Lower Limb Injuries & Fracture Diagnosis
It is very important that the full extent of lower limb injuries is properly diagnosed. Injuries to the bone are normally identified by x-rays but this will not diagnose the severity of associated soft tissue damage which will also often be present.
It is also important to understand and recognise the severity of any contusion or crush injury to the tissue as surgical procedures through this tissue can lead to poor wound healing with a risk of infection.
The nature and severity of fractures depends upon the structure and integrity of the bone which has been affected together with the degree of force which has been applied to it. The integrity of the bone is important as anything which compromises this predisposes the limb to fracture, for example osteoporosis.
It is also important to consider the external force which has been applied to the limb and the direction of application of that force. For long bone fractures four basic fracture patterns are as follows:-
- Compression force – short/fracture;
- Tension force – transverse fracture;
- Twisting force – spiral fracture;
- Bending force – butterfly transverse fracture.
Accurate assessment of the injury is most important to decide on treatment management for lower limb trauma. The neuro-vascular function of the injured limb should be assessed and documented and a close inspection undertaken of the overlying soft tissues to address the degree of damage. X-rays are a bare minimum requirement to assess an injured limb. Complex fractures usually will require more sophisticated imaging including CT and MRI scanning. Of course, this can lead to a delay in treatment but it is preferable for there to be a slight delay rather than poor treatment resulting from an inadequate assessment of the injury.
The treatment options for lower limb fractures are variable.
Conservative management usually involves closed techniques such as traction slings and plaster casts. The vast majority of fractures managed in the United Kingdom are treated conservatively as out-patient injuries.
Operations are usually required for articular fractures and displaced long bone fractures. The alternatives include internal fixation with plates and screws or intra-medullary nails, or external fixation.
The complications of lower limb trauma include Fat Embolism Syndrome, Thromboembolic Disease and, in severe cases, multi system organ failure.
More local complications include soft tissue and vascular insufficiency, osteomyelitis and infection as well as Compartment Syndrome and malunion and non-union of the fracture.
With Compartment Syndrome early recognition is essential to ensure the maintenance of function through an immediate fasciotomy to release the fascial envelopes to decrease the pressure within.
If you have suffered a lower limb injury was it properly assessed? If not, is there anything you can do about it? Speak to a specialist medical negligence solicior and they will be able to advise you of the options available to you.<
How We Can Help You
If you have suffered a lower limb fracture, you could be entitled to make a medical negligence claim. This may happen because the fracture was undetected or misdiagnosed. Or it may be that a fracture was deliberately left untreated, when in fact action should have been taken.
We act for clients throughout England and Wales, if we cannot help you we will make no charge for our time. If we can help you to make a claim for compensation, you will benefit from the following funding options:
- Conditional Fees ("no win, no fee")
- Legal Expenses Insurance
- Private Funding
- Structured Payment Plans
Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 or complete our Online Enquiry Form.
"Before we contacted you we had no real idea that we had grounds for a medical negligence claim but after speaking to you if became clear that Wendy was indeed treated poorly. Chris took the time to explain what was happening and kept us to speed. Our deepest gratitude to you all and Chris in particular."
"I would like to say a big thank you to you for making this whole process easy and relatively painless. You kept me informed throughout and you were always polite and courteous in all forms of communication. I would not hesitate to recommend you to friends and family, so a really big thank you and I wish you all the best in the future."