An orthopedic injury due to trauma can affect any bone or related structure such as ligaments, tendons, cartilage, blood vessels, and the spinal cord. Neighboring structures can sustain secondary injuries. For example, a lung collapses if it’s punctured by a fractured rib. Orthopedic trauma often occurs due to sudden blunt force accidents, falls, or gunshot wounds. Orthopedic trauma can cause fractures, sprains, and dislocations.
If you or a loved one has experienced orthopedic trauma, call 9-1-1 or visit your nearest Dignity Health emergency room immediately. You can also use our online waiting tool, InQuicker™, to select an estimated arrival time to the hospital.
Symptoms of Orthopedic Trauma
Signs and symptoms of orthopedic trauma injuries range from mild to severe. For example, a mild ankle sprain due to a car accident may not be very painful or look particularly swollen. On the other hand, a broken vertebra due to falling from a great height can cause severe pain, numbness, and even paralysis.
General signs and symptoms of orthopedic trauma injuries include:
- Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs (for example), numbness in the foot due to a fractured ankle
- Loss of strength or reduced range of motion
- Weakness in the arms or legs
- Visible deformity of the limb or joint
Doctors at Dignity Health specialize in the diagnosis and treatment in cases of orthopedic trauma in Arizona. To learn more about these services, Find a Doctor today near you.
Causes of Orthopedic Trauma
Orthopedic trauma occurs due to an accident, such as a motor vehicle collision, falling from a ladder or experiencing an injury while participating in a sports activity. Gunshot wounds also can cause orthopedic trauma if, for example, the bullet injures the spine, bones, or related structures such as ligaments.
Advanced Orthopedic Trauma Treatment at Dignity Health
Treatment and prevention options depend on the severity of the injury. For minor orthopedic injuries due to trauma, such as a sprained ankle, it is often fine to take a wait-and-see approach toward treatment. In general, if an orthopedic injury does not seem severe or is not causing extreme pain, it may be all right to use the RICE protocol — rest, ice, compression, elevation — for a day or two to see if the injury heals on its own.
However, if an injury occurs in conjunction with a high-energy impact, then it calls for a trip to an urgent care facility or the emergency room. Severe orthopedic trauma injuries require prompt medical attention. Accidents forceful enough to cause a broken bone often happen along with other serious injuries that may not be visible, such as internal bleeding. Doctors can take X-rays or MRI scans to determine the extent of the injuries and develop a treatment plan that may include a brace, cast, physical therapy, or surgery.
You can reduce your risk of experiencing an orthopedic trauma injury by:
- Always wearing your seatbelt
- Using protective gear such as elbow pads or shin guards when playing high-impact sports
- Creating a safe home environment by removing items that can cause falls, such as rugs or slippery surfaces
To receive complete orthopedic care, visit one of our Dignity Health hospitals in Arizona:
Find a Dignity Health location near you for reliable care with humankindness.
Orthopedic doctors at Dignity Health extend the latest diagnostic care and treatment for orthopedic trauma in Arizona.