Traumatic injuries to any area of the body may produce nerve damage by cutting, compressing or stretching the nerves in that area. Nerves carry information between our body and brain. Traumatic injuries may damage sensory nerves resulting in loss of sensation such as pain, temperature, and pressure. Motor nerve damage leads to improperly working muscles.
Nerves are insulated by a sheath and made up of many fibers called axons which are grouped into bundles. Traumatic injuries may sever the nerve bundles and its sheath affecting functions. Some injuries such as stretching or pressure injuries result in damage to nerve fibers but an intact insulating sheath. These fibers may gradually grow back within the sheath and restore function. If the sheath and nerve fibers are damaged, it can lead to a complication where nerve fibers regrow abnormally into a scar or neuroma, a painful condition.
In order to avoid complications, your doctor may surgically repair your injured nerves by stitching and reapproximating the cut ends of the nerve in order to restore the continuity of the covering sheath. If a section of nerve is damaged resulting in a gap between nerve fibers, it may be repaired by grafting a piece of nerve from another part of your body. Once nerve repair is accomplished, healing may begin in three to four weeks with about an inch of nerve regrowing every month. During the recovery period, physical therapy is recommended for the joints near the site of injury to prevent stiffness and maintain muscle activity. You may need therapy to re-educate your brain to interpret sensation from the area. If feeling is lost in the area, you are advised to exercise caution to avoid injury until sensation is restored. The degree of healing depends on the type and location of injury and your age, but it is improved with adequate treatment and rehabilitation.