A fracture, like a crack or a break, is a broken bone. A bone can be completely or partially fractured in a variety of ways. Although bones are rigid, they do bend or give slightly when a force is applied to them. If the force is too great, bones will break, just as a plastic ruler will break if bent too far.
The force that caused the break usually determines the severity of the fracture. If the breaking point of the bone is only slightly exceeded, the bone may crack rather than break all the way through. The bone may shatter if the force is too great, such as from a car accident or a gunshot.
Who is more prone to get bone fractures?
Anyone can break a bone, but certain circumstances make it more likely. Many people suffer broken bones as a result of falls, car accidents, and sports injuries. Osteoporosis and other medical conditions can also play a role. Every year, osteoporosis causes at least one million fractures. These injuries are referred to as fragility fractures by medical professionals.
Basics of Bone Fracture
There are several types of bone fractures, with slight variations between them.
Open fractures, also known as compound fractures, occur when there is a skin break or open wound close to the location of the broken bone.
A broken bone with a closed fracture does not pierce the skin.
This crack causes the bone to partially break into two or more pieces.
A complete fracture breaks the bone into separate pieces.
A bone with a stable fracture has only minor damage after it has broken.
The ends of the bone have dislocated when a fracture is displaced.
Major types of bone fracture
Avulsion fractures occur when a small piece of bone connected to a tendon or ligament is pulled away from the main part of the bone. Avulsion fractures in young athletes are most commonly found in the hip, elbow, and ankle.
Comminuted fractures are almost always caused by severe traumas such as car accidents or falls from great heights. A comminuted fracture occurs when your bone is broken in two or more places. The trauma that causes comminuted fractures usually results in shatter-like breaks. They are extremely serious in large bones, and you will almost always require surgery to repair your bones.
Small breaks or cracks in the vertebrae cause compression fractures (the bones that make up your spinal column). The breaks occur in the vertebral body, which is the thick, rounded portion of each vertebra on the front. Fractures in the bone weaken and collapse the spine.
A severe injury in which both a fracture and a dislocation occur at the same time. A loose piece of bone frequently remains jammed between the ends of the dislocated bones and may need to be surgically removed before the dislocation can be reduced.
A greenstick fracture occurs when a bone bends and cracks rather than breaking into individual pieces. The fracture resembles what happens when you attempt to break a small, “green” branch of a tree.
A stress fracture, also known as a hairline fracture, is a small crack or bruise within a bone. This injury is most common in athletes, particularly those who participate in sports that require running and jumping. Hairline fractures can occur in people who have osteoporosis.
A fracture that crosses a joint surface is known as an intraarticular fracture. These fractures also cause cartilage damage. Because multiple bones are involved, fractures to joints are more difficult to treat and heal than simple fractures. Bone fragments within the damaged joint may slow or prevent healing.
Longitudinal fractures are those that occur along (or nearly along) the bone’s axis. This term is most commonly used in the context of a long-bone fracture, though it was also used in the traditional classification of temporal bone fractures.
Oblique fractures happen when your bone breaks at an angle. The fracture is a straight line that is angled across your bone’s width. They’re usually caused by landing on your bone at an angle after a fall, or by being hit from an angle suddenly.
Transverse fractures happen when a bone breaks perpendicular to its length. The fracture pattern is a straight line that runs across your bone in the opposite direction. They can occur in any bone in your body, but usually affect longer bones following a trauma such as a fall or accident.
Symptoms of bone fracture
The severity of a fracture is determined by its location, a person’s age and general health, and the location of the fracture. However, people who have a bone fracture will usually experience some of the following symptoms:
- Discolored skin around the affected area
- Protrusion of the affected area at an unusual angle
- Inability to put weight on the injured area
- Inability to move the affected area
- A grating sensation in the affected bone or joint
- Bleeding if it is an open fracture
Diagnosis and treatment of bone fracture
A doctor will inquire about the circumstances that led to a person’s fracture. They will then conduct a physical examination to arrive at a diagnosis. To fully assess the fracture, they will often order an X-ray and, in some cases, an MRI or CT scan.
Bone healing is a natural process that, in most cases, will occur naturally. As a result, treatment typically focuses on providing the injured bone with the best conditions for healing and ensuring optimal future function.
A doctor will reduce the fracture so that the natural healing process can begin. This entails aligning the broken bones’ ends. In smaller fractures, a doctor can do this by externally manipulating the affected area. In some cases, however, surgery may be required.
Treatment of Bone Fracture
There are several different ways to treat a bone fracture.
Once the bone has been aligned, a plaster or fiberglass cast will be applied to the fracture. This type of cast prevents the bone from moving, promoting proper healing.
Functional cast or brace
This type of cast allows for restricted but controlled movement and is only appropriate for minor fractures. When a fracture is severe enough, it may necessitate more than a cast or brace.
A surgeon will insert screws and wires into the bone, which will then connect to a metal bar on the skin’s surface. This device keeps the bone stable while it heals. Once the fracture has healed, the screws and external device can usually be removed without anesthesia in a doctor’s office.
Open reduction and internal fixation
A surgeon will realign (reduce) the broken bone to its normal position and then secure it with metal plates or special screws. In some cases, a metal rod will be inserted through the bone’s center to stabilize it. The screws and plates are usually left in the bone after the fracture heals, but they may be removed in some cases.
Weights, pulleys, and ropes are used in this treatment to gently realign a broken bone. Traction is typically used as a stopgap measure when a person must wait for surgery.
The success of any bone fracture surgery is decided by the implant which is used in the surgery. Therefore, Zealmax Ortho manufactures and supplies the most reliable orthopedic implants which have an excellent success ratio and are widely used for surgery around the globe. We have a wide range of implants for all parts of bone at a competitive price without compromising quality.