Many people walk away from car accidents thinking they are perfectly fine. It isn’t until hours, days, or even weeks later that they realize they sustained injuries. The adrenaline masked this pain initially, but now it is making itself known. What should a person know about hip injuries following a car accident?
Signs of a Hip Injury
The hips carry a significant amount of a person’s body weight. If a hip was injured in an accident, symptoms might include pinched nerves in the lower back, pain in the lower body, or knee pain. However, hip injuries can be seen in many other ways. A person might have a throbbing pain in their upper legs or intense pain that doesn’t appear to be located in one area.
Hip or stress fractures and dislocated hips account for many of these injuries. Prompt treatment helps to minimize any damage to the body. As soon as any pain appears following a car accident, seek medical treatment.
Hip strains, bursitis, and tendonitis are three common hip conditions following a car accident. As the hip joint contains little fluid, it can easily sustain damage. The doctor will determine what is leading to the pain based on the symptoms obseved and any tests used.
Treating a Hip Injury
A comprehensive treatment plan might be needed to address hip injuries. Chiropractic adjustments are often recommended. The chiropractor focuses their efforts on the musculoskeletal system to relieve or eliminate joint pain originating at the hip. Physical therapists, in contrast, work with patients to strengthen their muscles, as strong muscles support the body with less effort and increase the individual’s range of motion.
A neurologist or orthopedic doctor may be called in to also help address any hip pain the person is experiencing. The neurologist focuses on the nervous system when addressing this pain. They may recommend muscle relaxants if the pain is caused by pressure on the nerves. The sciatic nerve, for example, runs through the hip before traveling down into the leg. Muscle relaxants can help relieve the pressure to reduce this pain.
Orthopedic doctors look to non-invasive treatments initially when treating hip pain. They may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to minimize swelling associated with the injury. Steroids help to relieve pain, and many patients find heat or ice is enough to address minor pain. A partial or total hip replacement may be needed in severe cases. If surgery is recommended, the patient will work with a physical therapist following the surgery to stretch the hip muscles and work them.
Considering the Future
Many patients don’t realize that sustaining a hip fracture puts them at higher risk of a break in the future. The doctor should explain this risk and how to reduce it. However, the patient should also consider seeking legal advice before settling with the responsible party’s insurance company to ensure they have compensation for the injuries they have sustained now and ones they may sustain in the future as a result of the accident.
Any person who is injured in a car accident should see a doctor promptly. Injuries often remain hidden for a period following the accident, as the person has adrenaline racing through their body. By having a complete medical checkup, the patient can know whether they have injuries and the doctor has a baseline if the injuries don’t appear for a few days or weeks. A person can never be too careful with their health, particularly when it comes to the hips, so see a doctor after any accident regardless of how minor it appears to be.