When most people hear the word “arthritis,” they think of an aging and degenerative condition. However, arthritis itself is defined simply as the inflammation of a joint. Any joint can become inflamed, and that inflammation can occur in numerous ways.
One way arthritis can occur is through a sudden physical injury to that joint. This is known as post-traumatic arthritis, and it affects nearly 5.6 million people in the United States.
What Causes Post-Traumatic Arthritis?
Post-traumatic arthritis is caused by the inflammation and wear around a joint in the body due to a physical injury. This could be the result of a fall, a car accident, or a sporting injury.
During a car accident, the violent forces of the crash are often enough to damage the delicate bones, muscles, and tendons in the body. These injuries can change the mechanics of the joint and cause increased inflammation.
When the inflammation in a joint isn’t controlled or treated, it can result in significant injury and damage. The result is that the joint begins to wear down quickly, and signs of post-traumatic arthritis become evident.
Signs of Post-Traumatic Arthritis
Symptoms of post-traumatic arthritis don’t initially appear after a car accident. In fact, it can take up to two to five years after the initial injury for signs of post-traumatic arthritis to appear.
There are numerous signs and symptoms of post-traumatic arthritis, including, but not limited to:
- Joint pain
- Swelling in the joint
- Stiffness in the joint
- Fluid accumulation in the joint
- Intolerance to weight-bearing activities
- Joint instability
Both age and body weight can affect the severity of the symptoms, as well as the long-term prognosis.
Diagnosing and Treating
A car accident victim may suffer an initial injury and recover, only to find themselves suffering from post-traumatic arthritis down the line. When this occurs, doctors may need to perform a series of tests in order to obtain a complete diagnosis. Some of those tests include X-rays, MRIs, and ultrasounds.
Treatment for post-traumatic arthritis includes low impact exercises, weight loss, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and therapy. Sometimes steroid injections into the joint may be recommended to provide relief. Hylamer injections that act like artificial joint fluid may also be recommended to lubricate the joint and help increase mobility.
It is important to know that these treatments do not cure arthritis, but they can make the joint more functional and reduce the pain associated with the condition.
Surgical management may also be considered if there is extensive joint damage. For example, knee replacement surgery might be recommended for individuals who have experienced post-traumatic knee arthritis that cannot be managed with more conservative treatment options.
Post-Traumatic Arthritis After a Car Accident
After a car accident, injured accident victims are often focused on their recovery and healing from their initial injuries. They may not consider the long-term complications that can arise or the chronic conditions they may experience years down the line.
Post-traumatic arthritis after a car accident is common. In fact, accidents account for 12% of all osteoarthritis in the knee, ankle, and hip.
In order to collect compensation for post-traumatic arthritis, however, you will need to prove that the disease was caused by your car accident and the injuries you suffered.
Proving that the car accident caused your post-traumatic arthritis can be difficult. After all, it can take years for the signs of post-traumatic arthritis to appear. As such, you need an experienced and skilled Washington DC car accident lawyer on your side.
Your attorney will need to review your medical records and speak with medical professionals in order to build your case. Without a lawyer, you may not obtain the money you need to pay for medical treatments, rehabilitation, and lost wages.
Contact Our Experienced Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers
If you have suffered from post-traumatic arthritis after a car accident in Washington DC, you may be facing a long and uphill road to recovery. Post-traumatic arthritis can be serious and can result in a lifetime of pain and suffering. Before speaking to the insurance company, it is important to know all of your legal options after a car accident.
At Patrick Malone & Associates, our Washington DC car accident attorneys work tirelessly for all of our clients. To learn more about post-traumatic arthritis after a serious car accident, contact our law firm by calling (202) 742-1500 or (888) 625-6635 or filling out our confidential contact form. We offer a free initial consultation for all injured accident victims and can help you choose the legal path that is best for you. Call today!