If you recently broke your leg in a car accident, you may feel worried about the potential complications. Existing medical conditions or the way your leg broke may contribute to certain complications. If you fail to follow the doctor’s orders, this may also increase the risks.
Note that health care professionals often warn you of complications to stay on the safe side. Chances are that you may never experience them. Even so, it does not hurt to know what to look out for.
WebMD identifies seven main potential complications after breaking your leg. Ask your medical team which ones you have higher risks for and how to mitigate these risks.
- Compartment syndrome: While rare, when it does occur, it does so among victims of high-impact crashes. It may lead to disabilities, because of muscle injuries near the break site.
- Different-size legs: Adults may not need to worry about this as much, but growing children may find that one leg grows faster than the other. Further treatment may rectify this.
- Delayed or poor healing: Tibia breaks have higher likelihoods of never healing properly or taking a long time to heal.
- Knee pain or ankle pain: The joints near your break site may continue to hurt for some time.
- Osteomyelitis: Bone infections may occur if the break site becomes exposed to contaminants in the air.
- Blood vessel or nerve damage: Blood vessels and nerves near the break site may become damaged.
- Arthritis: Years after healing, you may find yourself at greater risk for arthritis.
No foolproof methods for preventing complications exist. However, following up with the doctor, giving the leg time to heal and taking prescribed medications may help. Crutches, wheelchairs and walkers may also take some of the pressure off the leg.
Depending on the severity of the injury and other injuries you have, the doctor may recommend total bed rest. Every case is different, so only your medical professional can confirm the way forward for you.