The sternum or breastbone can be fractured from a blunt blow to the chest. The sternum is a strong bone and if there is enough force to crack or fracture it, there is a possibility that other injuries can occur to the lungs and heart that the sternum protects. Due to these secondary injuries, morality rate after a sternum fracture is estimated to be as high as 25-45%. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers represents people who have fractured their sternum in accidents in Illinois.
Symptoms Of A Fractured Sternum
When there has been a direct blow or hit to the chest there will be several symptoms that are indicative of a cracked or fractured sternum.
- Chest pain. At the time of injury, there is often sharp pain, which can worsen with breathing, coughing or sneezing. There are also may be a chest ache when the person lies down.
- Swelling and bruising. The breastbone area may be swollen and bruised at the site of the injury.
- Deformity. In severe fractures, the sternum may look deformed due to movement of the fracture bone. There can also be increased pain with any bending, twisting or lifting motion.
If a fractured sternum is suspected, the person should seek medical treatment immediately as there could be damage to their internal organs as well.
Fractured Sternums in Accidents
Any blunt shock to the chest can cause a fracture. However, the force usually must be extensive to cause an actual fracture to the sternum and not just a bruise. The main cause of sternum fractures is car accidents, either from the person hitting their chest against the steering wheel or dashboard, or from the seatbelt. Other causes are sport injuries and personal violence.
Treating a Fractured Sternum
When a patient is suspected of having a fractured sternum, x-rays will be performed both from the frontal view and side view. The medical facility may also perform a CAT scan as well. Once a fracture is diagnosed, the next concern will be for the lungs and heart. Often there may be a need to perform an MRI, electrocardiogram and other tests to ensure the internal organs are not injured.
Most sternum (and rib) fractures do not require a brace or any kind of cast. Generally, the sternum will heal on its own, with pain and inflammation medication, rest and limited movement. However, the healing process can take several months and may require physical therapy. In severe cases, surgery may be required to repair the fractured bone or when the fracture is displaced.
Prognosis for a sternum fracture
Although the morality rate is high due to other traumatic injuries, the prognosis is fairly good for most people who have sternum or breastbone fractures. If no internal injuries occurred and surgery was not needed, most people recover in several weeks to a few months. Those who have surgery will have a longer recovery time, usually several months.Chicago Attorneys for Sternum Fracture Injuries
As injury attorneys, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has experience representing people in personal injury cases involving broken bones, including fractured sternums and broken ribs. Our attorneys understand the pain and medical expenses related to these injuries and do everything possible to maximize a recovery for you. Contact our personal injury law office for a free case evaluation where our attorneys will explain your legal rights without any obligation to you. 888-424-5757
Resources for people with fractured sternums: