Extremity trauma may be the result of a serious accident that changes a life in an instant or due to a less significant injury. Broken bones, muscle and ligament damage, tendon rupture, or cartilage damage can lead to multiple surgical procedures and extended rehabilitation. Extremity injuries are some of the most common types evaluated in U.S. emergency rooms. Of all injuries reported by emergency rooms to the National Trauma Data Bank in 2014, 37% involved the lower extremity and 36% involved the upper extremity.1
Injuries that occur at the time of an accident – acute injuries – are usually the only types of injuries categorized as ‘extremity trauma’ but the Limb Preservation Foundation recognizes that there can be sequelae from extremity trauma long after the initial treatment and hospitalization. Chronic (long-term) problems such as infection, nonunion, non-healing wounds, and deformity can become limb threatening as well as acute injury.
1. National Trauma Data Bank 2014 Annual Report, American College of Surgeons.