Accidents can happen in a matter of seconds and can be devastating. Worker’s compensation accidents are no different. However, a crush injury is one of the more traumatic worker’s compensation accidents. A crush injury occurs when force or pressure is put on a body part. This type of injury most often happens when a part of the body is squeezed between two heavy objects.
From manufacturing and heavy labor job sites with heavy machinery to an office setting that has boxes of paper or filing cabinets can cause these types of injuries. An individual that experiences this type of injury may go through multiple levels of healing related to tissue damage, scar healing, changes to tendon health (strain, partial tear, or rupture), nerve sensitivity, potential vascular/blood flow changes, as well as impact to the bone (non-displaced/displaced fractures, bone bruise, or avulsion fractures).
The amount of trauma from a crush injury requires a dedicated and attentive approach to treatment as well as patient agreement to a home exercise program and regular physical or occupational therapy attendance. In the treatment of a crush injury, it is critical that the therapist educates the patient on the importance of rest and movement as well as understanding the benefits of cardiovascular exercise, when appropriate in the healing process, to increase blood flow to the injury site. Movement also facilitates endorphins or receptors in our brains, which can reduce pain and boost relaxation to improve our pain management.
After working with a clinician to resolve some of the acute symptoms related to the injury, a patient will continue to restore mobility and range of motion. The patient will then transition into a work conditioning/strengthening program to prepare the individual for their work demands. This could vary based on the occupation at hand – i.e. a painter may mimic the motion of painting, a utility worker may be tasked to climb and work on a utility pole.
If you do experience a crush injury in your work environment, contact your supervisor immediately. Physical and Occupational Therapy may be considered as a first line of treatment for your injury. Athletico’s skilled therapists will evaluate your condition and provide best-in-class care to get you back to work and life. We will communicate with everyone on your care team to make it simple for you, your employer and insurance company.
If you are engaged in a crush injury when not at work, seek medical attention the same day. If you are unsure if you’ve sustained a crush injury and would like a licensed Physical or Occupational Therapist to analyze your injury, call an Athletico Physical Therapy clinic and schedule your appointment. Our team can help you navigate your medical care or start you with a physical or occupational therapy program which will allow you to begin healing right away.
To prevent against hazards and bad habits in the work environment that can result in crushing injuries, Athletico’s industrial wellness specialists evaluate workplace environments and systems. Our comprehensive ergonomic analysis will identify high risk areas and provide employers with solutions to reduce injury. To learn more about how we can help design safer workplaces, visit our Worker’s Compensation webpage.
The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.
1. “Health Information from the National Library of Medicine.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 13 Jan. 2021, www.medlineplus.gov/.