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Break a leg!

Break a leg is an idiom used in theatre to wish a performer “good luck”. Reading more about this term, I found the term appears to have come from the belief that uttering the words ‘good luck’ to an actor was unlucky! Break a leg also means ‘make a strenuous effort!

Sadly, in everyday life breaking a leg or other fractures are one of the most commonly recorded diagnoses in Accident and Emergency departments across the country. An adult human body is composed of 206 bones and at some point during our life time, the majority of us will break one.

A fracture can be anything from a broken finger, ankle or toe, to a broken arm, pelvis, leg or back. As we know all will require medical attention and most will require some form of treatment and physiotherapy.

Accident or negligence?

Fractures can, of course, be caused by genuine accidents. Unfortunately, however, they can also be caused by an accident that could have been prevented, in other words it happened as a result of someone else’s negligence. In these circumstances the injured person has the right to pursue a claim for compensation.

Preventable accidents which can cause fractures include accidents at work, trips and slips, road traffic accidents and falls from height. The impact of the injuries will vary from one person to another.

The daily impact of living with a fractured bone

Personal injury involving all types of fractures can cause pain, discomfort, swelling, reduced muscle strength, decreased range of motion, altered sensation and a change in appearance. Suffering a fracture may also bring on psychological symptoms including depression, anxiety, low mood and fatigue.

Recreational and leisure activities can be affected, with hobbies and other interests having to be put on hold in the short term. Sometimes fractures will significantly impact on our daily life leading to never being able to return to the same level of activity, prior to the accident. I have seen cases where fractures restrict an injured person’s social activities with family and friends and they find that they struggle to attend and remain at social gatherings.

Housework and other normal daily activities may also be affected, sometimes with additional help needed to support families.

Going to work may also be an issue – for a few days through to a number of years. This can amount to a substantial loss of earnings, pension entitlements and benefits. One fracture can have a significant impact – physically, psychologically, socially and financially.

My experience is that people do make a ’strenuous effort’ to get better when they suffer a fracture, however, coping with the wider impact often means needing expert medical support and legal advice to ensure you receive full rehabilitation and to help get back into the position you would have been in, had you not been injured, as a result of negligence.

Emily Welstead, Personal Injury Team.