What is a crush injury? Is it dangerous?

You were working hard on a project when a co-worker suddenly shouted out. When you looked up, you saw a large object they were working with falling toward you. You didn’t have any time to move.

Unfortunately, it was so heavy that you were pinned beneath it. Co-workers wanted to move it, but you told them to wait for the emergency medical team, because you could be in more danger if it was moved. Once the EMTs arrived, they told you that you had a crush injury and would need to be carefully moved and hospitalized.

What is a crush injury?

A crush injury happens when there is an excessive amount of pressure put on the body. For instance, if a steel beam falls over onto you, it could crush your legs.

Crush injuries can lead to:

  • Fractures
  • Bruising
  • Bleeding
  • Lacerations
  • Compartment syndrome

Crush injuries can also lead to crush syndrome. Crush syndrome is very serious and can lead to death without appropriate, and emergency, treatment. Crush syndrome happens because potassium, myoglobin, urate, creatine kinase and phosphate leak into the blood in large quantities. This can cause hypovolaemic shock, hyperkalaemia, metabolic acidosis, acute kidney injury and disseminated intravascular coagulation.

Signs that crush syndrome could occur include not feeling a pulse in the crushed limbs, tea-colored urine, agitation, nausea, vomiting and other significant symptoms. The good news is that these issues can be treated with the right emergency protocol in many patients.

After a significant injury at work like this, you need to know that there will be support for you. Workers’ compensation should cover serious accidents and injuries like these when they happen on the job.