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Crush injury

 

A crush injury occurs when force or pressure is put on a body part. This type of injury most often happens when part of the body is squeezed between 2 heavy objects.

Damage related to crush injuries include:

  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Compartment syndrome (increased pressure in an arm or leg that causes serious muscle, nerve, blood vessel, and tissue damage)
  • Fracture
  • Laceration (open wound)
  • Nerve injury
  • Secondary infection
  • Smashed fingers
  • Wounds

First Aid

Steps for first aid treatment of a crush injury are:

  • Stop bleeding by applying direct pressure.
  • Cover the area with a wet cloth or bandage. Then, raise the area above the level of the heart, if possible.
  • If there is suspicion of a head, neck or spinal injury, immobilize those areas if possible and then limit movement to only the crushed area.
  • Call your local emergency number (such as 911) or local hospital for further advice.

Crush injuries most often need to be evaluated in a hospital emergency department. Surgery may be needed.

 

References

Klimke A, Furin M. Prehospital immobilization. In: Roberts JR, Hedges JR, eds. Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 46.

 

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                Review Date: 11/4/2015

                Reviewed By: Jesse Borke, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Attending Physician at FDR Medical Services/Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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