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IUC – Acute Injuries

Most acute injuries occur in the hands, wrists, feet, ankles, head, and neck. Close to 50% of these injuries are in the form of sprains and strains in different parts of the body, with falls being a common reason for acute injuries.

Acute injuries are those that are severe and occur suddenly as a result of a traumatic event such as a traumatic event such as a fall, a sports-related injury or an accident. Injuries can include sprained ankles or wrists, a strain in the back or neck, fractures in different affected parts of the body, ligament or muscle tears and joint injuries.

What are the usual causes of acute injuries?
Acute injuries are typically isolated events and occur due to a host of factors and do not affect more than one part of the body. The most common factors causing acute injuries are:

  • Home-related acute injuries
  • Work-related acute injuries
  • Sports-related acute injuries

Injuries can be caused by overexertion (carrying heavy weights, repetitive actions affecting specific parts of the body, lifting or shifting heavy objects, etc.), falls, slips, falling objects, etc. Sports-related injuries or are common in most contact sports, and include:

  • twisted ankles
  • dislocations
  • fractures
  • cuts/wounds
  • many other acute injuries

Another common cause of acute injuries are from falls, with many patients hospitalized each year due to a fall-related injury such as a head injury or hip fractures.

Falls or slips are common among older folks while sports-related injuries are much more common among younger people.

What is the difference between acute and chronic injuries?
The difference between acute and chronic injuries is based on how long it took for the injury to occur. An acute injury is caused from a sudden or severe trauma such as a fall, an accident or a sports injury. A chronic injury develops over a period of time due to overuse or repetitive motions. In the case of a chronic injury, even a mild pain left untreated can develop over a period of time into a chronic condition.

The causes of both acute and chronic injuries could also be home-, work-, or sports-related. For example, years of running without proper attention being paid to posture or the right footwear could result in severe knee pain that could last for years – even turning into chronic pain.

While an acute injury is characterized by severe and sudden pain, bruising, inflammation, etc., chronic pain can present itself with persistent pain and constant inflammation even when at rest.

What are the most common acute injuries that can occur?
Some of the commonly occurring acute injuries include:

Sprains – A sprain can occur in the upper and lower parts of the body. Ankle sprain are extremely common in sports activities and accidental falls/slips. A sprain can also result in the tearing of fracturing of a ligament or muscle.

  • Strains – Sudden lifting of a heavy object, bad posture or jerky movements can cause sudden and severe pain in the muscle(s) or tendons. Strains in the back and hamstring are the most common and can occur in different parts of the body depending on the specific trauma that occurred.
  • Dislocations – A sudden fall or a heavy impact can cause a joint to get dislocated. Hip dislocations are commonly caused in senior citizens who are more prone to falls and fall-related injuries.
  • Fractures – Fractures usually occur in the forearm, wrist, ankle, elbow, and knee. Most broken bones occur as a result of an accident or a fall and are classified as: compound, hairline, comminuted, etc.
  • Head injuries – A fall or an accident can result in a minor bump or bruising to the head or can cause a traumatic brain injury. Concussions, skull fractures, and scalp wounds often occur when a hard impact takes place on or near the head. With these injuries, in particular, it is crucial to get medical care immediately.
  • Abscess – Bacterial infections cause most abscesses and occur from minor cuts, scrapes or burns on the skin.
  • Wounds – Injuries such as burns, lacerations, abrasions or punctures.

 

What are the common symptoms of acute injuries?
An acute injury is usually characterized by a sudden sharp or shooting pain. It is often accompanied with inflammation and/or bruising of the skin, which can be indicative of poor blood circulation in that part of the body.

Due to the suddenness of an traumatic event which causes an acute injury, pain is the predominant indication that an injury has occurred.

Here are some common symptoms of acute injuries:

  • Sudden and severe pain
  • Inflammation
  • Crunching or popping sound in the region of pain
  • Mild to severe bruising and skin discoloration
  • Tenderness in a limb
  • Numbness in the region
  • Inability to place weight on a knee, ankle, foot or leg
  • Inability to move specific joints
  • Burns
  • Open wounds
  • Severe bleeding
  • Bumps or protrusions
  • Extreme weakness in the limbs
  • Visible protrusion of a bone out of its place
  • Visible deformities
  • Lacerations or deep cuts on the skin

When should you visit an urgent care center for your acute injury?
Acute injuries, depending on the severity of the pain and other symptoms, will require immediate medical attention.

If an acute injury results in the following symptoms, it is important to get immediate and professional medical care – as symptoms are often indicative of a head injury:

  • Nausea
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Loss of memory
  • Loss of consciousness

In case of any injury to the head, however mild, it is always advisable to contact your medical care provider immediately.

A simple sprain or mild burn or cut are easily treated at home. Over-the-counter (OTC) medications can address any pain while rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) can help address mild swelling. If, however, you have a deep cut, significant burns, bumps or protrusions or any of the other symptoms listed above, you should visit an urgent care center, like Integra Urgent. Stitches for lacerations, a sling or cast for a fracture, or proper cleaning and bandages for a wound will be required from a qualified medical care provider. If you are seeing visible deformities, or suspect severe dislocation or fractures, visit a healthcare professional immediately.

All Integra Urgent Care clinics are equipped to handle acute of injuries like sprains, strains, fractures and dislocations. For injuries and trauma to the head, you should immediately visit an emergency room/trauma center.

How can acute injuries be diagnosed and treated?
When you meet with your physician after an injury, you will first undergo a thorough physical examination and evaluation. The physician will take notes of your symptoms and conduct a physical examination to check for injuries or abnormalities. Areas of swelling and/or tenderness can help identify the extent and nature of the acute injury. An X-ray or MRI may be recommended to evaluate any damage to bones and/or the surrounding muscles.

Depending on the nature and severity of the injury, your physician at Integra Urgent Care will recommend a treatment plan which includes the following:

  • Application of hot or cold packs
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for the inflammation and pain
  • Local application of gels and ointments
  • RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation
  • Sling, splint, cast or leg immobilizer
  • Surgical stitches or sutures

Depending on the severity and nature of the injury, your physician may advise surgery. This could be due to soft tissue damage (such as torn or ruptured muscles or ligaments), fractures, damage to internal organs and/or traumatic brain injury.


What are the risk factors for acute injuries?
Anyone at any age can experience a traumatic event such as a minor accident, a slip, a fall or an exercise- or sports-related injury, which results in an acute injury. The risk factors for acute injuries are constant, however, certain occupations and age groups have a higher risk of experiencing an acute injury. These include:

  • Someone who regularly lifts/shifts heavy objects or undertakes strenuous tasks.
  • Those who participate in heavy activities or exercises.
  • Those who regularly participate in sports.
  • People above the age of 60
  • Those who regularly use medicines (such as tranquilizers, sedatives, or antidepressants) which affects balance.
  • People who have improper ergonomics in their working environment.
  • Those with poor vision

 

How can you prevent acute injuries?
Not all causes of acute injuries can be prevented since they occur suddenly. You can, however, follow a few basic precautions to mitigate the risk of experiencing this type of injury. They are:

  1. Mitigating occupational risks – Wearing appropriate personal protection equipment while at work, designing and organizing tasks appropriately, following correct handling techniques.
  2. Mitigating age-related risks – Preventing falls by improving balance and gait, making the home safer for older family members and young children, regularly evaluating your risk with your medical care provider.
  3. Mitigating activity-related risks – Wearing the right apparel and safety equipment while participating in sports and activities, following the right postures.

Basic and common-sense precautions can range from wearing a seat belt while driving, a helmet while riding a bicycle or wearing the right footwear while exercising.

Integra Urgent Care has well-trained and qualified medical care providers who can treat your acute injury 7 days a week. Visit us at https://integrauc.com/locations/ to locate the clinic closest to you.

 

FAQs

What is an acute injury?
Acute injuries are severe injuries that occur suddenly as a result of a traumatic event such as an accident, a fall or overexertion. These injuries can be in the form of sprained ankles or wrists, a strain in the back or neck, bone fractures, ligament or muscle tears and/or joint injuries.

How are acute injuries treated?
The treatment for an acute injury depends on the nature, location, and severity of the injury. Treatment could simply entail application of hot or cold packs and over-the-counter (OTC) medication to manage inflammation and pain, while sever acute injuries could require surgery.

What are the 4 most common acute injuries?
The most common types of acute injuries include strains, sprains, fractures, and dislocations.

What is the first aid for acute injuries?
Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE), treatment for burns, stitches for cuts, and braces/slings/casts for broken or dislocated bones are considered first aid for acute injuries.

Are acute injuries serious?
An acute injury is a severe and sudden injury. While some of the injuries could be in the form of fractures, cuts, burns or dislocations, head injuries could be indicative of a much more serious condition. Immediately visit an Emergency Room or trauma center if a head injury occurs.

How long does an acute injury last?
The duration of the acute injury is directly dependent on the nature and location of the injury. A small cut or sprain could heal in a matter of days, while a ligament tear could take weeks.