What is compartment syndrome?

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2021 | Car Accidents

If you think about all the people that you’ve known to suffer injuries in a car accident, it’s unlikely that many of them have been so serious that it takes more than a few days or weeks of conservative care to recover from them, largely thanks to the relative safety of modern vehicles.

However, certain injuries result from crashes that leave a lasting impact on a person’s life and require more aggressive care to treat. Compartment syndrome is one such condition.

What is compartment syndrome?

Compartment syndrome occurs when muscle compartments of the legs or arms experience increased pressure. This generally results from an injury such as a fracture. Bleeding may occur in the muscle causing increased pressure. In addition, nerve damage may result from a decrease in blood supply to other areas of the body.

Which situations result in compartment syndrome?

Although falls and auto accidents are common ways compartment syndrome occurs, strenuous exercise or anything involving physical exertion may result in such an injury.

What symptoms do compartment syndrome patients suffer from?

There are a variety of symptoms people experience when they suffer from compartment syndrome. Those symptoms include:

  • A decreased range in motion.
  • Numbness.
  • Severe pain.

Patients with acute compartment syndrome may need a fasciotomy, which is a process that involves doctors cutting the muscle compartment open to decrease pressure and restore blood flow.

Can compartment syndrome be life-altering or life-threatening?

Severe complications such as the following may result from compartment syndrome:

  • Amputation.
  • Infection.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Muscle loss.
  • Nerve damage.

Patients can minimize their chances of suffering some of the above-referenced life-altering issues by elevating or icing their affected extremities. Most patients with chronic compartment syndrome don’t require any surgical procedures.

What should you do if you suspect you’re suffering from compartment syndrome?

Acute compartment syndrome is a medical emergency, and therefore you see a doctor for it right away. You can suffer permanent muscle or nerve damage unless doctors relieve the pressure in your muscle compartment.

Individuals who suffer compartment syndrome in an accident here in South Dakota may be entitled to monetary damages. How long you have to file a claim to recover compensation varies depending on state statutes and the nature of the offense. It may be wise to learn more about how liability and claims function so that you’ll gain a better perspective on how to proceed in your case.

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