What is Trauma?
Trauma is defined as a sudden incident causing physical injury. It is a broad term describing all types of injuries affecting the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves, blood vessels, or bones that most commonly occur during sports, exercise, or any other physical activity. Trauma may be a result of accidents, poor training practices, insufficient warm-up and stretching exercises, or from use of improper gear. The term is wide-ranging and may include sprains, strains, minor fractures, dislocations, or serious broken bones with a direct threat to the patient’s life.
Causes of Trauma
Some of the common causes of trauma include:
- Motor vehicle collision
- High-impact sport injury
- Slips and falls
- Gunshot wounds
- Industrial accidents
Symptoms of Trauma
Trauma to the soft tissues and bones may accompany several potential symptoms, such as:
- Severe pain
- Inability to bear weight
- Inability to lift or turn the injured part
- Pins and needles sensation
- Bone sticking out of the skin
Diagnosis of Trauma
To diagnose the problem, your doctor will review your medical history and details of the accident along with performing a thorough physical examination to check for tenderness, inflammation, pain, range of motion, and weight-bearing ability. Further, imaging tests such as X-rays, CT and MRI scans will be ordered to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for Trauma
The treatment for trauma injuries includes both non-surgical and surgical methods. Non-surgical methods are the initial line of management and include:
- Restriction of movement of the injured part through splints, braces, etc.
- Heat or cold treatment that may relieve pain and accelerate the repair process
- Exercise and physical therapy to help in stretching and strengthening the injured muscles
- Medication such as anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics
In cases where non-surgical methods are not effective, a surgical approach may be required to reduce fractured bones, or repair or reconstruct torn ligaments and tendons. Some of the surgical methods employed include:
- Open reduction and internal fixation: In this approach, an incision is made over the fractured bone to expose the fracture. The fragments of bone are realigned and stabilized with metal wires, screws, pins, and plates. The incision is closed and dressed, and the affected bone is placed in a splint, shoe, boot, or cast to promote healing.
- Percutaneous screw fixation: For some types of fractures, reduction can be achieved with a closed manipulation of the affected bone using X-ray. The bone can either be pushed or pulled to set it into place without making a large incision. This method, called percutaneous fracture fixation, can be performed with one or more small incisions instead of the traditional large incision, through which the implants are fixed.
- Arthroscopy: This is a minimally invasive surgery where a flexible fiberoptic tube with a high-intensity light and camera attached at the end, called an arthroscope, is used to view the affected joint and guide miniature instruments to remove fragments of torn ligament, bone, or cartilage from within the joint.
- Reconstruction: Torn ligaments can be surgically repaired with sutures or replaced with a graft, which can be another ligament and/or tendon retrieved from another part of the body.
- Fusion: In cases of severe injury, damaged bones are fused together so that they heal into one single bone. This limits movement in the joint.
- Joint replacement: This involves the surgical reconstruction and replacement of damaged joints, using artificial body parts, or prosthetics.
The break or fracture of the clavicle (collarbone) is a common sports injury associated with contact sports such as football and martial arts, as well as impact sports such as motor racing.
Fractures of the proximal humerus are common in elderly individuals suffering from osteoporosis. In younger individuals, a severe trauma such as a fall from a height on an outstretched hand or motor vehicle accident can cause these fractures.
Elbow fractures may occur from trauma, resulting from various reasons: a fall on an outstretched arm, a direct blow to the elbow or an abnormal twist to the joint beyond its functional limit.
Radial head fractures are very common and occur in almost 20% of acute elbow injuries. Elbow dislocations are generally associated with radial head fractures.
Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) of the radial head is a surgical technique employed for the treatment of a radial head fracture to restore normal anatomy and improve range of motion and function.
The arm in the human body is made up of three bones that join to form a hinge joint called the elbow. The upper arm bone or humerus connects from the shoulder to the elbow to form the top of the hinge joint.
The forearm is made up of 2 bones, namely, the radius and ulna. The primary function of your forearm is rotation i.e., the ability to turn your palm up and down. The fracture of the forearm affects the ability to rotate your arm, as well as bend and straighten the wrist and elbow.
The wrist is comprised of two bones in the forearm, the radius and ulna, and eight tiny carpal bones in the palm. The bones meet to form multiple large and small joints. A wrist fracture refers to a break in one or more of these bones.
The forearm consists of two bones, the radius and ulna. The radius is the larger of the two forearm bones, and the region towards the wrist is called the distal end. A fracture or break in the distal end of the radius bone is known as a distal radius fracture.
Fingers are fine structures of the human body that assist in daily routine activities through coordinated movements. Any abnormality affecting the fingers can have a huge impact on the quality of life.
A hip fracture is a break that occurs near the hip in the upper part of the femur or thighbone. The thighbone has two bony processes on the upper part - the greater and lesser trochanters.
Total hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which the damaged cartilage and bone are removed from the hip joint and replaced with artificial components.
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint made up of the head of the thigh bone or femur that acts as the ball and fits into the rounded socket of the hip bone or acetabulum.
A femoral shaft fracture is a crack or break anywhere along the long and straight section of the femur (thighbone) due to high-energy trauma or low-energy trauma in osteoporotic patients.
The femur or thigh bone is the longest and strongest bone in the body, connecting the hip to the knee. A femur fracture is a break in the femur.
A tibial plateau fracture is a crack or break on the top surface of the tibia or shinbone in the knee joint.
The lower leg is made up of two long bones called the tibia and fibula that extend between the knee and ankle and help form the ankle joint and knee joint.
Ankle injuries are very common in athletes and individuals performing physical work; often resulting in severe pain and impaired mobility. Pain after ankle injuries can either be from a torn ligament (ankle sprain) or broken bone (ankle fracture).
The metatarsal bones are the long bones in your feet. There are five metatarsal bones in each foot. The fifth metatarsal is the long bone that is located on the outside of the foot and connects to the small toe.
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