Posted: October 5th, 2023
Case Study A 42-year-old man comes to the clinic with a chief complaint of pain
Case Study Analysis: A Leg Injury with Complications
A 42-year-old male presented to the emergency department with complaints of pain, redness, and swelling in his right calf. He reported sustaining a laceration to the leg several days prior while using a string trimmer in his yard. The patient stated he had cleaned the wound with water from a garden hose and applied a large bandage at the time of injury.
In the days following the incident, the individual began experiencing a fever of 100.6°F along with chills. Additionally, swelling and redness had developed around the injury site. These worsening signs and symptoms prompted the patient to seek medical evaluation and treatment.
Upon initial examination in the emergency department, clinicians would evaluate the leg for signs of infection. They may check the wound for increased warmth, redness, drainage or bleeding. Swelling and tenderness on palpation could indicate the spread of an infection below the skin surface into deeper tissues (1). Vital signs would be assessed, with elevated temperature supporting the reported fever. Blood tests may show an infection as evidenced by elevated white blood cell count (2).
Based on the history and presenting symptoms, this case suggests the individual developed cellulitis – a bacterial skin infection – in response to the initial trauma. While the wound was cleaned, using non-sterile water and an occlusive bandage created an environment conducive to bacterial overgrowth and spread. As the infection progressed, systemic symptoms manifested.
Prompt medical attention was therefore warranted. Treatment may involve wound cleaning, antibiotics, and elevation/compression to reduce swelling and spread of bacteria (3). Without intervention, cellulitis can potentially lead to lymphangitis, lymphadenitis, or in severe cases, sepsis – all serious complications. This case highlights the importance of proper wound care and seeking care promptly for signs of spreading infection.
In summary, this 42-year-old male likely developed cellulitis from an initial leg laceration that was inappropriately managed at home. Worsening local and systemic signs necessitated emergency evaluation and treatment to prevent further complications. Vigilance and early medical involvement are important to address skin and soft tissue infections.
Mayo Clinic. (2018). Cellulitis. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cellulitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20352790
MedlinePlus. (2020). Cellulitis. https://medlineplus.gov/cellulitis.html
WebMD. (2022). Cellulitis Treatment and Drugs. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/cellulitis/cellulitis-treatment#1
Case Study A 42-year-old man comes to the clinic with a chief complaint of pain, redness, and swelling of his right calf. He states that he had been working in his yard using a string trimmer when the trimmer slipped and cut his leg. He cleaned the wound with water from the garden hose and covered the wound with a large Band-Aid. Several days later, he developed a fever to 100.6˚ F and chills and noticed that his leg was swollen and red. He comes to the emergency department for definitive care.
– avoid generalizing.