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After Accidents

A look at orthopedic trauma: Have you suffered it?

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2023 | Workers' Compensation

Orthopedic injuries affect the musculoskeletal system. That includes all the bones, muscles, joints, cartilage, tendons and ligaments that run through our body. An acute orthopedic injury often involves damage to more than one of those. For example, a hard fall may break some bones and also tear the muscles and tendons around them.

If you or a loved one suffered an acute orthopedic injury, you may have heard doctors use the term “orthopedic trauma.” This generally happens when an injury results from an “external force, such as a severe fall, a serious accident or even a violent attack,” according to the Mt. Sinai Health System.

An acute orthopedic injury, even if a person is eventually able to heal from it, often requires surgery (sometimes multiple surgeries) and months or longer of physical therapy. There’s generally a loss of mobility, at least for a time, and significant pain. It may require taking time away from work and possibly having limitations for the remainder of your life – particularly if you’re older when you’re injured.

The psychological ramifications of orthopedic trauma

It shouldn’t be surprising that orthopedic trauma can also cause serious psychological issues. Often the psychological impact stems from the circumstances surrounding the injury. The circumstances around the injury are one factor in whether people suffer serious psychological issues. For example, if someone feared they would die, even for a few moments, that can cause psychological trauma. Other factors, like a history of mental health issues or past trauma, can also play a role.

Among the most common psychological issues that arise from orthopedic trauma are depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These psychological issues need to be addressed every bit as much as the physical damage does. 

In fact, failing to address them can slow down and limit physical healing. However, as one surgeon notes, “Support for the psychological distress of orthopedic trauma patients is often overshadowed by a focus on the effective management of the patient’s fracture.”

If your acute orthopedic injuries were caused by an at-fault driver or another negligent or reckless party, it’s critical to seek compensation for all of the short-term and long-term expenses and other financial losses. This includes any psychological treatment as well as non-economic damages like pain and suffering. Obtaining sound legal guidance before you agree to any settlement can help keep you from getting less than you deserve.