Of all the serious injuries you can suffer in a car crash, a crush injury perhaps represents one of the most potentially dangerous. Not only can the injury itself cause immediate life-threatening consequences, but these types of injuries often then lead to complications that can likewise result in life-changing or life-threatening issues.
MedLine Plus explains that, by definition, a crush injury occurs when one of your body parts becomes trapped and squeezed between two hard unforgiving objects. Your legs and feet are at particular risk of receiving a car crash crush injury because they can easily become trapped underneath your car’s dashboard. However, your hands, arms, pelvis and chest also represent common crush injury sites.
Immediate consequences of a crush injury can include the following:
- Lacerations with extensive bleeding
- Internal injuries with internal bleeding
- Bone fractures and splintering
- Nerve damage
- Muscle and ligament damage
- Severe pain
If the damage to your arm or leg is so extensive that repair is impossible, you may face amputation of that limb. A severe crush injury to your pelvis or chest could result in paralysis.
Unfortunately, most crush injuries cause swelling around the affected area(s). This, in turn, can lead to compartment syndrome. This complication occurs when the swelling exceeds the space found in the compartments, called fascia, around your various muscle groups. The immense pressure can cause extensive muscle and nerve damage which may be irreversible. In addition, if your muscles and nerves die, they can release toxins into your bloodstream, resulting in a systemic infection that could threaten your life.