Treatment for Bone Fractures

broken boneThe medical term for a broken bone is fracture.

Fractures are very common. In fact, some statistics show that the average person will have at least two during their lifetime.

When the physical force that is exerted is way stronger than the bone, a fracture will most likely occur.

While there are many types of fractures, the main categories are open, closed, displaced, and non-displaced.

When the bone is snapped into two or more parts, it is called a displaced fracture. When a crack occurs but the bone still maintains its proper alignment, it is called a non-displaced fracture.

In open fracture, the bone breaks through the skin while in closed fracture, the bone breaks but there is no open wound or puncture in the skin.

Other types of fracture include:

  • Transverse fracture – the bone’s broken piece is at a right angle to the axis of the bone.
  • Greenstick fracture – this is an incomplete fracture where the bone is bent. This type also often occurs in children.
  • Comminuted fracture – occurs when the bone is broken into several pieces.
  • Buckled fracture – Buckled fracture is also called impacted fracture. It takes place when the bone ends are driven into each other.

What are the common symptoms?

Symptoms of fractures can include but are not limited to the following:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Deformity
  • Pain (especially when pressure is applied or when moved)
  • Loss of function

What are the common causes of fractures?

Fractures often occur as a result of blows, falls, and other traumatic events. Pathologic fractures on the other hand are caused by other diseases like cancer. The condition can weaken the bones and fractures of this type will occur without any trauma. At least 1.5 million fractures that happen yearly can also be attributed to osteoporosis.

How are bone fractures diagnosed?

Doctors will have to require X-rays and will need to physically examine the area in order to diagnose bone fractures.

In some cases, X-rays will not be enough to check the fractures. For instance, to accurately diagnose hip, stress, and wrist fractures, an MRI, bone, or CT scan might be necessary.

In other cases, special tests (angiogram, X-ray of the blood vessels, etc.) might be required to make sure tissues surrounding the bones have not been damaged.

What are the likely treatment options for bone fractures?

In most cases, fractures often require immediate medical attention.

Most fractures are immobilized using a splint or a cast. Occasionally, traction is also utilized to promote healing and minimize pain.

In open fractures, antibiotics are given to prevent infection. Also, rehabilitation is done the soonest possible time (even while the cast is still in place). This is done to promote blood flow, prevent stiffness, and to help maintain muscle tone.

Once the splint or the cast has been removed, stiffness and swelling can be felt in the area around the fracture. However, it will often disappear after a few weeks.

In most cases, it will take at least four to six weeks before the bone regains its strength. To be safe, it would be best to ask the doctor regarding activities that are safe for you to do. Oftentimes, key factors like the fracture type and your overall health will be taken into account.

bone fracture treatment options

What measures should be observed to help prevent bone fractures?

  • Ensure to always wear the right safety equipment (protective pads, helmets, etc.) when doing recreational activities like snowboarding, bike riding, or when engaging in contact sports.
  • Make sure stairs at home are free from objects that can cause tripping.
  • When diagnosed with osteoporosis, consider talking to doctors regarding calcium supplements and other remedies and inquire about exercises that can help enhance balance and strength.
  • Always use the seat belt when in the car.