risks
There are many different options to treat orthopedic injuries. The method used will depend on the type of injury and overall health of the injured person. Treatment usually includes an array of techniques, including rest, physical therapy, surgery, and pain management.
You should discuss the possible treatment options with your doctor or orthopedic surgeon. Together, you can make an informed decision about your health. It is essential to consider the benefits and risks of each treatment option because some can put you at increased risk for additional complications.
Surgery is one such treatment method that should be discussed at length with your doctor. The operation itself poses risks of infection and adverse reactions to anesthesia, and prosthetic implants may also be used during surgery to repair the damage. These implants can put patients at increased risk for not only infection but device failure, loosening, and the need for additional operations. There are thousands of lawsuits currently pending in state and federal courts nationwide against manufacturers of faulty knee and hip implants.
Another potentially risky treatment option is pain management, especially when opioids are prescribed. Prescription opioids like Vicodin and OxyContin increase a patient’s risk for developing opioid addiction and overdose. The current opioid epidemic in the US is a clear indication that these drugs are potentially dangerous, even when used under the direction of a doctor for managing chronic pain.
Personal Injury Orthopedics
When an orthopedic injury leads to further complications, the injured person may choose to take legal action against a doctor, hospital, or medical device manufacturer. Lawsuits against medical device manufacturers are typically called personal injury cases in which a person—the plaintiff—accuses the company of manufacturing a defective product and failing to warn about its risks.
In these types of cases, an orthopedic specialist may be brought in to evaluate the plaintiff’s injuries and make a medical assessment, determining the extent and potential cause of the injury. Attorneys and lawyers use doctors on liens to help identify the severity of the injury. These doctors may even perform surgery to correct the patient’s injury.
These doctors are an essential aspect of personal injury cases involving orthopedic injuries, and these types of lawsuits are a necessary tool for patients harmed by the negligence of medical device manufacturers.
Consult a Maryland orthopedic injury lawyer to discuss your legal options.
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- Dr. Leon Mead. “10 Most Common Orthopedic Injuries.” http://leonmeadmd.com/10-common-orthopedic-injuries/. Accessed Sept. 30, 2018.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Prescription Opioids.” https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/prescribed.html. Accessed Sept. 30, 2018.
- AAFP. “Pain Management and Opioid Abuse.” https://www.aafp.org/patient-care/public-health/pain-opioids.html. Accessed Sept. 30, 2018.
- Power Liens. “Orthopedic Surgeons and Your Personal Injury Case.” http://powerliens.com/pages/orthopedic-surgeons-personal-injury-case/. Accessed Sept. 30, 2018.
- OrthoInfo. “Stress Fractures.” American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/stress-fractures/. Access Sept. 30, 2018.
- OrthoInfo. “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.” American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/. Accessed Sept. 30, 2018.