Penetrating extremity trauma is a potentially devastating injury that must be identified and managed expeditiously. Early hemorrhage control may be life-saving. This two-part article comprehensively addresses the approach and management of penetrating extremity trauma, highlighting controversies and advances.
Although many cases of extremity pain are the result of mild, self-limited issues, ischemia and gangrene are catastrophic causes of pain that initially can present with nondescript findings. To limit tissue loss and optimize patient outcomes, emergency physicians must be able to distinguish benign limb pain from the earliest stages of high-risk, life- and limb-threatening disease.