Bone fractures are often caused by car accidents, workplace accidents, slip and falls, violent encounters, sports injuries, and certain health conditions.
There are several different types of bone fractures, according to medicalnewstoday.com, including:
- Avulsion fractures – occurs when a muscle or ligament pulls on a bone
- Comminuted fractures – occurs when a bone is shattered into several pieces
- Compression (crush) fractures – occurs when bones are compressed (most commonly in the spine)
- Fracture dislocations – a joint bone becomes fractured due to a dislocation
- Greenstick fractures – a bone breaks on one side but remains intact on the other side
- Hairline fractures – a small or partial fracture in a bone that is sometimes hard to detect
- Impacted fractures – one fragment of a bone pierces into another fragment after a break
- Intraarticular fractures – a fracture that extends into a joint
- Longitudinal fractures – a fracture that occurs along the length of a bone
- Oblique fractures – a fracture that occurs diagonally across a bone
- Pathological fractures – a fracture caused by a disease such as osteoporosis, cancer, osteomalacia, or osteomyelitis.
- Spiral fracture – occurs when a part of a bone is twisted
- Stress fracture – a fracture caused by overexertion or repetitive movements
- Torus (buckle) fracture – bones aren't necessarily fractured, but rather deformed
- Transverse fracture – a fracture that occurs straight across a bone
How do I know if I have a bone fracture?
Symptoms may vary depending on the type of fracture you have. In mild fractures, symptoms may include pain, swelling, bruising, skin discoloration, and some loss of mobility in the affected area.
More severe fractures may cause:
- Complete loss of mobility in the affected area
- Bleeding if the fracture is open
- Severe pain in the affected area
- Pale or clammy skin
- Nausea and vomiting
How are bone fractures diagnosed and treated?
During a medical evaluation, your doctor will look for any abnormalities and analyze your symptoms before making an official diagnosis. Your condition may be further examined through an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan.
Surgery may be required, depending on the severity and nature of your fracture. You may also be prescribed medication to treat pain and inflammation. In some cases, you may need physical therapy, time off from work, and rest.
Why should I see an orthopedic surgeon if I sustained any type of bone fracture?
Bones may heal naturally in most people within about 6-8 weeks. The healing time can depend on the nature of your fracture, your age, and if you have an underlying health condition that affects your bones. Healing occurs through three phases:
- The inflammatory phase — blood clotting and hematoma that occurs immediately after a fracture and lasts up to one week.
- The repairing phase — new tissue and cartilage forms around the site of the fracture over the course of 2-3 weeks.
- The bone remodeling phase — new bone tissue is formed at the site of the fracture, completing the healing process.
If a fracture doesn't heal properly, it can result in prolonged swelling, blood clots, infections, and soft tissue damage around the fracture.
That's why it's critical to get treated by an orthopedic surgeon in order to ensure that your bones are positioned properly during the healing process. In order to ensure that the bones stay properly aligned, metal plates, pins, wires, metal braces, and casts may be temporarily installed until the fracture fully heals.
Contact the New York City orthopedic surgeons at Island Musculoskeletal Care MD, PC to find out if you are in need of surgery for a bone fracture.