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Potholed-B'luru leaves motorists with compression fractures

Raina Paul, Bengaluru, DH News Service, Sep 15 2017, 2:35 IST
A damaged road on Tumkuru Road, in Bengaluru. DH Photo

A damaged road on Tumkuru Road, in Bengaluru. DH Photo

Bengaluru’s potholes are becoming infamous for increased compression fractures among daily commuters.

The City’s hospitals receive at least 25 cases of compression fractures - collapse or compression of backbone - a month, according to doctors.

“We get at least one patient a day with compression fracture,” said Dr Thomas Chandy, director and chief of Hosmat hospital for Orthopaedics and Accident Trauma. Compression fractures also occur when one falls into a pothole or pit repetitively.

Doctors declare that Bengaluru’s roads are not conducive for daily commute as the numerous potholes may cause bone fractures.

“Back bone fracture is not the only injury that occurs due to bad roads; there are chances of leg fracture too,” said Narayan Hulse, additional director, orthopaedics, Fortis hospital.

Doctors said these fractures become more prevalent during rainy season, among two-wheeler and car users.

Dr Dinesh Manni, consultant, orthopaedic and joint replacement, Narayana hospital said their department receives a majority of patients with compression fractures after road accidents.

He said that the fracture often occurs in the anterior segment of the spine (first part of spine, immediately after the neck) due to the force exerted by a jump into the pothole. Due to this, the spine becomes wedge shaped.

Dr Dinesh Manni, consultant, orthopaedic and joint replacement, Narayana hospital said their department receives a majority of patients with compression fractures after road accidents.

He said that the fracture often occurs in the anterior segment of the spine (first part of spine, immediately after the neck) due to the force exerted by a jump into the pothole. Due to this, the spine becomes wedge shaped.

According to doctors, although compression fractures do no need a surgery, it calls for at least three months of rest with the use of a brace, which is custom made in the hospitals according to the patient’s requirement.

Compression fractures can occur easily in elderly people with osteoporosis, a medical condition where bones become brittle and fragile due to tissue loss.

Small fall, big trouble

“If the fracture is more than 50%, then surgery is required. It may even cause neurological problems. Patients may suffer from chronic pain,” said Dr Satish Rudrappa, director, neurosciences, Sakra World Hospital.

He added that the movement that occurs while falling into a pit does not even need to be of four inches for a compression to take place.

Case study

A 65-year old woman was driving her son to the airport from Marathahalli, where there was a hump without indication mark on it and a pothole adjacent to it. As she could not identify the hump or the pothole, the car underwent an abrupt jump which led to compression fracture on her back bone. She consulted Sakra Hospital with pain and difficulty in passing urine. She later underwent a surgery.

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