Health Topics

Injuries and wounds

Shoulder Injuries and Disorders
National Library of Medicine
Clavicle Injuries
Collarbone Injuries
Frozen Shoulder
Scapula Injuries

Your shoulder joint is composed of three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone). Your shoulders are the most movable joints in your body. They can also be unstable because the ball of the upper arm is larger than the shoulder socket that holds it. To remain in a stable or normal position, the shoulder must be anchored by muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Because your shoulder can be unstable, it can be easily injured. Common problems include

  • Sprains and strains
  • Dislocations
  • Separations
  • Tendinitis
  • Bursitis
  • Torn rotator cuffs
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Fractures (broken bones)
  • Arthritis

Health care providers diagnose shoulder problems by using your medical history, a physical exam, and imaging tests.

Often, the first treatment for shoulder problems is RICE. This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Other treatments include exercise and medicines to reduce pain and swelling. If those don't work, you may need surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases


Shoulder Injuries
Acromioclavicular Joint
Shoulder Fractures
Bones, Joints and Muscles
Injuries and Wounds
Your shoulder joint is composed of three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone). Your shoulders are ...
Head Injuries
National Library of Medicine
Cranial Injuries
Skull Fractures
Skull Injuries

Chances are you've bumped your head before. Often, the injury is minor because your skull is hard and it protects your brain. But other head injuries can be more severe, such as a skull fracture, concussion, or traumatic brain injury.

Head injuries can be open or closed. A closed injury does not break through the skull. With an open, or penetrating, injury, an object pierces the skull and enters the brain. Closed injuries are not always less severe than open injuries.

Some common causes of head injuries are falls, motor vehicle accidents, violence, and sports injuries.

It is important to know the warning signs of a moderate or severe head injury. Get help immediately if the injured person has

  • A headache that gets worse or does not go away
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • An inability to wake up
  • Dilated (enlarged) pupil in one or both eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness or numbness in the arms or legs
  • Loss of coordination
  • Increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation

Doctors use a neurologic exam and imaging tests to make a diagnosis. Treatment depends on the type of injury and how severe it is.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


Craniocerebral Trauma
Skull Fractures
Injuries and Wounds
Chances are you've bumped your head before. Often, the injury is minor because your skull is hard and it protects your brain. But other head injuries can be ...
Knee Injuries and Disorders
National Library of Medicine
ACL Injuries
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury
Baker's Cyst
Chondromalacia Patellae
Meniscus
Patella

Your knee joint is made up of bone, cartilage, ligaments and fluid. Muscles and tendons help the knee joint move. When any of these structures is hurt or diseased, you have knee problems. Knee problems can cause pain and difficulty walking.

Knee problems are very common, and they occur in people of all ages. Knee problems can interfere with many things, from participation in sports to simply getting up from a chair and walking. This can have a big impact on your life.

The most common disease affecting the knee is osteoarthritis. The cartilage in the knee gradually wears away, causing pain and swelling.

Injuries to ligaments and tendons also cause knee problems. A common injury is to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). You usually injure your ACL by a sudden twisting motion. ACL and other knee injuries are common sports injuries.

Treatment of knee problems depends on the cause. In some cases your doctor may recommend knee replacement.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases


Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Knee Injuries
Bones, Joints and Muscles
Injuries and Wounds
Your knee joint is made up of bone, cartilage, ligaments and fluid. Muscles and tendons help the knee joint move. When any of these structures is hurt or ...
Wounds and Injuries
National Library of Medicine
Accidents
Injuries
Lacerations
Traumatic injuries

An injury is damage to your body. It is a general term that refers to harm caused by accidents, falls, hits, weapons, and more. In the U.S., millions of people injure themselves every year. These injuries range from minor to life-threatening. Injuries can happen at work or play, indoors or outdoors, driving a car, or walking across the street.

Wounds are injuries that break the skin or other body tissues. They include cuts, scrapes, scratches, and punctured skin. They often happen because of an accident, but surgery, sutures, and stitches also cause wounds. Minor wounds usually aren't serious, but it is important to clean them. Serious and infected wounds may require first aid followed by a visit to your doctor. You should also seek attention if the wound is deep, you cannot close it yourself, you cannot stop the bleeding or get the dirt out, or it does not heal.

Other common types of injuries include

  • Animal bites
  • Bruises
  • Burns
  • Dislocations
  • Electrical injuries
  • Fractures (broken bones)
  • Sprains and strains

Wounds and Injuries
Skin, Hair and Nails
Injuries and Wounds
Safety Issues
An injury is damage to your body. It is a general term that refers to harm caused by accidents, falls, hits, weapons, and more. In the U.S., millions of ...
Chest Injuries and Disorders
National Library of Medicine
Mediastinal Disorders
Rib Injuries
Thoracic Injuries

The chest is the part of the body between your neck and your abdomen. It includes the ribs and breastbone. Inside your chest are several organs, including the heart, lungs, and esophagus. The pleura, a large thin sheet of tissue, lines the inside of the chest cavity.

Chest injuries and disorders include

  • Heart diseases
  • Lung diseases and collapsed lung
  • Pleural disorders
  • Esophagus disorders
  • Broken ribs
  • Thoracic aortic aneurysms
  • Disorders of the mediastinum, the space between the lungs, breastbone, and spine

Rib Fractures
Thoracic Injuries
Thoracic Diseases
Bones, Joints and Muscles
Injuries and Wounds
... lines the inside of the chest cavity. Chest injuries and disorders include Heart diseases Lung diseases and ...
Traumatic Brain Injury
National Library of Medicine
TBI
Acquired brain injury
What is traumatic brain injury (TBI)?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a sudden injury that causes damage to the brain. It may happen when there is a blow, bump, or jolt to the head. This is a closed head injury. A TBI can also happen when an object penetrates the skull. This is a penetrating injury.

Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe. Concussions are a type of mild TBI. The effects of a concussion can sometimes be serious, but most people completely recover in time. More severe TBI can lead to serious physical and psychological symptoms, coma, and even death.

What causes traumatic brain injury (TBI)?

The main causes of TBI depend on the type of head injury:

  • Some of the common causes of a closed head injury include
    • Falls. This is the most common cause in adults age 65 and older.
    • Motor vehicle crashes. This is the most common cause in young adults.
    • Sports injuries
    • Being struck by an object
    • Child abuse. This is the most common cause in children under age 4.
    • Blast injuries due to explosions
  • Some of the common causes of a penetrating injury include
    • Being hit by a bullet or shrapnel
    • Being hit by a weapon such as a hammer, knife, or baseball bat
    • A head injury that causes a bone fragment to penetrate the skull

Some accidents such as explosions, natural disasters, or other extreme events can cause both closed and penetrating TBI in the same person.

Who is at risk for traumatic brain injury (TBI)?

Certain groups are at higher risk of TBI:

  • Men are more likely to get a TBI than women. They are also more likely to have serious TBI.
  • Adults aged 65 and older are at the greatest risk for being hospitalized and dying from a TBI
What are the symptoms of traumatic brain injury (TBI)?

The symptoms of TBI depend on the type of injury and how serious the brain damage is.

The symptoms of mild TBI can include

  • A brief loss of consciousness in some cases. However, many people with mild TBI remain conscious after the injury.
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision or tired eyes
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • A change in sleep patterns
  • Behavioral or mood changes
  • Trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking

If you have a moderate or severe TBI, you may have those same symptoms. You may also have other symptoms such as

  • A headache that gets worse or does not go away
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Not being able to wake up from sleep
  • Larger than normal pupil (dark center) of one or both eyes. This is called dilation of the pupil.
  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness or numbness in the arms and legs
  • Loss of coordination
  • Increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation
How is traumatic brain injury (TBI) diagnosed?

If you have a head injury or other trauma that may have caused a TBI, you need to get medical care as soon as possible. To make a diagnosis, your health care provider

  • Will ask about your symptoms and the details of your injury
  • Will do a neurologic exam
  • May do imaging tests, such as a CT scan or MRI
  • May use a tool such as the Glasgow coma scale to determine how severe the TBI is. This scale measures your ability to open your eyes, speak, and move.
  • May do neuropsychological tests to check how your brain is functioning
What are the treatments for traumatic brain injury (TBI)?

The treatments for TBI depend on many factors, including the size, severity, and location of the brain injury.

For mild TBI, the main treatment is rest. If you have a headache, you can try taking over-the-counter pain relievers. It is important to follow your health care provider's instructions for complete rest and a gradual return to your normal activities. If you start doing too much too soon, it may take longer to recover. Contact your provider if your symptoms are not getting better or if you have new symptoms.

For moderate to severe TBI, the first thing health care providers will do is stabilize you to prevent further injury. They will manage your blood pressure, check the pressure inside your skull, and make sure that there is enough blood and oxygen getting to your brain.

Once you are stable, the treatments may include

  • Surgery to reduce additional damage to your brain, for example to
    • Remove hematomas (clotted blood)
    • Get rid of damaged or dead brain tissue
    • Repair skull fractures
    • Relieve pressure in the skull
  • Medicines to treat the symptoms of TBI and to lower some of the risks associated with it, such as
    • Anti-anxiety medication to lessen feelings of nervousness and fear
    • Anticoagulants to prevent blood clots
    • Anticonvulsants to prevent seizures
    • Antidepressants to treat symptoms of depression and mood instability
    • Muscle relaxants to reduce muscle spasms
    • Stimulants to increase alertness and attention
  • Rehabilitation therapies, which can include therapies for physical, emotional, and cognitive difficulties:
    • Physical therapy, to build physical strength, coordination, and flexibility
    • Occupational therapy, to help you learn or relearn how to perform daily tasks, such as getting dressed, cooking, and bathing
    • Speech therapy, to help you to with speech and other communication skills and treat swallowing disorders
    • Psychological counseling, to help you learn coping skills, work on relationships, and improve your emotional well-being
    • Vocational counseling, which focuses on your ability to return to work and deal with workplace challenges
    • Cognitive therapy, to improve your memory, attention, perception, learning, planning, and judgment

Some people with TBI may have permanent disabilities. A TBI can also put you at risk for other health problems such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Treating these problems can improve your quality of life.

Can traumatic brain injury (TBI) be prevented?

There are steps you can take to prevent head injuries and TBIs:

  • Always wear your seatbelt and use car seats and booster seats for children
  • Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Wear a properly fitting helmet when riding a bicycle, skateboarding, and playing sports like hockey and football
  • Prevent falls by
    • Making your house safer. For example, you can install railings on the stairs and grab bars in the tub, get rid of tripping hazards, and use window guards and stair safety gates for young children.
    • Improving your balance and strength with regular physical activity

Brain Injuries, Traumatic
Brain and Nerves
Injuries and Wounds
What is traumatic brain injury (TBI)? Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a sudden injury that causes damage to the brain. It may happen when there is a blow, ...
Facial Injuries and Disorders
National Library of Medicine
Craniofacial Injuries

Face injuries and disorders can cause pain and affect how you look. In severe cases, they can affect sight, speech, breathing and your ability to swallow. Fractures (broken bones), especially in the bones of your nose, cheekbone and jaw, are common facial injuries.

Certain diseases also lead to facial disorders. For example, nerve diseases like trigeminal neuralgia or Bell's palsy sometimes cause facial pain, spasms and trouble with eye or facial movement. Birth defects can also affect the face. They can cause underdeveloped or unusually prominent facial features or a lack of facial expression. Cleft lip and palate are a common facial birth defect.


Craniofacial Abnormalities
Facial Injuries
Brain and Nerves
Ear, Nose and Throat
Injuries and Wounds
Face injuries and disorders can cause pain and affect how you look. In severe cases, they can affect sight, ...
Finger Injuries and Disorders
National Library of Medicine
Dupuytren Contracture
Thumb Injuries

You use your fingers and thumbs to do everything from grasping objects to playing musical instruments to typing. When there is something wrong with them, it can make life difficult. Common problems include

  • Injuries that result in fractures (broken bones), ruptured ligaments and dislocations
  • Osteoarthritis - wear-and-tear arthritis. It can also cause deformity.
  • Tendinitis - irritation of the tendons
  • Dupuytren's contracture - a hereditary thickening of the tough tissue that lies just below the skin of your palm. It causes the fingers to stiffen and bend.
  • Trigger finger - an irritation of the sheath that surrounds the flexor tendons. It can cause the tendon to catch and release like a trigger.

Finger Injuries
Bones, Joints and Muscles
Injuries and Wounds
... it can make life difficult. Common problems include Injuries that result in fractures (broken bones), ruptured ligaments ...
Heel Injuries and Disorders
National Library of Medicine
Achilles Tendon Injuries
Plantar Fasciitis

Heel problems are common and can be painful. Often, they result from too much stress on your heel bone and the tissues that surround it. That stress can come from

  • Injuries
  • Bruises that you get walking, running or jumping
  • Wearing shoes that don't fit or aren't made well
  • Being overweight

These can lead to tendinitis, bursitis, and fasciitis, which are all types of inflammation of the tissues that surround your heel. Over time the stress can cause bone spurs and deformities. Certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout, can also lead to heel problems. Treatments for heel problems might include rest, medicines, exercises, taping, and special shoes. Surgery is rarely needed.


Heel
Bones, Joints and Muscles
Injuries and Wounds
... that surround it. That stress can come from Injuries Bruises that you get walking, running or jumping ...
Back Injuries
National Library of Medicine

Your back is made of bones, muscles, and other tissues extending from your neck to your pelvis. Back injuries can result from sports injuries, work around the house or in the garden, or a sudden jolt such as a car accident. The lower back is the most common site of back injuries and back pain. Common back injuries include

  • Sprains and strains
  • Herniated disks
  • Fractured (broken) vertebrae

These injuries can cause pain and limit your movement. Treatments vary but might include medicines, icing, bed rest, physical therapy, or surgery. You might be able to prevent some back injuries by maintaining a healthy weight, lifting objects with your legs, and using lower-back support when you sit.


Back Injuries
Bones, Joints and Muscles
Injuries and Wounds
Your back is made of bones, muscles, and other tissues extending from your neck to your pelvis. Back injuries can result from sports injuries, work around ...