What You Need to Know About Orthopaedic Trauma Injuries

Not all orthopaedic trauma injuries are life-threatening, but many have the potential to change the course of your life. An orthopaedic trauma surgeon minimizes that impact so you can continue to live normally.

Eric E. Johnson, MD, is a widely regarded orthopaedic trauma specialist based in Los Angeles, internationally trained and extensively published, precisely the surgeon you want on your side during trauma recovery. 

For those who are new to the world of orthopaedic trauma, here are the key points you need to know to understand the treatment and recovery process for these unique and often complex injuries. 

Defining orthopaedic trauma

Orthopaedics refers to your bones and joints and the soft tissue that supports them. So, orthopaedic trauma is an injury that affects these. In practical use, orthopaedic trauma usually refers to severe injuries, such as those caused by: 

Orthopaedic traumas often accompany other injuries, including to organs or blood vessels. When a patient has a mix of injuries like this, it’s called polytrauma. Injuries are then treated by priority. Those that pose an immediate threat to your life are treated first. When you’re stabilized, then other injuries are treated. Typically, orthopaedic injuries come later in the treatment sequence. 

Common orthopaedic trauma conditions

Even within the orthopaedic trauma category, some injuries have greater urgency than others. Open fractures, bone breaks that pierce through the skin, put you at risk of infection, so these are dealt with first. Then your doctor deals with closed fractures, those without surface skin damage. 

Stress fractures usually result from overuse or repetitive strain. These are typically small, hairline fractures that still undermine the patient’s ability to function without causing further damage. 

Dislocations, where a joint is moved out of its normal position, may require treatment other than simply restoring alignment. Overuse can cause other types of injury as well, and when the problem comes down to your body’s mechanics, it could be time to see an orthopaedic trauma specialist. Many of these injuries might be treated by primary care physicians or urgent care practitioners. However, when your injuries are complex and multifaceted, these doctors typically refer you to an orthopaedic trauma specialist. 

Recovering from orthopaedic trauma

Bones go through the same healing stages as other tissue. These are inflammation, repair, and remodeling. Inflammation increases blood flow to the injury to supply the building blocks of healing. This is one reason open fractures are more serious. When the skin is broken, blood can escape, and the resources for healing are lost. 

The inflammation stage lasts a week or two, then repair begins, during which broken bones start to knit back together, often using cartilage instead of bone to make a quick connection before new bone tissue generates. The remodeling phase sees the removal of temporary tissue, and the bone returns as close to normal as it can. 

Contact Eric E. Johnson, MD, and his team when you need specialized orthopaedic care. Call the office directly at 424-309-1492 to arrange your consultation and examination. 

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