Dr. Sheryl Smith
Crush injuries to the foot are a common workplace injury, causing significant morbidity, disability and lost wages. A report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that more than 60% of workplace injuries involve the musculoskeletal system, and 10% of these are foot and ankle injuries.
Since OSHA’s inception in 1971, occupational injury and illness rates have declined 40% while the American work force has nearly doubled. However, while the total number of days lost from work due to occupational injuries has declined, the percentage of foot and ankle injuries has remained relatively constant.
Primary causes for crush foot injuries are from falling heavy objects, motor, industrial or railway vehicles rolling over the foot, and crush injuries from industrial equipment. There are varying degrees of tissue injury depending on the weight or force. The most serious injuries involve ligament tears of the plantar fascia, amputations, soft tissue avulsion, and multiple fractures. Another serious complication is the development of such severe swelling and internal pressure within the foot that circulation is compromised.
Dr. Smith will perform a visual inspection along with a health and accident history. She will want to know how the foot and ankle looked and worked before the accident. She will inspect the nerve and vascular status to make sure the surrounding tissue does not have further problems developing. Additional testing may include x-ray, lab work and other diagnostic testing such as MRI and CT Scan.
Depending on the severity of the crush, you may see a few or all of the symptoms associated with foot trauma. Light to severe swelling, bruising and pain are all consistent with crush injuries.
Treating the pain is often the first condition of a crush injury. A “block” injection can alleviate feeling in the foot long enough for the doctor to determine the full extent of the injury. Once a full diagnosis has been made, Dr. Smith can prepare a plan to treat any punctures, fractures and circulatory problems. If surgery is indicated, she will choose a method that will help reduce the lingering and permanent effects of the crush injury.