Certain findings should cause a suspicion that a patient may have an open joint injury.


Clinical findings suggesting an open joint injury:

(1) location of traumatic injury in close proximity to the joint

(2) periarticular fracture

(3) exposed joint

(4) joint effusion

(5) hemarthrosis

(6) decreased range of motion in the joint

(7) intra-articular air on a radiograph

(8) intra-articular foreign body

(9) extravasation of injected material from the joint after a diagnostic injection


When in doubt about the diagnosis of an open joint injury it is usually better to manage the injury as one rather than to miss the diagnosis or delay treatment.


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