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Crush Injury

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.

A crush injury happens when part of your body is trapped under a heavy object, or trapped between objects. You may have one or more broken bones. You may also have tissue damage. The damage can cause pain, numbness, and weakness. A crush injury can cause serious problems that need immediate treatment.



You may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask how to take this medicine safely.
  • Antibiotics prevent or fight a bacterial infection.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You have chest pain, shortness of breath, or cannot think clearly.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • The skin near the injured area turns blue or white or feels cold and numb.
  • You feel pain that increases when you stretch or bend the injured area.
  • The injured area swells or feels tight or hard.
  • You have pale or shiny skin near your injury.
  • You have numbness or trouble moving your injured arm or leg.
  • Your wound is draining pus or smells bad.
  • Your pain or swelling does not go away or gets worse, even after you take medicine.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage or cast.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need more x-rays, or a cast for a broken bone. You may also need treatment for muscle, nerve, or kidney damage. Your healthcare provider may refer you to an orthopedic surgeon or other specialist. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Apply ice:

Ice helps decrease pain and swelling. Ice may also help decrease tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Apply it to the injured area for 20 minutes every hour, or as directed. Ask your healthcare provider how many times each day to apply ice, and for how many days.

Elevate the injured area as directed:

If possible, raise the area as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop it on pillows to keep it elevated comfortably.

Do not smoke:

Smoking can cause tissue damage and delay healing. Ask your healthcare provider for more information if you currently smoke and need help quitting.

Go to therapy as directed:

A physical therapist can teach you exercises to help improve movement and strength. Physical therapy can also help decrease pain and loss of function. An occupational therapist can help you find ways to do daily activities and care for yourself.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.