Bone Fractures from Motorcycle Accidents
One of the more common injuries sustained by motorcycle riders in an accident is bone fractures. The lower extremities are usually the first to suffer some type of fracture since they may hit the pavement as you are ejected or fall from your bike. Tibia, femur, and fibula fractures can occur as well as a broken hip. If the trauma is to the upper part of the legs, then a hip fracture can occur.
There are 4 types of bone fractures:
Where there are 3 or more pieces of bone separated from one another, that is referred to as a comminuted fracture. Surgery is generally required to treat this condition
Tibia/Fibula and Ankle Fractures
Tibia/fibula fractures are commonly sustained by motorcyclists since this area is not as protected by muscle and tissue as other bony areas. If the fracture is an open one or where the bone protrudes through the skin, then severe infection can occur. This will require surgical intervention to clean up the contaminated area. Surgeons generally insert a rod that is pushed down the center of the bone and then is affixed with screws and plates.
Ankle fractures are prevalent as well since this area is also not well protected by muscle and tissue. Fractures of both of the medial and lateral sides will require surgery.
Vertebrae make up the spinal cord with small bony protrusions called pedicles and processes that emanate from the side. If broken, a piece can lodge against the spine and cause bruising or pressure. It can also lead to paralysis of the body below the injury.
Skull fractures can be catastrophic. A comminuted fracture or one where the bone is shattered into fragments is especially serious since they can be embedded in the brain. If a depressed skull fracture, surgeons have to remove the fragments pressing on the brain to relieve pressure. Fractures at the base of the skull called basilar fractures can cause pooling of blood in the sinuses and fluid to leak from the nose and ears and cause severe nerve damage to the facial nerves.
In a study of facial injuries, over 5000 riders who had been involved in an accident were studied and followed over a 3-year period. About 24% of the riders had sustained a facial injury. It was determined that the riders with facial injuries were 3.5 times more likely to have sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) than those who had no facial injury. Those with upper facial fractures were 6 times more likely to suffer from TBI.