Hip pain after a car accident can be minor or it can be devastating. Pelvic pain after a car accident can be too. This guide will discuss how hip injury and pelvic injury happen in a car accident, types of hip and pelvic injuries, and common treatments.
CAUSES OF HIP PAIN AND PELVIC PAIN AFTER CAR ACCIDENT
Car accidents can generate tremendous forces. When the forces come from a side impact, all of that force can be transferred into the hip causing hip pain and injury. Front impacts can also cause hip pain. And injury. This happens when the leg or knee jams into the front of the car ultimately pushing all of the impact force into the hip joint.
Pelvic pain can be caused in a similar manner. But pelvic pain can also be caused by pressure from the seat belt, air bag deployment, and car parts in a head on collision crushing into the pelvis. Common car parts that can cause pelvic injury include the dashboard and the steering wheel.
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HIP INJURY AND PELVIC INJURY
The hip is the largest weight bearing joint in the human body. Its where the thigh bone connects to the pelvis. The two main parts of the hip are:
The femoral head- the round ball shaped bone at the top of the femur bone or thigh bone.
The acetabulum- the socket on either side of the pelvis that holds the round ball of the femur bone.
It’s called a ball and socket joint because the femoral head rests inside the acetabulum. The femoral head is held in the acetabulum by connective tissue called the labrum. Ligaments are another type of connective tissue that help stabilize the hip and help form the joint capsule. Inside the joint capsule is a thin membrane called the synovium, that produces fluid to lubricate the joint. Cushioning is provided by fluid filled sacs called bursa.
The pelvis, also called the pelvic girdle, is a semi round shaped bone structure that connects the base of the spine to the legs. It also provides bony support for the intestines, the internal sex organs, and the urinary bladder. The bony pelvis has three main sections. They are the ilium (the large wing shaped bone), the ischium (the sit bones), and the pubis (the points in front). The femoral head of the upper leg meets the acetabulum at the lower part of the ilium on either side of the body to form the hip joint.
Common Hip and Pelvic Symptoms
The most common symptoms that indicate hip or pelvic injury include:
- Immediate onset of hip pain
- Delayed hip pain
- Swelling, soreness, or tenderness of the hip, pelvis or pubic area
- Difficulty moving the hip joint
- Inability to bear weight
- Groin pain
- Leg pain
- Pubic pain
- Numbness or tingling into the genital area
- Lower abdominal pain
- Low back or coccyx pain
Hip Pain and Pelvic Pain Treatments
You should always have a doctor examine you if you are experiencing any type of body pain after a car accident. The exact treatment will depend on the severity of the injury and symptoms experienced. But the initial treatment for hip pain after a car accident is usually pretty similar to pelvic pain after a car accident.
If you are experiencing hip or pelvic pain or symptoms, your doctor will first take a detailed history from you to identify your symptoms. Next your doctor will perform a physical examination of you to determine if there are any visible injuries and whether certain touching or body movements cause pain. Your doctor may also perform x rays or an MRI. If you are experiencing hip or pelvic pain, your doctor will then decide on the treatment.
For less serious injuries, treatment may include resting the hip joint, limiting walking, and possibly taking anti-inflammatory medicines or hip joint steroid injections. When walking crutches may be necessary. Once the body heals the initial injury, you may be prescribed physical therapy to ensure the injury does not return. More severe injuries may require bed rest or even surgery. The length of bed rest and the type of surgery will depend on the specific injury.
Types of Hip Injury After Car Accident
There are many different types of hip injuries that can occur as a result of the trauma of a car accident. Below are the most common ones:
- Sprain Strain- When a muscle is injured its called a strain. When a ligament is injured its called a sprain. These are usually not severe injuries and will usually resolve within 8 to 12 weeks. Treatment can include limiting activities, anti-inflamatory medication, injections, and physical therapy.
- Hip Dislocation- A dislocated hip occurs when the round ball of the femoral head pulls out of the hip socket. Trauma can cause the hip to pop out of place and cause an immediate onset of significant pain. Walking or even standing may be difficult or impossible. A dislocated hip is a serious medical emergency requiring urgent treatment. If there are no fractures of the hip joint, then a doctor can manipulate the hip bones back into their proper position. Recovery will take at least 2 or 3 months of gradually increasing activity. Unfortunately, many times a hip dislocation causes permanent ongoing hip problems.
- Hip Fracture- Also called a broken hip, occurs when the upper part of the femur bone breaks. This injury almost always requires surgery. Types of surgeries include hemiarthroplasty, partial hip replacement, or total hip replacement. The type of surgery depends on the type of hip fracture. There are three main types of hip fractures. They are:
- Intracapsular fracture: Also called a femoral neck fracture. This occurs when the ball of the femur of just below it breaks.
- Intertrochanteric fracture: The break here is between the greater trochanter and the lesser trochanter. This is really just a fancy way of saying the break is well below the ball and into the long bone of the femur.
- Subtrochanteric fracture: Here the broken bone is below the lesser trochanter. This is just a fancy way of saying it is further down the femur bone.
- Labral Tear- Also called a torn labrum, occurs when the cartelege lining of the hip socket tears. If conservative treatment does not work, a hip labral tear may require surgery.
- Acetabular fracture- this occurs when the hip socket bones, called the acetabulum, breaks. It is also called a hip socket fracture. Sometimes an acetabular fracture will heal on its own and sometimes it will require surgery.
- Hip Bursitis- The hip joint has multiple fluid filled sacs called bursae that reduce friction between its moving parts. Hip bursitis is irritation or inflammation of one of the bursa. Treatment includes rest, physical therapy, and possibly corticosteroid injections.
- Tendonitis- Hip tendonitis occurs when a tendon that connects muscle to bone within the hip is inflamed or irritated.
Types of Pelvic Injury After Car Accident
- Pelvis Fracture- The most common pelvic injury involves fracture to one or more of the bones that make up the pelvis (the pelvic ring). Because the pelvis is really just a large closed ring, a pelvis fracture almost always involves more than one broken bone. Common terms to describe pelvic ring disruptions (fractures) are lateral compression injuries, anteroposterior compression injuries, and vertical shear injuries. Common pelvic bones fractured are superior and inferior pubic rami, acetabulum, iliac wing, and the sacrum
- Pelvis ligament injury- There are a lot of ligaments that surround the pelvis and help it to stay stable. The shearing forces of a car accident can stretch, tear, or weaken these ligaments. This can cause pelvic girdle instability.
- Pelvic hemorrhage- Also called internal bleeding into the pelvis. The large forces necessary to fracture the pelvis can also tear blood vessels to vital organs protected by the pelvis. The blood vessels can tear simply by stretching or rupture from the impact or they can tear because bone fragments cut them. These blood vessel tears can be of arteries (arterial lacerations) or veins (venous injury). This is a true medical emergency because a car accident victim can bleed out before the hemorrhaging vessels can be surgically repaired.
- Intra-abdominal organ injuries- Many internal organs sit within the pelvic area of the abdomen. Common internal organs damaged in a car accident include the spleen, liver, bowel, intestines and rectal injuries.
DO YOU NEED TO HIRE A LAWYER AFTER YOUR CAR ACCIDENT
The first thing you should do if you suffer a hip or pelvic injury from a car accident is to get medical attention. But you may also benefit from hiring a personal injury attorney. If you call Distasio Law Firm, we may be able to help you recover the damages you have suffered.