5 Most Commonly Broken Bones in Car Accidents

Jul 1, 2021

With 206 bones in the adult human body, it is likely that most people will have a broken or fractured bone at some point in their life. This can occur due to a fall, sports injury, or a car accident- when it’s the latter, certain bones are more likely to break than others because of the mechanics in a crash. While this will sometimes be immediately obvious, it could also be hours or even days before symptoms appear, but it is important to see an Atlanta car accident doctor as soon as possible to begin treatment. Below are the most commonly broken bones in an accident so that you can be aware of these areas of the body in an accident’s aftermath.

Types of Breaks and Fractures

Depending on the type of impact and the strength of the bone, breaks and fractures can happen in a variety of ways, which may require different treatments. This is why even breaks that can’t be healed by a cast should be seen by an Atlanta car accident doctor to determine the type and severity of the break.

Some common forms include the following:

  1. Simple/Closed Fractures: Bones break under the skin.
  2. Compound/Open Fractures: The skin is pierced by a broken bone, which may be visible.
  3. Transverse Fractures: A straight, horizontal break across the bone.
  4. Oblique Fractures: A diagonal break across the bone.
  5. Comminuted Fractures: The bone shatters into three or more pieces.
  6. Segmental Fractures: A single bone fractures in two places, causing a “floating” piece of the bone to be unattached.
  7. Compression Fractures: The bone is crushed, becoming wider and flatter.
  8. Spiral Fractures: The break is in a spiral shape around the bone, usually because the bone was twisted during the injury.
  9. Greenstick Fractures: An incomplete break, where the bone bends but does not entirely separate.
  10. Avulsion Fractures: A bone is pulled off due to the movement of a tendon or ligament.
  11. Impacted Fractures: Two bones are driven together, causing a break.
  12. Stress Fracture: A small crack forms in the bone due to a repeated motion.

Some of these types can occur in the same bone at the same time.

Identifying a Broken Bone

Some broken bones, like a compound/open fracture, will be immediately obvious. But some can feel more like a muscle sprain, especially with the adrenaline from your car accident still present. An Atlanta car accident doctor will be able to identify broken bones quickly using x-ray imaging and a physical examination, but some symptoms to look out for include:

  1. Intense pain, especially when the area is touched or weight is put on it
  2. Visible deformities
  3. Swelling, bruising, or tenderness
  4. Numbness and tingling
  5. Difficulty moving a body part

Top 5 Broken Bones in Car Accidents

Any bone in the body could be broken in a car accident when enough force is placed upon it, but some are more likely than others. These are the 5 bones that Atlanta car accident doctors most often report in their clinics.

  1. Legs: All three leg bones (the femur, tibia, or fibula) are commonly broken in an accident. This can occur because the person braces for impact by tightening their legs, leaving them vulnerable to pressure, but it is also common when a car caves in and the dashboard traps or crushes the legs.
  2. Arms and Wrists: Similar to legs, many people use their arms to brace for impact, leaving them vulnerable. Wrists in particular have very delicate bones that break with little pressure.
  3. Clavicle: Also known as the collarbone, the clavicle is very commonly broken because of the pressure a seatbelt exerts on the chest. This is seen even more often in children, as the bone doesn’t completely harden until around the age of 20.
  4. Ankles: Ankle bones are delicate compared to other bones in the legs, and when crushed can very easily break or shatter. Ankle fractures are some of the most likely to require surgery.
  5. Hips: The hip connects your thigh bone and your pelvis, and due to their complex nature, can be difficult to heal. Bracing for impact or crushing impact in a car can cause hips to break during an accident.

Other car accident commonly broken bones include face or skull bones, ribs, spinal discs, and the pelvis.

If you have been in an accident, visit AICA Conyers immediately to identify or rule out a broken bone. Our Atlanta car accident doctors will be able to perform diagnostic imaging to identify the type of break you have suffered and create a plan for treatment that meets your needs and facilitates a full recovery. Contact us today to get started!