What is Fracture?
A bone fracture is a full or partial break in the continuity of bone tissue. Fractures can occur in any bone in the body due to sports injuries, car accidents, or falls. These painful injuries take time to heal. However, many bone fractures can be the result of some medical conditions that weaken the bones. This includes osteoporosis and some specific types of cancer. The medical term for these is a pathologic fracture.
Causes of Bone Fractures:
Traumatic incidents such as sports injuries, vehicle accidents, and falls.
Conditions like osteoporosis and some types of cancer make bones break more easily.
Symptoms of Bone Fractures
- Discolored skin around the affected area
- Protrusion of the affected area at an unusual angle
- Unable to put weight on the injured area
- Inability to move the affected area
- A grinding sensation in the affected bone or joint
- Bleeding if it is an open fracture
In more serious cases, people may experience:
Traumatic bone injuries can happen any time & anywhere. Book an Appointment today with our best orthopedists to avoid these serious consequences.
Types of Bone Fracture:
A bone fracture can generally be categorized based on its characteristics. These categories include:
This type of fracture can be caused by traumatic events such as falls or car accidents.
Closed or open fractures
If the injury does not break the skin, it is called a closed fracture. If the skin breaks, it is called an open fracture or a compound fracture.
This is a small, hairline crack in the bone that occurs mostly in children because their bones are more flexible than adult bones.
The most common form is a stress fracture, which often occurs in the foot or lower leg as a result of repeated stress from activities such as jogging or running.
A comminuted fracture is one in which the bone breaks into 3 or more pieces. The bone fragments are also found on the fracture site.
An avulsion fracture occurs when a tendon or ligament tears off a piece of bone.
Compression fractures most often occur in the spine and can cause the vertebrae to collapse. Seniors, especially those with osteoporosis, are at greater risk.
An impacted fracture occurs when the broken ends of the bone come together.
The doctor will perform a physical evaluation and order imaging tests to determine the type and severity of the fracture.
- X-Rays produce a two-dimensional image of the break.
- A bone scan is used to find fractures that do not show up on an x-ray.
- A Computed Tomography Scan uses computers and X-rays to create detailed cross-sections of the bone.
- An MRI creates very detailed images using strong magnetic fields. MRI is often used to diagnose a stress fracture.
- A splint, brace, or cast are assistive devices used to stabilize and support a broken bone while it heals.
- Traction is an immobilization technique that uses pulleys and weights to gently stretch the muscles and tendons around a broken bone and align the ends of the bone to promote healing.
- Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) surgery require severe fractures in which the doctor realigns the broken bone and uses rods, screws, and plates to hold it in place while it heals.
- In external fixation, the doctor places metal pins or screws into the broken bone above and below the fracture site. The pins or screws are connected to a metal bar outside the skin.
Although bone fractures usually heal well with proper treatment, there can be complications, such as:
- A fracture may heal in the wrong position or the bones may move during the healing process.
- If a childhood bone fracture is interrupted during healing, this can affect the typical development of that bone.
- In a compound fracture, bacteria may enter through the skin and infect the bone or bone marrow.
How to Prevent Bone Fractures?
- Always wear the seat belt when riding in a motor vehicle.
- Always wear the proper safety gear (helmets and another protective padding) for recreational activities such as bicycling, snowboarding, or contact sports.
- Keep hallways and stairwells free of tripping hazards.
- If a person has osteoporosis, exercise regularly to improve strength and balance.
- Talk to the doctor about starting bone-building medications and supplements (such as calcium and vitamin D).