Car accidents can cause rotator cuff tears in several ways, including blunt force trauma or a sudden jerking motion.
Car accidents can cause various shoulder injuries, and a rotator cuff tear is common among them.
What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?
The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint and enable us to lift and rotate our arms.
Rotator cuff tears can be of two types:
- A partial tear occurs when the tendon that protects the top layer of the shoulder is damaged.
- A complete tear is the one which goes all the way through the tendon. It may even pull the tendon off the bone.
Can a Car Accident Cause a Rotator Cuff Injury?
Yes. Car accidents can cause rotator cuff injuries in several ways, including blunt force trauma from an airbag or the steering wheel and sudden motions that result from the impact of the accident. This can lead to tears or strains in the rotator cuff tendons and muscles.
A car accident may also result in a driver or passenger being ejected from their vehicle. This can lead to trauma to the shoulder and rotator cuff tears.
Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Tear after an Auto Accident
The impact of a car accident can put significant stress on the shoulder and cause a rotator cuff tear. If a person suffers a rotator cuff tear in a car accident, they may experience the following symptoms:
- Pain: It worsens when the person lifts the arm or while lying on the affected shoulder. A severe rotator cuff tear can cause extreme pain and the muscles become sore.
- Guarding: The injured person tends to keep the affected shoulder immobilized and protects it at all times
- Weakness: The affected shoulder becomes much weaker compared to the healthy shoulder
- Clicking or popping sound: This often happens when lifting the arm.
- Arm Fatigue: When reaching overhead or lifting you may find that your arm fatigues quickly or becomes weak.
- Limited Range of Motion: You may have difficulting raise your arm or lifting things you could before the accident.
It is important to understand that not everyone displays symptoms of a rotator cuff injury at first, and some symptoms may appear gradually. This makes it all the more important to seek medical attention after a car accident, even if you do not think you are injured.
Treatment for a Rotator Cuff Tear
Treatment of a minor rotator cuff tear generally involves pain medication, rest and heat, and ice therapy. However, for severe rotator cuff tear complex treatment is required. Before starting the treatment, the doctors would perform diagnostic tests in order to determine the severity of the injury. The doctors may perform the following tests:
- Physical examination
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the following treatments may be provided:
- Steroid injections to ease pain and inflammation
- Physical therapy to improve the shoulder’s range of motion, and to increase strength and flexibility of the joint
- Surgery may be needed in extreme cases to repair the tear
Seeking Compensation for a Rotator Cuff Tear
A severe rotator cuff tear can be severe and long-lasting, impacting a car accident victim’s quality of life. The resulting medical bills are often expensive and healing may require time away from work. If the injury is severe enough to require surgery, the medical bills may quickly escalate, and the recovery period would be even longer. Huge medical bills and lost wages can put you in financial turmoil.
If you’ve experienced a rotator cuff tear in a St. Louis car accident, it is extremely important to seek immediate medical attention. Early diagnosis and treatment after a car accident are crucial.
If the car accident was caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be able to recover your losses from the at-fault driver. After seeking medical attention, speak with an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your legal rights are protected and you don’t settle for less than you deserve.
Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
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