The Accident-Damaged Leg or Foot
Most litigation attention, involving the lower part of the body, is focused upon the knee. However, leg and foot problems can appear in many ways. And they can cause serious pain and life dislocation to the victim of someone else’s negligence.
Insurance claims adjusters and defense lawyers have the default belief that leg and foot injuries are of lesser value. This is untrue. And within the argumentation arena, a fair hearing should be conducted to present the full dimension of all leg and foot injuries.
These varieties of orthopedic problems involve the bone, muscle, ligaments and possibly a joint. They also can involve cuts or punctures as well as burns. But most often they involve fractures along with trauma to the muscles.
Fractures and Dislocations
In personal injury law, there often will be a claim involving fractures. These are easily identifiable because of x-rays. Fractures are referred to as “objective” injuries, meaning they are not subject to legitimate dispute by insurance company lawyers.
Fractures which puncture the skin are open or compound fractures. They commonly happen as a result of car accidents. There will intense pain, and sometimes with radiating numbness and tingling. There may be a misshapened limb and there certainly will be a lack of mobility. Any bleeding, swelling or bruising should be documented with photographs.
The most serious fractures occur along the femur, at the upper leg. For children, the growth plates might be affected. Interruption of proper bone development is a risk that may have to be curbed by surgical intervention.
Stress fractures are most often the result of repetition stress on the bones of the feet. This variety of fracture can be the result of an accident, however. Little can be done except rest. Taking time to get off the hectic track of life, to give time for the fracture to heal, can be psychologically difficult.
Dislocations occur when the bone is pulled from its joint. If the knee has been forced out of position, this dislocation will prevent any movement of the joint.
The claims hardest of all to assert are for are sprains (stretches and tears of ligaments) and strains (stretches and strains of muscles). They usually involve minimal medical care and heal completely.
Bone and muscle bruises often leave visual evidence that a significant blow was sustained. Whatever the orthopedic impression, if the pain has been severe, even excruciating, this can be a strong element of damages. Most symptomatology at this level will cause fitful sleep because of incapacitating pain and the ruin of normal activities.
The overall musculoskeletal foundation of the human body relies heavily upon the leg muscles. This is especially true for the thigh and upper leg muscles, which provide stability. If the femur – the thigh bone – is fractured, then the surrounding upper leg muscles will be adversely affected. This, in turn, will affect the hip joint. The femur is connected at this end and the knee joint at the other.
We expect a lot of the femur, which is the heaviest and longest bone, and the 4 muscle structures which keep it strong. When the quadriceps (thigh muscles) are impacted, the leg is greatly weakened even if there is no leg fracture. The quadriceps attaches the knee to the shin bone, also known as the tibia. Since the quadriceps is such a large and active structure, any blows to the thigh will weaken the leg.
Trauma to this area is going to compromise the knee’s ability to bend. This will involve the tendons connected to the tibia, and principally the hamstring tendon. Destabilization here will result in imbalance.
Most of these injuries can successfully be resolved with rest, ice, compression and leg elevation. The physician may also want to prescribe a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication.
Ankle and Foot Structure
The foot is comprised of 26 bones. And in between these bones can be found a large number of joints. These unions allow for the foot to act as a shock absorber, since it’s coping with tremendous stress with every step. If the foot is thrown out of alignment – because of accident trauma – then the gait, or natural walking cycle, will be disordered.
When the heel strikes the ground, this is known as a pronate. Pronation of the foot is what happens when the foot rolls in motion, but then comes inwards and flattens at the medial or inner arch. Supination of the foot describes the rolling motion of the foot when it faces outwards and rises to the medial or inner arch. Gait compromises caused by abnormal pronation or supination can quickly cause associated dysfunctions with the legs, knees and hips.
The ankle is a vital hinge joint that performs an invaluable role. It works hard to transfer pressure and force from the foot to the leg. Made up of 3 bones, the ankle is intricately interconnected by ligaments, muscles and tendons. The ligaments are essential. They are often described as having the characteristic of strong rope. Ligaments connect the bones, one to the other, and thus enable the joints to have stability as they permit movement.
At the lateral area of the ankle there are three ligaments which are always subject to traumatic tearing. At the medial aspect there is a single, large ligament. Although subject to being damaged, it is not as commonly ruptured as those at the lateral side. It is no wonder that these vulnerable areas can be damaged when involved in a major traumatic event.
Ankle and Foot Injuries
The ankle bone and the lower leg bone come together at the ankle joint. At this point the ligaments, which connect the bones to one another, are connected for the purpose of supporting and stabilizing the entire leg. Yet motion is also allowed because of the work of the muscles and tendons, which permit some range of movement. The ankle joint is a fascinating body part which expertly combines strength and flexibility.
The most common problems of the ankle, other than fractures, involve sprains and strains. These usually heal within a few weeks. Fractures can be a genuine problem which often require hardware implant surgery and long recovery periods. And fractures may also contribute additional complications as to bursa involvement. The bursa is a small fluid-filled sac. It minimizes the friction between the tissues and it also acts a slight protective shield for the bones.
The many bursae (plural form) in our feet provide loyal service. But when the bursae are damaged they fill with fluid, and this causes pain.
Achilles tendon Injuries
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. The muscles of the calf, or lower leg, are connected to the heel bone. So almost any movement made with the foot involves the Achilles tendon tightening and stretching.
If there is an abrupt twisting or trauma, then this stress will cause a tear or rupture. This is a serious injury. Most of these ruptures take place 2 inches above where the tendon attaches to the heel bone.