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Shoulder injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents

Accident-related shoulder injuries on Kansas roadways can be varied in nature, and the pain and long-term effects may make normal activity involving the hand or arm of the affected shoulder difficult. Tissue damage can be painful, requiring time or even surgery for complete healing. Fractures may compound tissue-related injuries as well.

Fractures of the bones in the shoulder are typically less common in auto accidents except when the force of impact is high. High-speed accidents, for example, are more likely to result in fractures of bones that are otherwise well-protected by muscles or the chest. The scapula is particularly difficult to fracture unless the force of a collision is severe. The humerus, also known as the arm bone, and the clavicle, also known as the collar bone, can also be vulnerable in collisions.

At the scene of an accident, medical personnel might initially suspect a shoulder fracture if serious pain levels are noted. Additionally, severe swelling and bruising could indicate that a shoulder bone has been fractured. Although the confirmation of this suspicion may require medical imaging or an X-ray, initial treatment of a victim experiencing such shoulder symptoms might include the application of ice, the administration of pain medication and the use of a sling to immobilize the limb and joint in question. In most cases, broken shoulder bones do not require surgery. However, bone fragments that are out of position could dictate the need for surgical intervention.

Surgery for severe shoulder damage resulting from a car crash might lead to significant medical expenses as well as lost work time. In the event that the accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, a personal injury action can in some cases lead to the recovery of damages.

Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, "Shoulder Trauma (Fractures and Dislocations)", accessed on Feb. 9, 2015

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