While common in crashes, elbow injuries may be hard to detect
Elbow damage is a frequent type of car accident injury that isn't always easy to detect right away.
Sometimes, after a bad car accident, seriously injured people assume that if they can move their elbows, they must be fine. But everyone should know: Even a fractured elbow may still bend, and traumatic joint pain can be delayed. It is always a good idea to see a doctor with experience in treating car accident injuries as soon as possible after a crash.
Left untreated, elbow injuries can result in permanent damage like a long-term disability, deformity, neurovascular compromise, or degenerative arthritis. A skilled and knowledgeable doctor or surgeon can help you heal, adapt, and/or prevent worsening damage.
Car accident elbow injuries
At Island Musculoskeletal Care (IMC Bone Doc), our orthopedic doctors and surgeons treat people injured in New York City car accidents every day. Here's some information to raise awareness about car accident-related elbow injuries and recovery options.
First, here are some common elbow injuries:
- Elbow dislocation - Dislocation frequently occurs following forceful impact to an outstretched hand. Left untreated, elbow dislocation can lead to osteoarthritis.
- Fractured elbow - Like we mentioned earlier: Don't be fooled if you can still move your elbow after a bad crash. The joint may still be fractured or broken.
- Elbow (olecranon) bursitis - This painful injury happens when the fluid-filled sac, the bursa, at the tip of the elbow becomes inflamed.
- Contracture - This injury describes damage that limits the range of an elbow's motion, usually to less than 45 degrees.
- Compartment syndrome - An injury to muscles, compartment syndrome can result from an elbow injury. CS happens when pressure within a muscle builds up to dangerous levels. This pressure can decrease blood flow and cut off oxygen and nutrients to the area.
Treatment options for an elbow injury
Orthopedic doctors and surgeons have many options when treating an elbow injury. They include:
- Physical therapy - Car accident victims are often referred to physical therapists to treat elbow stiffness or contracture. While physical therapy can often heal this injury, sometimes capsular release surgery is necessary to relieve it.
- Arthroscopy surgery - Sometimes known as "keyhole surgery" this procedure is minimally invasive and applicable to small, complex elbows. The surgery treats damaged cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.
- Elbow tendon and ligament repair surgery - Common ones include tendon debridement (removing damaged tendon tissue), tendon release (removing scar tissue), and ligament reconstruction.
- Elbow ligament reconstruction surgery - This involves rebuilding the tough, flexible tissue known as ligaments that connect elbow bones. Ligaments rebuilt often include the annular, radial collateral, and ulnar collateral ligaments.
- Total elbow replacement - Also known as elbow arthroplasty, this procedure involves replacing the elbow joint with an artificial joint designed to provide smooth, pain-free movement.
Our surgeons also treat individuals who sustain elbow injuries at work, whether the injury occurred due to a direct fall or blow to the elbow or it developed over time due to wear and tear from repetitive motion (e.g., twisting, turning, lifting, typing, operating machinery, etc.). Whether you suffered an elbow injury in a car accident or at work, it’s critical to get examined, diagnosed, and treated as soon as possible.
Find out how our New York orthopedic surgeons can help you with your elbow injury
After you suffer an elbow injury, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Low-quality medical care can result in post-treatment infections and the need for additional surgeries.
Island Musculoskeletal Care (IMC Bone Doc) surgeons have more than 100 years of combined experience. Because insurance companies frequently pay for NYC accident-related treatment, our team understands how to work with the no-fault car insurance system too. That means your medical care may not cost you anything.
The same goes for those who suffer an injury in a workplace accident, as your employer's workers' compensation insurance may cover all your medical bills. Regardless of whether you were hurt in a motor vehicle crash or at work, our office will assist with all workers' compensation and no-fault forms so you can focus on what matters most — your recovery.
If you were injured in a car accident or hurt at work, contact us to schedule an appointment at one of our seven locations in NYC and Long Island. Don't wait or assume you are "okay" after an accident. Delayed pain and symptoms of serious conditions you may not even be aware of may be detected by a doctor. Visit us online to see our available times and book an appointment.