If you have been in a car accident or otherwise referred to doctor who specializes in orthopedics, you may be wondering exactly what that means and why it may help you. As a branch of medicine, orthopedics focuses on the musculoskeletal system, including muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons and how they work together. An Atlanta orthopedic clinic usually focuses on using non-surgical approaches to healing injuries and conditions. While the musculoskeletal system is broad and can encompass many issues, one common reason people seek orthopedic care is to manage injuries stemming from car or motorcycle accidents.
When a severe injury in the bones, joints, or tissues occurs as a result of an external source, these are known specifically as orthopedic trauma. This can result from sports injuries or falls, but is commonly seen after a car accident and encompasses a wide range of possible injuries. When this occurs, the goal is usually to restore previous function quickly and effectively when possible.
While anyone can suffer a severe orthopedic injury, older adults with osteoporosis are at higher risk for the category of injury, as well as anyone with previous orthopedic trauma.
Most Common Orthopedic Injuries
Whether it is due to trauma like an accident or simply age, a number of injuries are commonly treated by any Atlanta orthopedic doctor. These are some of the injuries seen most often, though orthopedists see a much broader range than this list encompasses.
1. ACL Tear: The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, runs diagonally through the middle of the knee, providing stability and holding a number of bones in place. When this is torn, bending the knee and standing can become difficult. Tears to the ACL are one of the most common sports injuries, often brought on by quick starts and stops or turns.
2. Meniscus Tear: Also a common athletic injury, a tear to the meniscus cartilage can impact your knees’ ability to carry weight and turn. This usually leads to swelling, pain, stiffness, and difficulty with extension in those who exhibit it.
3. Carpal Tunnel: When a nerve is pinched in the wrist, this can lead to pain, numbness and tingling, and weakness in the hands and fingers. This is often caused by recurring motions, like typing, or other conditions such as arthritis and diabetes. This pain can worsen over time if the nerve is not properly treated.
4. Stress Fracture: When muscles become tired from overuse, they lose their ability to properly protect bones from impact, leaving them more susceptible to pressure. When the bone is then subject to similar pressure repeatedly, they struggle to bear the impact and can crack or fracture, in what is known as a stress fracture.
5. Wrist Fractures: Because the wrists contain many thin and fragile bones, and the hands are often used to brace, they are particularly susceptible to breaks. Often caused by a fall, a broken wrist is treated with a cast in most cases.
Treating Orthopedic Injuries
After a traumatic incident like a fall or car accident, it is always best to seek help from an Atlanta orthopedic expert to determine if any damage has been done. Not all injuries will be obvious to you right away, but they may worsen over time before symptoms begin, and early treatment always leads to improved outcomes.
At your first appointment, an orthopedist will focus on diagnosis. This will involve talking through your symptoms and medical history, as well as a physical examination. In many cases, you will need CT scans and MRIs after a car accident to gather more information about what damage may have occurred.
Once you have been diagnosed, your orthopedist will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan. Often, you will work with physical therapists and pain management specialists in addition to your doctor, with the goal of gaining strength and returning to prior levels of function. You will likely also be given instructions for care at home, such as rest or ice and heat therapy to help your recovery along. In severe cases, it may be suggested you undergo more invasive procedures like surgery to repair severe damage.
Atlanta Orthopedic Care
At AICA Orthopedics, our multidisciplinary team of staff works with you to create a treatment plan suited to your goals. Orthopedists work with a range of experts to evaluate, diagnose, and treat your injuries in a safe and efficient manner. If you have suffered any car accident injuries, call us today to begin healing.