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Can a Car Accident Cause a Stress Fracture?

You may have heard about stress fractures and may associate them with repetitive use injuries. However, if you were recently injured in a car collision, you should know that a car accident can cause a stress fracture.

Due to the force involved in collisions, car accidents can cause a number of different injuries, including stress fractures. Read on to learn more about stress fractures in car accidents.

Stress Fractures Are a Type of Bone Injury

The Mayo Clinic defines stress fractures as “tiny cracks in a bone” and notes that they occur most commonly in weight-bearing bones, such as the lower leg or foot. However, this type of injury can also occur in the hip or lower back.

How Stress Fractures Form

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) characterizes stress fractures as an “overuse injury.” Repetitive force can wear down the muscle, which can then no longer take extra force to the area. This is common in activities like long-distance running and jump-roping. The overworked muscle transfers the extra stress to a nearby bone, which causes the stress fracture. Pre-existing conditions like osteoporosis can also cause stress fractures.

Because a car accident may apply a significant amount of force to an already susceptible part of the body, this type of trauma can also cause stress fractures. Stress fractures may occur in car accidents when the victim:

  • Slams into a hard surface in the vehicle
  • Is propelled back and forth in the vehicle
  • Is hit by an item in the vehicle
  • Has their body crushed in place

The Eggshell Plaintiff Doctrine

You might be worried that you may not be able to obtain compensation for a stress fracture that developed after a car accident if you already had issues with that part of the body. However, under the “Eggshell Plaintiff Doctrine,” even if you were more susceptible to injury (like a plaintiff whose skull is as thin as an eggshell), you still have the right to recover compensation from the defendant if their negligence caused your injury.

Stress Fractures Often Produce Symptoms of Pain that Worsen Over Time

The AAOS says that the most common complaint associated with stress fractures is experiencing pain when engaging in an activity and that the pain often subsides with rest. However, Mayo Clinic states that stress fractures tend to worsen over time and may not immediately be noticeable. Tenderness may begin at a specific spot, and you may experience swelling around the painful area.

Diagnosis of Stress Fractures

A doctor can diagnose a stress fracture after medical consultation and/or after reviewing the results of diagnostic tests. A doctor can ask about a patient’s risk factors to determine if a stress fracture may be a possibility. The doctor can also order X-rays to determine if a stress fracture is present. MRI or CT scans are sometimes used if the injury does not appear on a regular X-ray.

Treatment of Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are often treated by resting the affected portion of the body. Additionally, physical activity may need to be altered to prevent the injury from worsening or another injury from forming. It often takes six to eight weeks to heal from this type of injury.

Stress fractures that are not treated at an early stage can cause severe pain and complications, such as larger stress fractures, reinjury, or displaced fractures, in which the bone moves out of normal alignment.

In some cases, a patient may be given special shoe inserts or braces to help the injuries heal.

If your accident was caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for the medical expenses you incurred, the wages you lost while off work, and your pain and suffering.

Seek Medical Attention if You Think You Have a Stress Fracture

If you were recently injured in a car accident, watch out for the Cleveland Clinic’s symptoms of a stress fracture:

  • Pain or swelling at the site of the injury
  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Pain that begins while completing a physical activity that may or may not go away with rest
  • Pain that arises while resting, completing normal activities, or while walking
  • Pain that worsens when hopping on one leg
  • Inability to shift weight or hop on the affected leg or foot

If you experience these symptoms, seek medical attention.

Contact the Cochran Firm – Nashville for a Free Case Review

So, can a car accident cause a stress fracture? Yes, but so can many other things. Because of that, you may need to be prepared for the insurance company to try to deny your claim on the basis of a pre-existing injury.

Learn more about your rights and how to pursue compensation for a personal injury by contacting The Cochran Firm – Nashville. You can discuss your case with one of our team members in a free consultation by calling 615-678-6278.

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