orthopaedic injury


There are many forms of Orthopaedic Injury, however, the most common include fractures, sprains and strains.

Fracture simply means broken. Bones can be completely or partially fractured and the break could occur in a number of ways (e.g., cross-wise, lengthwise, in the middle, etc.). If the fracture occurs in a hip, knee, ankle or other weight-bearing joint, the injury is considered more serious. This form of damage can lead to lifelong complications including chronic pain or disease.

Sprains and strains are injuries that affect muscles, tendons and ligaments. Sprains are injuries to ligaments and strains are injuries to muscle. These forms of Orthopaedic Injury can be acute (rapid onset, but short lived) or chronic (long-lasting and possibly recurrent).

Serious Orthopaedic Injury occurs when displaced bones damage nerves and surrounding supportive tissue. When this happens, surgery and surgical implants are often necessary.

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orthopaedic injury

Common Injuries

An Orthopaedic Injury can dramatically impact your life, especially if you are in pain or unable to perform common day to day tasks. Serious injuries are often easy to detect because of an obvious deformity or an exposed bone, but even moderate injuries may require further assessments and treatment. Common Orthopaedic Injuries include fractures, sprains and strains.


A fracture is when a bone cracks or breaks. They can happen anywhere in the body, however, a spinal fracture is extremely serious. The most common spinal fractures happen in the thoracic (mid-back) and lumbar (lower back) areas or where the two connect (the thoracolumbar junction).

Types of fractures include:

Compound (open) Fracture

The bone has pierced the skin or the accident that caused the fracture broke the skin. The bone may or may not be visible in the wound. This kind of break is considered more serious as infection to the wound is more likely.

Transverse Fracture

The bone is broken at a right angle to its long axis (i.e., a complete horizontal break).

Greenstick Fracture

The bone is broken on one side, causing the other side of the bone to bend.

Comminuted Fracture

Three or more bone fragments are broken.

sprains and strains

A sprain is a stretched or torn ligament (the connective tissue that joins bones together). A ligament supports the body’s joints, enabling movement, such as walking, running, waving, throwing, etc.

A strain is an injury sustained to muscles or tendons. Tendons are the tissues that attach muscles to bone.

orthopaedic injury

Causes and Complications


A fracture can be a result of a number of accidents. The most common causes are:

  • Falls
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Impact while playing sports (e.g., being crosschecked in hockey or tackled in football, etc.)
  • Violent acts, such as a gunshot wound

When a bone is fractured, it is usually accompanied by a snapping or cracking sound, pain, swelling and deformity.

With a spinal fracture, the primary symptom is moderate to severe back pain that intensifies with movement. If the spinal cord is injured, numbness, tingling, weakness or bowel/bladder dysfunction may occur.

sprains and strains

Sprains are caused by ligaments being stretched too far and typically occur as a result of a slip, fall or even a motor vehicle accident. A direct blow to the body or an accident that causes the muscles or tendons to overstretch can result in a strain.

A sprain causes various levels of pain, bruising, swelling and inflammation. Sprains can be mild, moderate or severe. Torn ligaments are considered severe and are often accompanied by immediate, excruciating pain and limb instability.

Strains typically include pain, muscle spasm, muscle weakness, swelling, inflammation, and cramping. In the case of a severe strain, the muscle or tendon ruptures, often resulting in incapacitation. Some muscle function will be lost if a moderate strain is sustained.

orthopaedic injury



Doctors usually perform an X-ray to verify fractures or broken bones. Once doctors confirm a bone has been broken, and know which form of fracture they are dealing with, they use external or internal devices to hold the broken bone in position while it heals.

External devices include plaster and fibreglass casts, cast-braces and splints. Internal, or surgical methods, include metal plates, pins or screws that hold the bone together and in place.

In the case of spinal fractures, once doctors have stabilized all other life-threatening injuries, they will decide whether spinal surgery is needed.

sprains and strains

Arthroscopy is a common procedure that allows doctors to scope injured joints to assess damage caused by a sprain or strain.

RICES (rest, ice, compression, elevation, stabilization) is often the treatment of choice for mild to moderate sprains and strains. Rehabilitative exercise and lower activity levels may also be recommended.

Treatment of almost any Orthopaedic Injury includes some form of physical therapy or rehabilitation.

orthopaedic injury



Fractures may take several weeks or months to heal depending on their severity. Even after internal or external support devices are removed, physical therapy is often needed to strengthen the muscles around the healed bone. Ligaments may feel stiff from inactivity.

When a fracture occurs in a hip, knee, ankle or other load-bearing joint, lifelong complications can occur. Serious Orthopaedic Injuries can cause chronic pain, including complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), fatigue and disease.

Severe complications can arise with spinal fractures. One potentially fatal complication is blood clots in the legs that can travel to the lungs and cause pulmonary embolism. Pneumonia, pressure sores, and urinary tract infections are also common complications of spinal fractures. If the fracture causes damage to the spinal cord, temporary or permanent paralysis (complete loss of mobility and sensation) may occur.

sprains and strains

The majority of minor to moderate sprains and strains will often heal with proper rest and treatment. A severe sprain or strain may require surgery or complete immobilization followed by intense therapy. Total joint replacement surgery may be necessary for those with severely acute or chronic joint injuries.

orthopaedic injury

Cultural Perspective

Not only can the personal injury lawyers and staff members at Carranza help overcome the language barrier, we can also assist with any cultural issues that may arise, including:

  • Traditional versus modern medicine and conflicts about medications
  • Informing loved ones of medical issues and facilitating discussions between rehab teams and key decision makers in the family
  • Explaining body language and how its interpretation might affect your care
  • The impact of religion on care, treatment and recovery
  • Cultural stigmas surrounding shame, depression and isolation
  • The importance of nutrition, diet and the use of herbal remedies
  • How brain injuries affect the family, their social status and future possibilities
  • Bridging the gap between a family’s beliefs and the Canadian healthcare system

real examples of cultural issues in a case

At Carranza, we understand how difficult it can be when English is not your first language. Cultural differences can often affect your case. Having the right representation can make a big difference.

views of authority

One of our clients grew up in a country where the police were corrupt and violent. He learned early in life to fear and obey the police without question.

In Canada, he was involved in a car accident. He was issued a traffic ticket at the scene for making an improper turn, even though the other vehicle had run a red light. The officer told him to pay the ticket, and the client obeyed even though he did not believe the accident was his fault.

In the resulting civil action for damages, the insurance lawyer argued that our client’s payment of the ticket meant that our client admitted responsibility for making an improper turn and causing the accident. Since we were aware of our client’s previous experience with police in his home country, we were able to demonstrate his deference to police and were able to settle the claim on the basis that the other driver was 100% at fault.

orthopaedic injury

How we can help

Families are often surprised and overwhelmed by how much an injury can impact their lives and their financial situation. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you understand your current situation better and explain your legal entitlements.

At Carranza, our involvement begins the moment we meet you. Through every interaction, we strive to make you feel comfortable, safe and supported to the best of our abilities.

We are so committed to ensuring we consistently meet you and your family’s needs, Carranza has become the only ISO certified personal injury law firm in Canada.

This ISO certification ensures that our firm is held to the highest standard of client service, that we continually improve our communication, our training and our procedures. We did this, because you are the focus of all we do. We did this, because you are important.

At Carranza, our job is more than helping you through litigation; it is also our responsibility to ensure you have the right resources for your rehabilitation. Your medical and rehab teams work hard to help you recover. They will address your physical, emotional, mental and social needs. We will work closely with them, so you and your family do not have to worry about the additional costs of rehab treatments and assistive devices.

Take care of you.

We'll take care of the rest.

orthopaedic injury

Your options for compensation

If you are involved in a vehicle accident there is help available.

You are entitled to:

accident benefits

Whether or not you were at fault for the accident, all Ontario auto insurance policies provide compulsory benefits outlined in the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS).

Your family members and dependents may also be entitled to some benefits even though they were not involved in the accident. Accident Benefits can be claimed no matter what your legal residence status is in this country.

disability insurance

Short-Term or Long-Term disability benefits available from your job or a private policy must be applied for immediately. These benefits are always primary. Your car insurance will only cover what your private disability policy will not cover.

fault-based lawsuits

In addition to the Accident Benefits claim, you may also sue the person or people responsible for the accident.

This type of claim, called a tort claim, seeks compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Economic losses (e.g. present and future income losses)
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • The cost of future medical treatment and care
  • The cost of future attendant care
  • The cost of housekeeping and care giving needs
  • Out of pocket expenses
  • Loss of shared family income
  • Loss of care, guidance and companionship suffered by your immediate family
  • Economic losses of family members incurred due to the accident

Once we have a firm understanding of the particulars of your case, we can provide you with an estimate of what you can expect to recover. We look at every means of compensation available to you. We know how important every dollar recovered is to you and your family.

With significant changes made to the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule as of September 1st, 2010, it is imperative that you consult a lawyer to find out what you may be entitled to. For a printable overview of what you may be entitled to, click here.

orthopaedic injury

Time Limits

Insurance companies will generally only pay for any treatment or expense after you apply for the corresponding benefit, so it is important that you apply for all the benefits you will need as soon as possible. Strict time limits apply. We will meet these deadlines for you, so you can focus on your recovery.

Some of the key limits to keep in mind:

7 Days – you must inform the Accident Benefits insurance company of the accident and that you were hurt.

30 Days – you must complete and send the Accident Benefits application within 30 days of it being provided to you by the insurance company. If you take longer, the insurance company can delay your benefits 45 days and may be able to deny you benefits altogether.

120 Days – you need to give written notice of your intention to sue the at-fault parties.

2 Years – to commence a lawsuit against an at-fault driver or your own insurance company if your benefits are denied.

You must provide the insurance company all the information it needs to determine your entitlement. You have 10 business days after it requests such information to provide it, or it can suspend or deny your benefits.

orthopaedic injury


This website is meant as a general reference for injured persons and their families. The medical and legal information contained in this manual is not intended to offer legal or medical advice. The content of this website is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the professional judgment of a legal and/or healthcare professional, and you should not rely upon any material or statements made on this website for legal or medical advice. It is not intended to create a solicitor-client relationship.

It is recommended that you review any medical information carefully with your doctor or healthcare professional before making any decisions regarding your health or recommended medical treatment. While reasonable attempts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this website, our firm cannot make express or implied representations or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information. Each person's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Please contact an Ontario Personal Injury lawyer for a consultation on your particular personal injury matter.