Post-traumatic Arthritis and Car accidents
Traumatic arthritis can be caused by an acute or repeating trauma to a joint or ligament. If you have been in a car accident and have injured a joint, you should ask your doctor about your chances of developing post traumatic arthritis. If you do not investigate the likelihood of the development of post traumatic arthritis, you could be in danger of settling your case only to find out that you settled for too little. Post-traumatic arthritis can take years to develop and may require surgery to repair.
There are three major joints in the leg: the hip, the knee and the ankle. The knee is the most tolerant and the ankle is the least tolerant of developing post-traumatic arthritis. Therefore, if you have been in a auto accident and injured your ankle, you should be very aware of this issue.
Injury to a joint can cause damage to cartilage. The cartilage damage can range from a bruise to pieces of the cartilage being ripped from the bone. If the cartilage is ripped away, it normally does not grow back. Scar tissue will fill in the damaged area and scar tissue is not as good as supporting weight and is not as smooth as true articular cartilage. Articular cartilage injury can lead to post-traumatic arthritis.
Even if the cartilage is not damaged, an injury to a joint can later the way the joint works. An example of this is a fracture where the bone fragments heal differently than how the bone was before. Another example is ligament damage that can cause instability in the joint.
If you have been in a car accident and you have injured a joint, particularly an ankle, it is very important to ask the right questions to try and predict whether or not you will develop post-traumatic arthritis.