When someone injures a joint in a car accident, he or she is at a risk of developing post-traumatic arthritis, which is a painful and debilitating condition of the joints.
Post-traumatic osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis involving inflammation of the joints, is a common auto accident injury.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the eroding or wearing of cartilage that cushions the bones. The primary function of the cartilage is to prevent the rubbing of bones against each other, so when the cartilage becomes damaged, the bones rub against each other causing severe pain. It can occur in any joint in the body, but it is most commonly observed in the spine, hips, knees, and hands. There is no cure for osteoarthritis and treatment can only help relieve the pain and discomfort.
Unlike osteoarthritis that normally occurs in the elderly, post-traumatic arthritis can occur in people of all age groups. Auto accident-related trauma is a common cause of arthritis. Whenever physical trauma causes damage to bone or cartilage, it can change the mechanics of the joint, causing it to wear out more quickly. In the United States, as many as 5.6 million people suffer from post-traumatic arthritis.
Signs and Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Arthritis
The signs and symptoms of post-traumatic arthritis are similar to those of osteoarthritis. They include:
- chronic joint pain
- swelling of the joints
- joint stiffness
- fluid accumulation in the joint
- bone spurs
- difficulty with activities that stress the joint
- limited range of motion
Treatment of Post-Traumatic Arthritis
Unfortunately, osteoarthritis is not curable or reversible. Treatment is aimed at alleviating the symptoms and discomfort and to stop its progression. The patient of post-traumatic arthritis may be advised to lose weight, do some low impact exercises, and strengthen the surrounding muscles.
Doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce swelling and pain killers to alleviate pain. In severe cases, a doctor may inject cortisone or an artificial fluid into the joints. If medicines do not work for the patient, then he or she may have to undergo surgery for the repair, reconstruction, or replacement of the affected joint.
St. Louis Auto Accident Injury Attorney
If you or someone close to you has been injured in a car accident, it may take years for the symptoms of post- traumatic arthritis to show, so it is important to get the risk evaluated as soon as you can. You may be able to claim damages from the person responsible for the accident. Contact The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242. We can help you recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation, and pain and suffering.