When the topic of car accident related injuries comes up, many of us think immediately of concussions, whiplash, or cuts and bruises. But the hip is both commonly injured in accidents, as well as a critical joint for mobility, and any damage done to this area can cause long term issues.
If you suffer from hip pain after a car accident, it is important to seek treatment quickly to prevent any further damage from occurring. As the most load bearing joint in the body, hips have a huge impact on your ability to move freely and quality of life.
Common Hip Injuries After Car Accidents
The impact of a crash may cause your body to experience trauma in a number of ways, including injuries to the hips. Depending on the accident’s severity, injuries can range from mild to critical and will require different care based on these factors. Below are some of the common injuries that result in hip pain, as well as what recovery may look like.
Fractures: Numerous parts of your hip bone can fracture upon impact, which is particularly common when the knees slam into the dashboard during a collision or a side door is crushed against the legs. The hip bone has three sections: the ischium, the pubis, and the ilium, and any of these can fracture independently or as a group. Your hip socket, the Acetabular, can also fracture and cause a serious injury that requires immediate medical attention. It can take a long time to recover from any of these breaks, requiring a mix of physical therapy, pain management, and other techniques.
Dislocation: A dislocation occurs when the thighbone is displaced from the hip socket it normally rests in, caused by high impact. The condition can be extremely painful but can typically be fixed without surgery with a proper recovery plan.
Bursitis: The hip is surrounded by bursae, or tiny fluid-filled sacs that help the joint move properly. When these sacs are irritated, they may become inflamed and lead to a condition called bursitis. This can be painful and lead to swelling, tenderness, or limited movement in the joint. Rest and ice are usually recommended, along with pain management and daily exercises to maintain range of motion.
Tendonitis: Usually associated with repetitive motions, this hip injury can also occur after a car accident due to the sudden impact. This condition affects the tissues that connect muscle to bone, which can lead to pain and loss of motion. Treatments focus on reducing inflammation and pain.
Sprains: When the ligaments connecting your hip joint tear, you have sprained your hip, a common occurrence after a collision. The muscles surrounding your hip may have to quickly contract and recoil as you brace yourself for impact. The risk of a sprain rises as you age, or if you have other hip injuries in the past. Until healed, a sprain may limit range of motion and cause general pain.
When dealing with a hip injury, many issues will heal with time and the proper treatment. However, some injuries can lead to longer-term issues that require ongoing care. Traumatic arthritis is a common concern, in which excruciating pain and lack of mobility are brought on suddenly and may result in needing a hip replacement.
In less severe cases, hip injuries can still impact mobility for patients in their future. For anyone who is athletic, walks a lot, or needs to be mobile for their job, these losses can be great. The best way to prevent long-term issues is to seek care for your hip injury as soon as possible following a car accident and follow the treatment protocol.
Treating Hip Pain After a Car Accident
Remember that not all pain after a car accident will be apparent immediately. The shock of the accident and the “fight or flight” adrenaline rush that follow may cover pain in the direct aftermath of the event. In the hours and days following a crash, be vigilant in noticing any pain in your hips or legs so that you do not miss a symptom. When a joint such as the hip is injured, continued motion may worsen the problem if proper care if not sought out.
At AICA Orthopedics, our team of multidisciplinary specialists work together to form the most comprehensive treatment plan possible. You will be assigned an orthopedic specialist in addition to chiropractors, physical therapists, pain management experts, and others who are experienced in treating car accident related hip injuries. We strive to offer non-surgical intervention whenever possible, aiming for long-term relief without a long recovery period. Call us today to learn more about how our team of experts can address your hip pain.