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Fractures in Bones: Their Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Available

A fracture is a partial or complete break in the bone. Fractures are very painful and can take extended periods to heal, depending on the severity and treatment procedure. Many fractures occur because of the impact of a force more substantial than the bone can handle. It helps to understand the types of fractures, what causes them, and what they look like to get an idea of the treatment required.

In case of a suspected fracture, seek immediate medical attention. The best orthopedic doctor in India will tell you that the longer a fracture remains untreated, the worse it gets.

Types of fractures

Fractures can range from a slight crack to a total break. Depending on the severity of the trauma, a bone can break lengthwise or laterally, in one or several places. In general, fractures can be of these types:

  1. Closed vs. open fractures

Another term for a closed fracture is a simple fracture, and the broken bone does not tear the skin in this case. It is called ‘simple’ because it does not expose the internal tissue to the external environment and is easier to treat.

An open fracture tears the skin. It is also called a compound fracture and increases the risk of infection when the bone and other tissue are exposed.

  1. Incomplete vs. complete fractures

A bone does not break entirely in an incomplete fracture. It cracks but is not severed. Incomplete fractures include:

●Buckle or torus fracture- the bone breaks on one side while a bump develops on the other side

●Greenstick fracture- The bone breaks on one side while bending on the other

●Hairline fracture- A thin crack along the bone

On the other hand, complete fractures are where the bone breaks entirely into two or more pieces. They include:

●Single fracture- The bone breaks in one place into two pieces

●Comminuted fracture- when the bone breaks into at least three pieces or more

●Displaced fracture- The bone breaks and shifts from its normal alignment

●Nondisplaced fracture- The opposite of displaced fracture. The bone breaks into pieces but is the pieces stay in their normal alignment

● Compression or crush fracture- It generally occurs in the spongy bone in the spine. Here, the bone collapses when pressure is applied

●Segmental fracture- The bone breaks in two places and leaves one piece unattached

Other types of fractures are:

●Avulsion fracture- The fracture is caused by a muscle or ligament pull on the bone

●Impacted fracture- A piece of the fractured bone impacts another bone

●Intra-articular fracture- The fracture extends into the surface of the joint

●Longitudinal fracture- The fracture extends along the length of a bone

●Oblique fracture- Occurs opposite the bone’s long axis

●Transverse fracture- A straight break across the bone

●Pathological fracture- This fracture is caused by an underlying condition that weakens the bone, such as osteoporosis

●Stress fracture- The fracture occurs due to repeated strain on the bone due to repetitive action. It is common among athletes

The common causes of fractures

Healthy bones naturally withstand plenty of stress in the course of daily activities. However, sudden, forceful trauma may be sufficient to cause a crack or break. Common causes of fractures include:

●Falling

●Physical trauma such as vehicle accidents or gunshot wounds

●Sports injuries

●Direct hits to the body

●Health conditions such as osteoporosis

Anyone can sustain a bone fracture. However, brittle bones or those with lower bone density will likely suffer breakage. Risk factors for fractures include:

● Age- Bones weaken with age. An older person is also at a higher risk of developing conditions that weaken the bones.

●Endocrine or intestinal disorders

●Physical inactivity

●Excessive drinking or smoking

The symptoms of a fracture

The immediate symptom of a fracture is intense pain when it occurs. The pain could intensify with movement or touching the injured area, depending on the severity.

Other symptoms include:

●Swelling or bruising of the injured area

●Discolored skin around the injured area

●Difficulty putting weight on the injured area

●Difficulty moving the area

●Deformity such as an awkwardly-angled protrusion

●A snap or grinding sound when the injury occurs

●Bleeding in the case of an open fracture

●Dizziness, nausea, or lightheadedness in the case of a severe fracture

Diagnosis and treatment of a fracture

Seek immediate medical attention at the slightest suspicion of a fracture. The best orthopedic doctors in India will begin by asking questions about how the fracture happened. These questions will be accompanied by a visual exam of the injured part. The visual exam may include moving the injured area slightly to assess the pain and level of injury.

X-rays are common for ascertaining fractures. They indicate the type of fracture and exact location and help establish the extent of the injury. The doctor may also recommend an MRI or CT scan for a more detailed assessment of the extent of the injury. 

Bones naturally rebuild themselves. Therefore, bone fracture treatment entails realigning the broken bones to provide the healthiest environment for re-growth and optimal future functions. Depending on the severity, such treatment could be external for a slight fracture or involve surgery for worse cases.

The realigned bones need to stay in position and immobile while healing. To facilitate this, doctors may use;

●Casts or braces

●Metal plates and screws

●External fixings

Fractures may take weeks or months to heal. The doctor may also recommend pain medication and physical therapy to regain strength as the bones heal. A fracture is treatable with immediate and efficient medical attention. To overcome complications, seek the services of a trustworthy medical service provider such as Max Healthcare, which provides exemplary medical care at affordable costs.

Eleena Wills
Hi, I’m Eleena Wills. Being a writer and blogger, I strive to provide informative and valuable articles to people. With quality, constructive, and well-researched articles, one can make informed choices. I cover a wide range of topics, from home improvement to hair styling and automotive.
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